3.7 VESSEL TRANSPORTATION Environmental Setting Area of Influence Setting

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1 3.7 VESSEL TRANSPORTATION Environmental Setting Area of Influence The vessel transportation analysis covers the waters of San Pedro Bay, which includes the Pier S site. Given the proximity of Pier S to POLA, the vessel transportation analysis considers the combined vessel movement, vessel movement controls and safety features, and accident potential for both ports Setting Most commercial ship traffic generally approaches the POLB from the northwest, passing north of Catalina Island; traffic coming from the south passes east of the island (Figure 3.7-1). Both approaches use established commercial shipping lanes. The POLB and POLA are protected by three breakwaters: the San Pedro Breakwater, Middle Breakwater, and Long Beach Breakwater. The openings between these breakwaters, known as Queens Gate and Angel s Gate, provide entry to the POLB and POLA, respectively (Figure 3.7-2). Los Angeles-Long Beach Vessel Navigation System Several measures are in place to ensure the safety of vessel navigation in the harbor area. Restricted navigation areas and routes have been designated to ensure safe vessel navigation, and are regulated by various agencies and organizations, which are described below. Vessel traffic in and near San Pedro Bay is regulated by the USCG Captain of the Port (COTP) and the Marine Exchange of Southern California via the Vessel Traffic Service (VTS). These entities ensure the total number of vessels transiting the Port does not exceed the physical and operational capacity of the system. Mariners are required to report their position to the COTP and the VTS prior to transiting through the Port; the VTS monitors the positions of all inbound and outbound vessels within the Precautionary Area and the approach corridor traffic lanes (Figure 3.7-1). In the event of scheduling conflicts and/or berth occupancy at capacity, vessels are required to anchor at the anchorages inside and outside the breakwater until mariners receive COTP authorization to initiate transit to the appropriate berth. Marine Exchange of Southern California. The Marine Exchange is a nonprofit organization that was originally affiliated with the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. Its mission is to enhance navigation safety in the Precautionary Area and harbor area of the San Pedro Bay ports. The organization is supported by subscriptions from Port-related organizations that use its service. The service consists of a coordinating office, specific reporting points, a radar system, and radio communications with participating vessels. The Marine Exchange also operates the Physical Oceanographic Real Time System (PORTS) (described below) to assist in the safe and efficient transit of vessels in the port area. Vessel Transportation Service. The VTS is a service owned by the Marine Exchange and operated jointly by the Marine Exchange and USCG under the oversight of the Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) and the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Safety Committee. The VTS assists in the safe navigation of vessels approaching and leaving POLB and POLA. The VTS monitors traffic in the approach and departure lanes and inside the harbors. It uses radar, radio, and visual inputs to gather real-time vessel traffic information and broadcast traffic advisories and summaries to assist mariners. The system provides information on vessel traffic and ship locations so that vessels can avoid allisions, collisions, and groundings (ACGs) in the approaches to the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor (an allision is an incident between a moving vessel and a stationary object, including another vessel). Traffic Separation Schemes (TSSs). A TSS is an internationally recognized vessel routing designation that separates opposing flows of vessel traffic into lanes, including a zone between lanes in which traffic is to be avoided. PIER S MARINE TERMINAL & BACK CHANNEL IMPROVEMENTS DRAFT EIS/EIR SEPTEMBER 2011

2 Figure Vessel Navigation Safety Areas at POLA & POLB 8.5 x 11 Figure Vessel Navigation Safety Areas at POLA & POLB PIER S MARINE TERMINAL & BACK CHANNEL IMPROVEMENTS DRAFT EIS/EIR SEPTEMBER 2011

3 Figure Location of Breakwater and Port of Entry Gates within Long Beach Harbor 8.5 x 11 Figure Location of Breakwater and Port of Entry Gates within Long Beach Harbor PIER S MARINE TERMINAL & BACK CHANNEL IMPROVEMENTS DRAFT EIS/EIR SEPTEMBER 2011

4 TSSs have been designated to help direct offshore vessel traffic along portions of the California coastline such as the Santa Barbara Channel. Vessels are not required to use any designated TSS, but failure to use one, if available, would be a major factor for determining liability in the event of a collision. TSS designations are proposed by USCG, but must be approved by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which is part of the United Nations. Figure identifies the TSSs nearest the POLB and POLA. Safety Fairways. Offshore waters in high traffic areas are designated as safety fairways. USACE is prohibited from issuing permits for surface structures (e.g., oil platforms) within safety fairways, which are frequently located between a port and the entry into a TSS, to ensure safer navigation. The safety fairways for POLB and POLA are located within the designated Precautionary Area. Precautionary and Regulated Navigation Areas. A Precautionary Area is designated in congested areas near the POLB/POLA harbor entrances to set speed limits or to establish other safety precautions for ships entering or departing the Harbor. A Regulated Navigation Area (RNA) is defined as a water area within a defined boundary for which federal regulations for vessels navigating within this area have been established under CFR 33 Part 165, Subsection In the case of the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor, RNA boundaries match the designated Precautionary Area. CFR 33, Part 165, Subsection , identifies portions of the Precautionary Area as RNA. The Precautionary Area for POLB/POLA is defined by a line that extends south from Point Fermin for approximately 7 nautical miles (nm), continues due east approximately 7 nm, continues northeast for approximately 3 nm, and then heads back northwest (Figure 3.7-1). Ships are required to cruise at speeds of 12 knots or less upon entering the Precautionary Area. A minimum vessel separation of 0.25 nm is also required in the Precautionary Area. The Marine Exchange of Southern California monitors vessel traffic within the Precautionary Area. Pilotage. Use of a Port Pilot for transit in and out of the San Pedro Bay area and adjacent waterways is required for all vessels of foreign registry, and for those U.S. vessels enrolled as not having a federally licensed pilot onboard (some U.S.-flag vessels have a trained and licensed pilot onboard; those vessels are not required to take on a Port Pilot for navigating through the Port). In addition, the Port Tariffs require vessels greater than 300 gross tons to use a federally licensed pilot whenever navigating inside the breakwater, and require that a vessel notify the appropriate pilot station(s) in the rare instances when a pilot is not needed. Jacobsen Pilot Service and Los Angeles Harbor Pilots provide pilotage to POLB and POLA, respectively. Port pilots receive special training that is instituted by the pilot companies and overseen by the Harbor Safety Committee. For POLB, pilots typically board the vessels outside the Queen s Gate entrance and then pilot the vessels to their destinations. Pilots normally leave the vessels after docking, and reboard the vessels to pilot them back to sea or to other destinations within the ports. Per the Port Tariffs, pilots stay on outbound vessels until clear of the breakwater entrance. The pilot service also manages the use of anchorages under an agreement with USCG. Tug Escort/Assist. Tug Escort refers to the stationing of tugs in proximity of a vessel as it transits into or out of port to provide immediate assistance should a steering or propulsion failure develop. Tug Assist refers to the positioning of tugs alongside a vessel and applying force to assist in making turns, reducing speed, providing propulsion, and docking. Most OGV are required to have tug assistance within the POLB/POLA harbors (Harbor Safety Committee 2007). However, some vessels have internal tugs (typically bow and stern thrusters) that provide propulsion without engaging the main engines, enabling them to accomplish maneuvers with the same precision as a tug- PIER S MARINE TERMINAL & BACK CHANNEL IMPROVEMENTS DRAFT EIS/EIR SEPTEMBER 2011

5 assisted vessel. These ships are not required to have external tug assistance. Physical Oceanographic Real Time System (PORTS). In partnership with NOAA, National Ocean Service (NOS), California OSPR, USGS, and some businesses operating in the ports, the Marine Exchange operates PORTS as a service to those making operational decisions based on oceanographic and meteorological conditions in the vicinity of the ports. PORTS is a system of environmental sensors and supporting telemetry equipment deployed at strategic locations in and near the ports that gathers and disseminates accurate information in real time on tides, visibility, winds, currents, and sea swell to maritime users to assist in the safe and efficient transit of vessels in the Port area. Locally, PORTS is designed to provide crucial information in real time to mariners, oil spill response teams, managers of coastal resources, and others about POLA and POLB water levels, currents, salinity, and winds. Navigational Hazards Navigational hazards in the ports include breakwaters protecting the outer harbor, anchorage areas, bridges, and various wharfs and other structures. Two fixed bridges (Vincent Thomas and Gerald Desmond) and two drawbridges (Commodore Heim Highway Bridge and adjacent Ford Avenue Railroad Bridge) span the navigable channels of the ports. The latter two, crossing Cerritos Channel, are the only drawbridges in the port area. The narrow channel-width combined with restrictions on passing under the drawbridges limit traffic through Cerritos Channel (with extremely rare exceptions) to pleasure vessels, tugs without tows, and tugs with tows alongside or pushing ahead(e.g., tugs with bunker barges). Small tankers occasionally pass, given appropriate weather, vessel draft and trim, and maximum beam (Harbor Safety Committee 2006). Large cargo vessels such as containerships cannot negotiate either drawbridge, and thus cannot use the Cerritos Channel to pass from one port to the other. Vessels are required by law to report failures of navigational equipment, propulsion, steering, or other vital systems as soon as possible to, USCG via the COTP office or the COTP representative at VTS. According to VTS, approximately one in 100 vessels calling at the Ports of Los Angeles or Long Beach experiences a mechanical failure during its inbound or outbound transit. A variety of safety-related events can occur during vessel navigation, including vessel accidents, close quarters, and near misses. Brief descriptions of these events are given below. Vessel Accidents. Table shows that the number of ACGs in POLB and POLA between 1997 and 2007 averaged approximately six per year. Between 1992 and 1997, there were, on average, four ACG incidents per year (U.S. Naval Academy 1999). During this time, the level of commercial traffic transits remained fairly constant. Each of these accidents was subjected to a USCG marine casualty investigation, and the subsequent actions taken were targeted at preventing future occurrences. Oceangoing vessels are typically involved in about 11 percent of all marine accidents, and only 7.7 percent of ACG incidents (U.S. Naval Academy 1999). The largest number of accidents involved tug boats and barges. According to the USCG vessel accidents database, the POLB/POLA harbor area has one of the lowest accident rates among all U.S. ports, with the ACGs frequency of 3.8 x 10-5 per transit ( percent chance per transit), as compared to the average of 2.54 x 10-4 per transit (0.025 percent chance per transit) for all U.S. ports. The calculated ACG frequency for the period is somewhat higher at 4.2 x 10-4 per transit, although the 2007 ACG rate was substantially lower at 1.2 x 10-4 per transit. Near Misses and Close Quarters. According to the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Safety Committee, a near miss is: PIER S MARINE TERMINAL & BACK CHANNEL IMPROVEMENTS DRAFT EIS/EIR SEPTEMBER 2011

6 Table Allisions, Collisions and Groundings POLB/POLA ( ) ACG Incidents Year Allisions Collisions Groundings Total Note: These commercial vessel accidents meet the reportable level defined in 46 CFR 4.05, but do not include commercial fishing vessel or recreational boating incidents. Source: Harbor Safety Committee an incident in which a pilot, master or other person in charge of navigating a vessel successfully takes action of a non-routine nature to avoid a collision with another vessel, structure, or aid to navigation, grounding of the vessel, or damage to the environment. The most practical and readily available near miss data are obtained from VTS reports. The VTS documents, reports, and takes action on close quarters situations. VTS close quarters situations are described as vessels passing closer than 0.25 nm (500 yards). These incidents usually occur within the traffic Precautionary Area. No reliable data are available for close quarters incidents outside the VTS area. Normal actions taken in response to close quarters situations include initiating informal USCG investigation, sending Letters of Concern to owners and/or operators, having the involved vessel Master(s) visit VTS and review the incident, and USCG enforcement boardings. A 10-year history of close quarters situations is presented in Table The Harbor Safety Committee states that given the relatively steady amount of commercial transits over the past five years, a decreasing trend in close quarters incidents is discernable (Harbor Safety Committee 2006). Table Number of VTS-Recorded Close Quarters Incidenets ( ) Year No. of Close Quarters Source: Harbor Safety Committee Factors Affecting Vessel Safety In addition to the navigational hazards described above, a variety of environmental conditions can affect vessel safety in the POLB/POLA area. Fog. Fog is a well-known weather condition in Southern California. Harbor area fog occurs most frequently in April and from September through January, when visibility over the bay is below 0.5 mile for 7 to 10 days per month. Fog at the ports is mostly a land (radiation) type fog PIER S MARINE TERMINAL & BACK CHANNEL IMPROVEMENTS DRAFT EIS/EIR SEPTEMBER 2011

7 that drifts offshore and worsens in the late night and early morning. Smoke from nearby industrial areas often adds to fog s thickness and persistence. Along the shore, fog drops visibility to less than 0.5 mile on 3 to 8 days per month from August through April, and is generally at its worst in December (Harbor Safety Committee 2006). Reduced visibility raises the risk of ACGs by forcing mariners to rely on radar rather than visual cues. Winds. Winds are strongest during fall and winter, when the Santa Anas may blow. This offshore desert wind, though infrequent, may be violent and often comes with little warning. It occurs when a strong high pressure system sits over the plateau region and generates a northeasterly to easterly flow over Southern California. Winter storms produce strong winds over San Pedro Bay, particularly from the western quadrant. Winds of 17 knots or greater occur about 1 to 2 percent of the time from November through May. Southwesterly and westerly winds begin to prevail in the spring and last into early fall. Storm and Santa Ana winds represent a risk to vessel navigation because the force of the wind makes vessels more difficult to handle. Currents and Surge. USACE ship navigation studies indicate that within the POLB channels, current magnitudes are essentially a negligible 1/3 knot or less. Tidal currents follow the axis of the channels, rarely exceed 1 knot, and do not have a major effect on vessel safety. According to Jacobsen Pilot Service, the pilots have never experienced a current greater than 1 knot in the area of Queen s Gate (Harbor Safety Committee 2006). The POLB/POLA Harbor area is subject to seiche and surge, with the most persistent and conspicuous oscillation having about a 1-hour period. The restricted channel usually causes the surge through the Back Channel to reach velocities at the east end of Terminal Island such that the hourly variation in current speed may be 1.5 knots or more. At times the hourly surge, together with shorter, irregular oscillations, causes a very rapid change in water height and current direction/velocity, which may endanger vessels moored at the piers (Harbor Safety Committee 2006). Water Depths. The Main Channel of the POLB has an authorized depth of 76 feet, which is much deeper than container vessels require for safe navigation. The Back Channel and Cerritos Channel have centerline depths ranging from approximately 52 to over 60 feet, which is also adequate for containership navigation. In places, however, the Back Channel and Inner Harbor turning basin are narrow at the 52-foot depth, relative to the larger oceangoing vessels length and width, which raises issues of safe navigation during passage to Inner Harbor berths. Vessel Traffic Current Traffic Levels. The POLB currently experiences about 2,700 ship calls, which result in about 5,400 inward and outward ship movements per year. In 2010, there were approximately 2,793 arrivals, 912 shifts, and 2,825 departures. The arrivals are ships coming into Long Beach going to Berth or Anchor. The shift movements are from Anchor to Berth, Berth to Berth, or Berth to Anchor. The departure number is larger than arrivals because the POLB shift many ships from LA to Anchor and then sail the ship to sea (counting for a shift and departure only). The majority of ship movements to and from the berths are completed in 2 hours or less and very few movements are greater than 3 hours in duration. The present level of ship movements has been sustained over the previous 5 years. The pilot service and tug assistance can routinely handle up to 25 ship movements per day and can handle peaks of up to 40 movements per day. Future Traffic Levels. The demand for POLB containerized cargo capacity is expected to increase to 5,327 ship calls in This would result in 10,654 inward and outward ship movements in The ability of the POLB to handle these increasing numbers of ships depends on primary and secondary limiting factors. Primary factors are those features of the PIER S MARINE TERMINAL & BACK CHANNEL IMPROVEMENTS DRAFT EIS/EIR SEPTEMBER 2011

8 Port that cannot be changed, or can be changed only with very high capital expenditure, such as the breakwater entrance, channel depth, channel geometry, and environmental conditions. Secondary factors are those features that can be changed with a relatively modest expenditure, such as pilotage and towage services Regulatory Setting Many laws and regulations are in place to regulate marine terminals, vessels calling at marine terminals, and emergency response/contingency planning. Responsibilities for enforcing or executing these laws and regulations fall to various international, federal, state, and local agencies, as summarized below. Federal Laws A number of federal laws regulate marine terminals and vessels. These laws address, among other matters, design and construction standards, operational standards, and spill prevention and cleanup. Regulations to implement these laws are contained primarily in Titles 33 (Navigation and Navigable Waters), 40 (Protection of Environment), and 46 (Shipping) of the CFR. More detailed information on safety and safe navigation laws are summarized in Section 3.10, Hazards and Hazardous Materials. United States Coast Guard (USCG) USCG, through Title 33 (Navigation and Navigable Waters) and Title 46 (Shipping) of the CFR, is the federal agency responsible for vessel inspection, marine terminal operations safety, coordination of federal responses to marine emergencies, enforcement of marine pollution statutes, marine safety (navigation aids, etc.), and operation of the NRC for spill response. It is also the lead agency for offshore spill response. More detailed information on safety and safe navigation responsibilities of USCG is summarized in Section 3.10, Hazards and Hazardous Materials. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers USACE is responsible for reviewing all aspects of a project that could affect navigation and waters of the U.S. USACE s authority to regulate navigation lies in Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of USACE has specialized equipment and personnel for maintaining navigation channels, removing navigation obstructions, and accomplishing structural repairs. Since 1789, the federal government has authorized navigation channel improvement projects; the General Survey Act of 1824 established USACE's role as the agency responsible for the navigation system. Since then, ports have worked in partnership with USACE to maintain the waterside elements of port facilities. Other Organizations and Programs Marine Exchange of Southern California. As discussed previously, the Marine Exchange is a nonprofit service organization charged with enhancing navigation safety in the vicinity of the ports. The Marine Exchange also operates PORTS, which monitors oceanographic and meteorological conditions in the vicinity of the ports. Harbor Safety Committee. The Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Safety Committee is responsible for planning the safe navigation and operation of vessels within San Pedro Bay and its approaches. The Harbor Safety Committee was created under the authority of Government Code Section (a), which requires the Administrator of the Office of Oil Spill Prevention and Response to create harbor safety committees. The Harbor Safety Committee issues the Harbor Safety Plan (HSP), which is updated annually. Harbor Safety Plan. The Los Angeles/Long Beach HSP contains operating procedures for vessels operating in the ports vicinity. The vessel-operating procedures stipulated in the HSP are considered Good Marine Practice; some procedures are federal, state, or local PIER S MARINE TERMINAL & BACK CHANNEL IMPROVEMENTS DRAFT EIS/EIR SEPTEMBER 2011

9 regulations, while other guidelines are nonregulatory Standards of Care. The HSP provides specific rules for navigation of vessels in reduced visibility conditions, and establishes vessel speed limits (12 knots within the Precautionary Area or 6 knots within the harbor). These speed restrictions do not preclude the master or pilot from adjusting speeds to avoid or mitigate unsafe conditions. Vessel Transportation Service. As described previously, VTS is a service that monitors vessel traffic in approach and departure lanes, as well as internal movements within the harbor. This system provides information on vessel traffic and ship locations so that vessels can avoid ACGs in the approaches to the Long Beach/Los Angeles Harbor. The system uses radar, radio, and visual inputs to gather real-time vessel traffic information and broadcast traffic advisories and summaries to assist mariners Impacts and Mitigation Measures Significance Criteria The CEQA Guidelines do not provide significance thresholds specifically related to vessel transportation. To evaluate Project impacts related to vessel traffic, the POLB has adapted the aircraft safety threshold contained in the CEQA Guidelines Appendix G Environmental Checklist to apply to vessel transportation. Accordingly, a significant impact on marine vessel transportation would occur if the Project would: VT-1: Cause a change in vessel traffic patterns, including an increase in traffic volumes or a change in location that results in substantial incremental changes to vessel safety Methodology The analysis considers the specific type and number of vessels that currently visit the POLB and pass by or enter the Project area, and evaluates the number and characteristics of vessels that would be calling at the redeveloped facilities after Project implementation. Specific design features of Pier S and the historical accident record for similar terminals at other ports are evaluated. Information regarding potential hazards during vessel approaches and departures is evaluated based on historical data, interviews with Port personnel, and information available from the Harbor Safety Committee and Port Pilots. Proposed Environmental Control for Operations The assessment of impacts is also based on the following environmental control that would be included as part of the Project: Environmental Control Measure BIO-2: Vessel Speed Reduction Program (CAAP Measure OGV1). (Section 3.5) Three Berth Alternative Construction Impacts Impact VT-1: The Three-Berth Alternative s construction-related marine traffic would not cause a change in vessel traffic patterns, including an increase in traffic volumes or a change in location, that would result in substantial incremental changes to vessel safety. The Three-Berth Alternative s construction activities, including dredging, filling, and other inwater construction involving tugs and construction barges, would occur over an approximately 2-year period. These activities would be scheduled by the POLB and the construction contractors to minimize potential conflicts with vessel traffic in the Back Channel and Cerritos Channel. Construction operators contracted by the Port are required to have completed training in protocols specific to Long Beach Harbor and POLB marine navigation. The Three-Berth Alternative would be subject to the USACE restrictions and requirements specified in the conditions of the USACE construction permit. Those conditions require the contractor to undertake a number of PIER S MARINE TERMINAL & BACK CHANNEL IMPROVEMENTS DRAFT EIS/EIR SEPTEMBER 2011

10 coordination and monitoring activities. For example, the contractor would have to publish a Notice to Mariners describing project activities and schedule; coordinate vessel activities with the Marine Exchange, USCG, and Port Pilots; monitor VHF Channel 16 (the marine safety channel); and provide regular reports of activities. CEQA Impact Determination Vessel transportation and marine terminals are regulated by many laws and regulations that are in place to ensure safety within the harbor. Various entities, including international, federal, state, and local agencies, are responsible for enforcing these regulations. Federal laws and USCG s Title 33 and Title 46 provisions, in addition to the USACE procedures, would regulate the navigation system. Additional organization and programs in place include the Marine Exchange of Southern California, Harbor Safety Committee, HSP, and VTS. Further, all in-water construction activities would comply with permit conditions and Environmental Control Measures BIO-2 and NOI-6. Compliance with permit conditions, the control measures listed above, and various regulations enforced by agencies listed above would prevent safety-related conflicts with vessel traffic in the Project area. Accordingly, impacts related to vessel traffic would be less than significant under CEQA. As impacts related to vessel transportation would be less than significant, no mitigation is required. Impacts related to vessel transportation would be less than significant. NEPA Impact Determination Vessel transportation and marine terminals are regulated by many laws and regulations that are in place to ensure safety within the harbor. Various entities, including international, federal, state, and local agencies are responsible for enforcing these regulations. Federal laws and USCG s Title 33 and Title 46 provisions, in addition to the USAC procedures, would regulate the navigation system. Additional organization and programs in place include the Marine Exchange of Southern California, Harbor Safety Committee, HSP, and Vessel Transportation Service. Further, all in-water construction activities would comply with permit conditions and Environmental Control Measures BIO-2 and NOI-6. Compliance with permit conditions, the control measures listed above, and various regulations enforced by agencies listed above would prevent safetyrelated conflicts with vessel traffic in the Project area. Accordingly, impacts related to vessel traffic would be less than significant under NEPA. As impacts related to vessel transportation would be less than significant, no mitigation is required. Impacts related to vessel transportation would be less than significant. Operational Impacts Impact VT-2: The Three-Berth Alternative s operations would not cause a significant increase in vessel traffic or a change in patterns of vessel movements that would result in substantial incremental changes to vessel safety. Currently, there are no vessel calls at Pier S. The Three-Berth Alternative would result in a total of 312 vessel calls per year. This would be an approximately 11.6 percent increase over the existing 2,700 vessel calls (2007 baseline) for the Port. The available statistical data on accidents that involve marine vessels can be used to estimate potential increases in ACGs for the Three-Berth Alternative. The average number of ACGs within PIER S MARINE TERMINAL & BACK CHANNEL IMPROVEMENTS DRAFT EIS/EIR SEPTEMBER 2011

11 the POLB/POLA over the period was 6.7, with a standard deviation of 2.9. The projected increase of 0.26 ACGs per year would be substantially less than the historical standard deviation of 2.9 ACGs per year, and would increase the annual average accident rate by approximately 3.9 percent over the period 1997 to 2007 within the POLB and POLA. The Proposed Project also includes improvements to the Back Channel, rendering it safe for navigation. The current channel size does not require USACE, the U.S. Navy, and PIANC recommendations for channel width and depth. Although navigation may be feasible with significant effort on the part of or by the Jacobsen Pilot Service, given the existing condition of the Back Channel, potential exists for vessel allision or grounding along the Channel side slope. Therefore, improvements to the Channel are proposed with a vision to dredge the Back Channel to a width of 323 feet and a depth of -52 feet (MLLW) plus up to 2 feet of over depth dredging. CEQA Impact Determination As the estimated number of vessel accidents would increase with the Three-Berth Alternative, the overall annual average accident rate within the POLB and POLA would increase by only 3.9 percent. The Three-Berth Alternative s impacts related to vessel transportation safety would be less than significant under CEQA. Additionally, potential impacts would be further reduced with the implementation of Project Environmental Control Measure BIO-2 Vessel Speed Reduction (Section 3.5). Furthermore, regarding potential risk associated with the existing condition of the Back Channel, with the proposed safety improvements, the potential impact related to vessel allision or grounding would be less than significant. As impacts related to vessel transportation and vessel safety would be less than significant, no mitigation beyond safety improvements to the Back Channel is required. Impacts related to vessel transportation and vessel safety would be less than significant. NEPA Impact Determination As the estimated number of vessel accidents would increase with the Three-Berth Alternative, the overall annual average rate within the POLB and POLA would increase by only 3.9 percent, the Three-Berth Alternative s impacts related to vessel transportation safety would be less than significant under NEPA. Additionally, regarding potential risk associated with the existing condition of the Back Channel, with the proposed safety improvements, the potential impact related to vessel allision or grounding would be less than significant. As impacts related to vessel transportation and vessel safety would be less than significant, no mitigation beyond safety improvements to the Back Channel is required. Impacts related to vessel transportation and vessel safety would be less than significant Two-Berth Alternative The Two-Berth Alternative would involve construction of a reduced-length wharf that would allow only two ships to dock at once. This alternative would include the same widening of Cerritos Channel and improvement of the Back Channel as in the Three-Berth Alternative. The Two-Berth Alternative would result in a total of 260 vessel calls per year at the Pier S marine terminal, a 9.6 percent increase over the current number of vessels that call at the POLB annually. The estimated increase in ACGs at the combined POLB/POLA complex under this alternative would increase from 0.00 (Pier S- Related Baseline Conditions [2007]) to 0.22, an increase of 0.22 per year, representing a 3.3 PIER S MARINE TERMINAL & BACK CHANNEL IMPROVEMENTS DRAFT EIS/EIR SEPTEMBER 2011

12 percent increase over the period 1997 to 2007 within the POLB and POLA. CEQA Impact Determination Under this alternative, impacts on vessel transportation would be similar in nature to, but slightly less than those described under Impacts VT-1 and VT-2 for the Three-Berth Alternative. The extent of in-water construction activity causing impacts, and the number of operational vessel calls and potential accidents would be reduced with the Two-Berth Alternative. As with the Three-Berth Alternative, implementation of this alternative would result in less-thansignificant impacts related to vessel transportation and vessel safety under CEQA. As impacts related to vessel transportation and vessel safety would be less than significant, no mitigation beyond safety improvements to the Back Channel is required. Impacts related to vessel transportation and vessel safety would be less than significant. NEPA Impact Determination Under this alternative, impacts on vessel transportation would be similar in nature to, but slightly less than, those described under Impacts VT-1 and VT- 2 for the Three-Berth Alternative. The extent of in-water construction activity causing impacts, and the number of operational vessel calls and potential accidents would be reduced with the reduced-length wharf. As with the Three-Berth Alternative, implementation of this alternative would result in less-than-significant impacts related to vessel transportation and vessel safety under NEPA. As impacts related to vessel transportation and vessel safety would be less than significant, no mitigation beyond safety improvements to the Back Channel is required. Impacts related to vessel transportation and vessel safety would be less than significant Multi-Use Storage Alternative The Multi-Use Storage Alternative would not involve wharf construction or any other construction activities in the Cerritos Channel or the Back Channel, and would not result in any vessel calls at Pier S. However, the Multi-Use Storage Alternative would increase capacity of the San Pedro Bay Ports, and use of the terminal under this alternative would result in increases in OGV at other terminals. It should be noted that a specific breakdown of OGV by terminal that would be associated with increased capacity is speculative in that additional vessel calls could occur at any of the terminals in San Pedro Bay. In addition, there would be fewer throughputs associated with the Multi-Use Storage Alternative than the Three-Berth and Two-Berth Alternatives. CEQA Impact Determination As no in-water construction activities (i.e., dredging, filling, new wharf construction, wharf upgrades, and channel/berth deepening) would occur under this alternative, no impacts related to vessel transportation during construction would occur. As no impacts related to vessel transportation and vessel safety would occur during construction, no mitigation is required. No impacts related to vessel transportation and vessel safety would occur. NEPA Impact Determination The Multi-Use Storage Alternative is equivalent to the NEPA Baseline because it only includes construction and operational activities that would not require issuance of federal permits. As no PIER S MARINE TERMINAL & BACK CHANNEL IMPROVEMENTS DRAFT EIS/EIR SEPTEMBER 2011

13 federal action or permit would be required, there would be no significance determination under NEPA for this alternative. No impacts related to vessel transportation would occur. As no impacts related to vessel transportation and vessel safety would occur during construction, no mitigation is required. No impacts related to vessel transportation and vessel safety would occur No Project Alternative The No Project Alternative would not include construction of the marine terminal and related facilities, including rail improvements or in-water activities (i.e., dredging, Back Channel improvement, and/or new wharf construction). No activities beyond ongoing activities related to maintenance of remediation projects would occur. However, while no impacts would result under this alternative, the navigation safety benefits of a wider channel would not be realized. This alternative would not result in any vessels calling at Pier S. CEQA Impact Determination Under this alternative no construction and, consequently, no construction-related impacts related to vessel transportation would occur under CEQA. As no impacts related to vessel transportation and vessel safety would occur during construction, no mitigation is required. No impacts related to vessel transportation and vessel safety would occur. NEPA Impact Determination Under this alternative no construction and, consequently, no construction-related impacts related to vessel transportation would occur under NEPA. As no impacts related to vessel transportation and vessel safety would occur during construction, no mitigation is required. No impacts related to vessel transportation and vessel safety would occur Cumulative Impacts Three-Berth Alternative Both the POLB and POLA have proposed or planned numerous projects (Table 2-1) to accommodate the anticipated cargo growth (see Chapter 1) that would result in a substantial increase in vessel traffic. This increase in traffic, estimated to double by 2020, has the potential to result in a substantial increase in ACGs. Assuming accident rates remain unchanged, the increase in port shipping would result in an equivalent increase in the number of ACGs. This is considered a potentially significant cumulative impact. It should be noted that Environmental Control Measure BIO-2 has been incorporated into the Project to reduce potential impacts. Additionally, the Project would contribute a relatively small fraction of the potential cumulative increases in TEUs, port calls, and potential ACGs. Therefore, the Project s contribution to potential cumulative impacts related to vessel transportation would be less than significant Two-Berth Alternative Potential cumulative increases in TEUs, port calls, and potential ACGs for the Two-Berth Alternative would be similar to the Three-Berth Alternative and hence less than significant. It should be noted that Environmental Control PIER S MARINE TERMINAL & BACK CHANNEL IMPROVEMENTS DRAFT EIS/EIR SEPTEMBER 2011

14 Measure BIO-2 would still be implemented to reduce potential impacts Multi-Use Storage Alternative Similar to the Three- and Two-Berth Alternatives, no cumulatively considerable significant or adverse impacts related to potential ACGs would occur as result of the Multi-Use Storage Alternative implementation. It should be noted that Environmental Control Measure BIO-2 would still be implemented to reduce potential impacts Mitigation Monitoring Program As no mitigation measures are required to address impacts related to vessel transportation, no mitigation monitoring program is required. Additionally, it should be noted that Environmental Control Measure BIO-2 VSRP (Vessel Speed Reduction Program) has been incorporated into the Project to reduce speed and thus reduce potential impacts No Project Alternative Since no development would occur under this alternative, no cumulative impacts or contribution to the cumulative impacts related to potential ACGs would occur. PIER S MARINE TERMINAL & BACK CHANNEL IMPROVEMENTS DRAFT EIS/EIR SEPTEMBER 2011

3.9 Marine Transportation

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