Notice of Public Scoping Meetings and Intent to Prepare a Programmatic
Environmental Impact Statement for a Proposed Introduction of the
Oyster Species, Crassostrea Ariakensis, Into the Tidal Waters of
Maryland and Virginia to Establish a Naturalized, Reproducing, and
Self-Sustaining Population of This Oyster Species.
The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) is the lead Federal agency. The Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) on behalf of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) on behalf of the State of Maryland are the lead state agencies (States). The lead agencies, in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), announce their intent to prepare a programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to evaluate alternative approaches to increasing oyster populations into the tidal waters of Maryland and Virginia (Chesapeake and coastal bays) to provide the following benefits. The benefits of a rehabilitated oyster resource include the potential for improved water quality, creation of aquatic habitat, and the re-establishment of an economically viable oyster industry preserving the region's culture associated with working watermen.
The proposed action to be evaluated in the EIS will be a proposal by the states to introduce the Asian oyster species, Crassostrea ariakensis, propagated from existing 3rd or later generation of the Oregon stock of this species, into the tidal waters of Maryland and Virginia to increase oyster populations. The States and the Corps will continue native oyster (C. virginica) restoration efforts throughout the Chesapeake Bay.
MEETINGS: Public scoping meetings will be held January 26, 2004, 7 p.m. at MD DNR, Tawes Building, Annapolis, MD 21401 and January 28, 2004 at 6 p.m. at the Warwick High School, 51 Copeland Lane, Newport News, VA.
Written comments on the scope of the programmatic EIS or request for information should be sent to Mr. Peter Kube at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Regulatory Branch, 803 Front Street, Norfolk, VA 23510.
Questions about the proposed action and Draft EIS can be answered by Mr. Peter Kube at the Corps, (757) 441-7504 or Mr. Jack Travelstead, VMRC, (757) 247-2247.
VMRC DOES NOT DISCRIMINATE AGAINST INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES; THEREFORE, IF YOU ARE IN NEED OF REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS DUE TO A DISABILITY, PLEASE ADVISE DEBORAH CAWTHON (757) 247-2248 NO LESS THAN FIVE WORK DAYS PRIOR TO THE MEETING TIME AND IDENTIFY YOUR NEEDS.