Date of this Version
An environmental assessment has been prepared that summarizes the expected effects of the proposed project on the existing environment. The Omaha District, Corps of Engineers in partnership with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, proposes to construct a research and education center (REC) at Ponca State Park in Dixon County, Nebraska. The proposed project would consist of the construction ofa 15,000 square foot REC building, a constructed treatment wetland to handle the waste from the REC building, a 1.5 acre lake that would receive used water from the heat pump system, a system of geothermal wells for use as part of a heat pump system, a new entrance road, and a parking lot. Ponca State Park is located within the boundaries of the Missouri National Recreational River. Construction of the REC was authorized by Section 707 of the National Parks and Recreation Act of 1978 (TL 95-625). This act amended the National Wild and Scenic River Act of 1968 (90-542).
Three alternatives were considered but eliminated from further consideration. These include two alternative construction sites for the REC and the no-action alternative. The two alternative locations were eliminated because they did not meet the criteria set up to evaluate the sites as well as the preferred alternative. The no-action alternative was eliminated because this alternative would not meet the purpose and need of the proposed project, and the facilities at Ponca State Park would remain inadequate to meet the needs of current or future visitors to the park.
All environmental, social, and economic factors, which are relative to the proposal, were considered in this assessment. These include, but are not necessarily limited to, threatened and endangered species, vegetation, wetlands, cultural resources, air quality, water quality, and wildlife.
The environmental assessment and comments received from tribes and other agencies have been used to determine whether the proposed action requires the preparation of an environmental impact statement. Adverse impacts identified for this action were determined not to be significant. These impacts would include a temporary noise increase during construction and the displacement of resident wildlife. There are not expected to be any adverse impacts to threatened and endangered species as a result of the proposed project. Erosion control methods would be utilized during construction.
It is my finding, based on the environmental assessment, that the proposed Federal activity will Poot have any significant adverse impacts on the environment and that the proposed project will not constitute a major Federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. The proposed action has been coordinated with the appropriate resource agencies, and there are no significant unresolved issues. Therefore, an environmental impact statement will not be prepared.