13-013 Corps invites public comments on Pest Management Environmental Assessment

Published Feb. 21, 2013

WALLA WALLA, Wash. –The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Walla Walla District invites public comments on a Pest Management Environmental Assessment (EA) and draft Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI). Comments are due to the Corps no later than March 7, 2013.

The District is required to control noxious weeds and invasive species on federal lands under its jurisdiction. The EA evaluates pest management alternatives and documents potential environmental impacts. The EA and draft FONSI are available at http://www.nww.usace.army.mil/Missions/Projects/PestManagement.aspx.

Under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the District is proposing to develop a comprehensive and integrated approach to its pest management program. The “preferred alternative” in the EA is “Integrated Pest Management.” Integrated pest management is defined as a comprehensive approach to pest control in which pest control methods are evaluated to determine their effectiveness while considering environmental impact. After evaluation, a pest management method or combination of methods is selected. Examples of these methods include non-chemical habitat manipulation, mechanical control, biological control and chemical control.” Integrated pest management provides for the safety of environment, public and pesticide applicator.

Integrated pest management would help the District comply with applicable environmental laws and regulations; efficiently and effectively cover all District lands; provide for the safety of employees and the public; fulfill its missions of flood risk reduction, navigation, hydropower, recreation, and fish and wildlife mitigation, and be economically feasible in implementing its pest management activities.

The District is also seeking public comment to accompany information gained through consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service completed in 2012.

Comments should be postmarked, faxed, or e-mailed by March 7, 2013, to be included as part of the public record. Comments may be sent via U.S. Mail to Walla Walla District, Corps of Engineers, Environmental Compliance Section, ATTN:  John Leier, 201 North Third Avenue, Walla Walla, WA  99362-1876. Comments may also may be e-mailed to john.p.leier@usace.army.mil or faxed to Leier at 509-527-7832. Additional information about the EA and FONSI is available from Leier at 509-527-7269.

All public comments will be considered by the Corps. If no comments determined to be of a significant nature are received, the District Commander will sign the FONSI, and NEPA compliance will be completed.

Lands managed by the District are predominately located near rivers or streams containing Endangered Species Act (ESA)-listed fish species (salmon, steelhead and bull trout) and associated critical habitat. Integrated pest management is expected to minimize impacts to ESA-listed species while allowing the District to meet pest management obligations.

Noxious and nuisance weeds hinder operations at Corps parks and projects and lower the value of wildlife mitigation lands. Vertebrate pests sometimes burrow into levees and other structures, compromising the integrity of the structures and raising safety concerns. Arthropods such as wasps and spiders are a health and safety issue for Corps employees and users of Corps lands and facilities. These pests can cause significant economic damage to lands, waters and facilities.

Public Affairs Office

Release no. 13-013