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Framework for Dredged Material Management
May 2004
3.2.2 Determination of Availability of Alternatives and Coverage in Existing
NEPA Document
A review of the project requirements in terms of all reasonable alternatives and
the adequate coverage of these alternatives in the existing NEPA document should be
made. Supplemental NEPA documentation is required when significant changes are made
in the proposed alternative, or when significant new circumstances or information
relevant to environmental concerns and bearing on the proposed action or its impacts
exist (40 CFR 1502.9 (c)). In particular, CWA/MPRSA alternatives analyses should be
reviewed for adequacy. Evaluations conducted for purposes of MPRSA or CWA
compliance indicating potential environmental impacts not previously considered in the
selection of an alternative may trigger the need for a supplemental EA or EIS to ensure
NEPA compliance.
3.3 Identification of Alternatives
Under the NEPA process, the potential environmental impacts of the discharge of
dredged material including confined (diked), open water (CWA and/or MPRSA sites),
and beneficial uses, must be considered, taking into consideration the nature and needs of
the dredging projects and the material to be dredged. The NEPA scoping process
encourages the identification of all potential alternatives for dredged material
management. Proposed alternatives may consist of any combination of options as
warranted by local conditions. Beneficial use of dredged material should be fully
considered to ensure that benefits are maximized.
When a large number of potential alternatives exist, a reasonable number of
examples covering the full spectrum of alternatives must be analyzed and compared in
the NEPA document (40 CFR 1502.9(c)). The NEPA document must rigorously address
reasonable alternatives that are beyond the capability of the applicant or project
proponent or are beyond the jurisdiction of the lead agency. Under CEQ regulations, the
No-Action (no dredging or continuation of an existing practice) alternative must also be
included and retained throughout the NEPA process as a basis for impact comparison.
Subsequent evaluations in the framework determine the reasonableness of alternatives
identified at this level.
3.4 Initial Screening of Alternatives
An initial screening is undertaken to eliminate from further consideration those
management alternatives that clearly are not reasonable for the specific project.
Reasonable alternatives include those that are practical or feasible from the
environmental, technical, and economic standpoint (40 CFR 1502.9 (c)), and use
common sense, rather than being simply desirable from the standpoint of the project
proponent or applicant. The screening should utilize all available information and should
consider factors such as environmental concerns (e.g., endangered species), cost,
technical feasibility (e.g., site availability and site characteristics that may be

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