Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*  Colman Dock in Seattle is Washington State Ferries’ largest ferry terminal. and supports transportation across Puget Sound.  Key infrastructure, though, has deteriorated and Washington DOT has a major replacement project underway.  Marine habitat disturbance is inevitable and US DOT has a request for comments on WA DOT’s plans to avoid incidental wildlife “takes:” accidental or unavoidable deaths of animals including seals, whales, porpoises, and dolphins.  WA DOT’s preventative efforts are extensive.  Highest estimated “takes” are to California sea lions and harbor porpoises which could reach 1,254 and 3,997 animals, respectively.  There’s a lot of numbers theory here, however, which is why this extensive document deserves a close review, especially regarding the impact on the harbor porpoise as a percentage of its total estimated population.  Comments are due June 21.
*  The Federal Transit Administration announced a competitive funding program for almost $26 million to support comprehensive planning associated with new fixed guideway and core capacity improvement projects.  This work would support economic development, ridership, multimodal connectivity and accessibility, increased transit access for pedestrian and bicycle traffic and mixed-use development near transit stations.  FTA wants big picture stuff: projects covering an entire transit capital project corridor, as opposed to proposals for individual station areas or smaller corridor sections.  Also important: “engagement with the private sector.”  Proposals are due July 23.
*  In April, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) requested public comments on offshore wind energy development within the New York Bight.  Last week, BOEM announced it is extending the public comment period to July 30, a move taken at the request of interested parties.  Potential wind energy developments would affect commercial and recreational fisheries and, of course, maritime operations, not to mention future energy customers.  A check with the docket shows 14 comments received so far, but none are yet posted for review.  The New York Bight is an area of shallow waters between Long Island and the New Jersey coast.
Tom Ewing
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