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Page Title: Eliminate Unreasonable Alternatives
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Framework for Dredged Material Management
May 2004
incompatible with dredged sediment volume or characteristics or available dredging
plant), and legal considerations.
All potential alternatives are evaluated with respect to the availability of the
required site(s) and the likelihood that the site can be used. If there are no existing sites
available, then a determination is made as to whether a site(s) can be designated and/or
selected after taking into consideration the reasonableness of doing so for the project in
question. For example, the time frame for designating an ocean site under MPRSA or
selecting a CWA open-water site would have to be factored into this determination. In
those cases where site designation by USEPA under Section 102 of MPRSA is required,
the NEPA process for site designation and for the dredging project may be performed
jointly or concurrently.
Consideration must also be given to design limitations of the project, climatic
conditions, dredging equipment availability, physical and chemical aspects of the
material to be dredged, local interests, public concerns, and known environmental and
economic constraints. Maintenance history of the project in question or projects in the
general area and the experience and knowledge of the public and resource agencies
provide a basis for the screening process.
3.4.1 Eliminate Unreasonable Alternatives
Although the identification of innovative solutions is encouraged, the nature and
needs of the dredging project must be considered in determining the reasonableness of
alternatives. Alternatives that require sites that are not available, conflict with other site
uses, violate applicable environmental regulations, or are found to be clearly technically
or economically infeasible during the screening process, are eliminated from further
detailed consideration. An alternative may be considered unreasonable and therefore
eliminated from further consideration if the scoping process has determined it to be
unreasonable. The rationale for eliminating alternatives should be clearly documented in
the NEPA document. After application of these considerations by the lead agency6, those
alternatives that remain are scrutinized further for environmental, technical, and
economic feasibility.
3.4.2 Retain Reasonable Alternative(s)
The above evaluation will result in an identification of alternatives that are
reasonable from an environmental, technical, and economic standpoint. Each remaining
option is then carried forward for detailed evaluation via the NEPA/CWA/MPRSA
process. The final outcome of the detailed evaluation could be that the No-Action
alternative is selected or the project not continued.
See Guidance in 33 CFR 335-338 and ER 1105-2-100 and NEPA Regulations to define lead agency roles
and responsibilities.

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