Oct. 29 deadline for comments on Naval Weapons Station ammo pier project

The artwork above shows the US Navy’s preferred alternative to replace the existing ammunition pier. Courtesy artwork

The public has until Oct. 29 to comment on the revised Environmental Assessment of the proposed construction of a new ammunition pier at Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station. An open house public meeting will be held at the Seal Beach Senior Center (707 Electric Ave.) on Thursday, Oct. 11, from 4 to 7 p.m., to provide information, answer questions, and accept public comments. For more information, visit https://sealbeachea.com.

The Navy has several reasons to carry out the project. As previously reported, the current pier is too small to meet the Navy’s needs. The old pier, built in the 1950s, doesn’t meet current earthquake standards. Seal Beach is the only weapons station that can support the fleet in San Diego. The base is expected to see an increase in traffic from the fleet in the foreseeable future. The current public boat channel goes by the ammunition pier, which is a security issue. The proposal to build an ammunition pier at the south mole with an interior public boat channel would address that issue. The Navy proposes to construct:

• A replacement ammunition pier (approximately 1,100-feet by 125-feet)

• Associated waterfront facilities

• A causeway and truck turnaround

• A new public navigation channel for civilian boat traffic to and from Huntington Harbour.

The channel would run inside the current jetty system. The new pier would be built to current earthquake standards, would be able to support future fleet requirements, and would provide greater separation between Navy operations and civilian transportation routes. The project would include dredging for the proposed pier, ship turning basin, and new public navigation channel. Dredged material could be used for project elements, including the creation of the causeway, truck turnaround, and for widening of the south mole. Unused dredged material could be used for habitat conservation, or beach replenishment (if suitable), and/or disposed in designated offshore locations (subject to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approval).

The proposed project would increase security, safety, and operational efficiency by:

• Constructing a new pier designed to withstand likely earthquake scenarios

• Increasing the number and type of ships able to be serviced at the base

• Providing greater separation between Navy operations, civilian boat traffic, and vehicular traffic on Pacific Coast Highway

What does this mean for the general public if the project is approved? For the next five to six years noise and some inconvenience.

The 2018 Revised Draft EA includes analyses of the potential direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts on the following environmental resource and issue areas: Air quality and climate change; water resources; geological resources (topography, geology, soils, and bathymetry); cultural resources; biological resources; land use, recreation, and coastal zone management; visual quality; noise; transportation; public health and safety; hazardous materials and waste management; socioeconomics; infrastructure

Notable project design changes analyzed in the Revised Draft EA include: Increasing the number of concrete piles from approximately 500 piles to 900 piles; changing the width of the public navigation channel from 300 feet wide to approximately 250 feet wide; dredging to occur for approximately one year, 24 hours a day, seven days a week; revising the construction timeline to five to six years.