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Release Date: 10/9/1998
Contact Information: Doug MaKitten COE (415) 977-8658, Dave Schmidt U.S. EPA (415) 744-1578, Steve Goldbeck BCDC (415) 557-8786, Jim Sutton SWRCB (916) 657- 2190, Wil Bruhns SFRWQCB (510) 622-2327

     (San Francisco)  -- Capping years of cooperative effort, a consortium of state and federal agencies today released the Final Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR) for a new, more environmentally sensitive strategy for managing the San Francisco Bay Area's dredged material for the next 50 years.  The hefty document, which is now available for public review, details the agencies' preferred Long Term Management Strategy, which emphasizes beneficial use of material dredged from the Bay's shipping lanes and harbors for purposes such as wetlands restoration, and decreased disposal of such materials in the Bay.

     This preferred strategy was selected from among three alternatives detailed in a draft EIS/EIR released to the public in May 1996.  Of the three alternatives, the preferred plan includes the greatest amount (40%) of beneficial use of dredged material and the least amount (20%) of in-Bay disposal.  The remaining 40% of dredged material would be disposed in a deep ocean disposal site 50 miles offshore from San Francisco.Under the preferred plan, disposal of dredged mud in the environmentally sensitive waters of the Bay would be cut by over 75% from 1990 levels, while the amount reused in wetlands restoration projects such as the Sonoma Baylands, which is currently underway, would more than quadruple.

     The public is invited to review and comment on the Final EIS/EIR and submit comments in writing by November 16, 1998.  After considering all public comments, the agencies will formally adopt the plan by signing a Record of Decision, expected in December, 1998.  The EIS/EIR was prepared by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE), the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board (SFRWQCB), and State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), with participation by a host of local governments, ports, and business and environmental groups throughout the Bay Area.  

     The effort to create a Long Term Management Strategy for dredged material began in 1990 as a partnership between government agencies, fishing and navigation interests, environmental groups, and the public to find acceptable solutions to the disposal question.  This group has been working ever since to develop an approach to dredged material management that will support the Bay Area's $7.5 billion shipping economy, while reducing the environmental impact of in-Bay disposal practices.

     Copies of the Final EIS/EIR or its Executive summary may be ordered by calling the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at 415-977-8677.  Copies are available for public viewing between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays at the U.S. EPA library, 75 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco, and at 20 city, county, and university libraries throughout the Bay Area.  The document may also be viewed on the Internet, at <>.  Written comments should be sent
by November 16 to:

                           Karen Mason
                  Planning Branch (CESPN-PE-PF)
                   U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
                    333 Market St., 7th Floor
                   San Francisco, CA 94105-2197
                      Phone: (415) 977-8677
                       FAX: (415) 977-8695

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