Status Report

National Environmental Policy Act and Executive Order 11990, Protection of Wetlands International Space Research Park at NASA KSC

By SpaceRef Editor
July 16, 2004
Filed under ,

[Federal Register: July 15, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 135)]
[Page 42461-42463]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []


[Notice 04-090]

National Environmental Policy Act and Executive Order 11990,
Protection of Wetlands; International Space Research Park at the John
F. Kennedy Space Center, Florida

AGENCY: National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

ACTION: Notice of availability of the Final Environmental Impact
Statement (FEIS) for the International Space Research Park (ISRP) at
the John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC).

SUMMARY: Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969
(NEPA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), the Council on
Environmental Quality Regulations for Implementing the Procedural
Provisions of NEPA (40 CFR Parts 1500-1508), and the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) policy and procedures (14
CFR Part 1216), NASA has prepared a FEIS for the proposed ISRP at KSC,
located in Florida. KSC is a major Center within NASA for activities
associated with the Space Shuttle and International Space Station and
is adjacent to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station from which many NASA
missions are launched. The purpose of the ISRP is to facilitate world-
class research and development (R&D) in areas critical to the long-term
success of KSC, its users, and operators. NASA has entered into an
agreement with the State of Florida, through the Florida Space
Authority (FSA), to jointly study the development of up to 160 ha (400
ac) of land on KSC as a research park. NASA is proposing to lease
approximately 142 ha (360 ac) in phases to the State of Florida
(through the FSA), which would create an ISRP Authority (ISRPA) to
develop and manage the site for the ISRP. The FEIS describes the
potential environmental impacts and proposed mitigation associated with
development alternatives under the proposed concept as well as the no-
action alternative.

DATES: NASA will take no final action on the ISRP before 30 days from
the date of publication in the Federal Register of the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency’s notice of availability of the ISRP

ADDRESSES: The FEIS may be reviewed at the following locations of the
Brevard County Library:

(a) Central Brevard Library & Reference Center, 308 Forrest Ave.,
Cocoa, FL 32922, (321) 633-1792.

(b) Cocoa Beach Branch Library, 550 North Brevard Ave, Cocoa Beach,
FL 32931, (321) 868-1104.

(c) Melbourne Branch Library, 540 E. Fee Ave., Melbourne, FL 32901,
(321) 952-4514.

(d) Merritt Island Branch Library, 1195 North Courtenay Parkway
Merritt Island, FL 32953, (321) 455-1369.

(e) St. Johns Branch Library, 6500 Carole Ave., Port St. John, FL
32927, (321) 633-1867.

(f) North Brevard Branch Library, 2121 S. Hopkins Ave., Titusville,
FL 32780, (321) 264-5026.

The FEIS may also be examined at the following NASA locations by
contacting the pertinent Freedom of Information Act Office:

(g) NASA, Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035 (650-604-

(h) NASA, Dryden Flight Research Center, P.O. Box 273, Edwards, CA
93523 (661-276-2704).

(i) NASA, Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field, 21000 Brookpark
Road, Cleveland, OH 44135 (216-433-2755).

(j) NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt Road, Greenbelt,
MD 20771 (301-286-0730).

(k) NASA, Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX 77058 (281-483-8612).

(l) NASA, Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA 23681 (757-864-

(m) NASA, Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL 35812 (256-

(n) NASA, Stennis Space Center, MS 39529 (228-688-2164).

In addition, the FEIS may be examined at the following locations:

(o) NASA Headquarters, Library, Room lJ20, 300 E Street SW.,
Washington, DC 20546 (202-358-0167).

(p) Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Visitors Lobby, Building 249, 4800
Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109 (818-354-5179).

The FEIS can be accessed electronically at

Limited copies of the FEIS are available, on a first request basis,
by contacting Mr. Mario Busacca, NASA, Mail Code TA-C3, Kennedy Space Center, Florida 32899; Telephone: 321-867-8456; e-mail:

Submit all comments in writing to Mr. Mario Busacca, NASA, Mail
Code TA-C3, Kennedy Space Center, Florida 32899, or electronically to

C3, Kennedy Space Center, Florida, 32899; Telephone: 321-867-8456; e-

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Notice of Availability of the Draft EIS
(DEIS) was published by NASA in the Federal Register on January 27,
2004. Copies of the DEIS were sent to more than 180 public agencies,
private organizations, and individuals. Fifteen individuals and
organizations provided comments on the DEIS. Their comments and the
NASA responses are provided in Appendix M of the FEIS. All 15
commentators indicated that Alternative 1 was the most acceptable
alternative. The Merritt Island Homeowners Association continued to
raise concerns regarding the increase in traffic on Merritt Island,
Florida. No other major issues were raised.

The ISRP is intended to support NASA’s mission, facilitate public-
private collaboration, provide for complementary R&D objectives, and
further space commercialization and development, consistent with the
Space Act of 1958, as amended to authorize Enhanced-Use Leasing. The
mission of the FSA, which would collaborate with NASA in developing the
ISRP, is to retain, expand, and diversify the State’s space-related
industry. As described in the FEIS, the FSA would create an ISRPA under
Florida State law to develop and manage the proposed ISRP. As a center
for R&D, the ISRP would bring together a dynamic mix of industry,
academia, and government researchers to focus their combined strengths
in areas of R&D critical to the long-term success of NASA and its
partners, including, but not limited to, the FSA.

Study Area and Project Alternatives

Study Area: Kennedy Space Center occupies 56,500 ha (139,490 ac) of
land located within Brevard and Volusia Counties and controlled by
NASA. The study area includes KSC, Brevard County, and the five
adjoining counties (Indian River, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, and
Volusia). The alternative development sites proposed for the ISRP are
located on KSC along the south portion of Kennedy Parkway South (also
known as State Road 3). Kennedy Parkway South is the major north-south
transportation arterial that allows public ingress and egress through
KSC into Merritt Island and Titusville.

Project Alternatives: Alternatives for development of the ISRP at
KSC include: Alternative 1, Alternative 2, and Alternative 3 (No Action
Alternative). The first two alternative actions involve developing and
operating the ISRP at alternate locations on KSC. The third
alternative, the No Action Alternative, involves not developing the
ISRP at KSC at this time and continuing present management of the study

Alternative 1 (Preferred Alternative): In Alternative 1, NASA
proposes the development of the ISRP on approximately 140 ha (345 ac)
of KSC property to the west of Kennedy Parkway South (State Road 3).
Development and related construction activities would occur on land
located immediately south of the KSC Visitors Complex along Space
Commerce Way. Approximately 130 ha (321 ac) of the development (Phases
A-E) would occur on the west side of Space Commerce Way. Phase F would
occur on a 10 ha (24 ac) parcel east of Space Commerce Way, adjacent to
and west of the Space Experiments Research and Processing Laboratory
(SERPL). The larger area (Phases A-E) considered in Alternative 1 is
dominated by citrus groves and includes remnant wetlands and disturbed
habitats. The smaller area (Phase F) is undeveloped.

In Alternative 1, development would occur in 6 phases (Phases A-F)
over 25 parcels, which would be serviced by approximately 4.5
kilometers (km) (2.8 miles (mi)) of roads. The parcels range from 1.8
to 10.2 ha (4.5 to 25.3 ac) in size with developable acreage between
1.8 and 6.2 ha (4.5 and 15.4 ac). Some parcels have dedicated no-build
zones due to existing wetlands and stormwater ponds. The stormwater
ponds would become part of the master stormwater system for the park.
The proposed stormwater management system includes 10 connected
treatment ponds for the collection and treatment of runoff generated
from the developed parcels. Parcels would be developed to include 35
percent open space overall. The open space would include a central
greenway, which would offer sidewalks and pedestrian access along
wetlands and stormwater retention areas.

Alternative 2: Alternative 2 proposes construction and development
of the ISRP in six phases on approximately 130 ha (321 ac) located
northeast of the KSC south security gate (Gate 3) on Kennedy
Parkway South (State Road 3), near B Avenue SW (or Tel-4 Road). This
alternative, like Alternative 1, also considered Phase F development of
10 ha (24 ac) east of Space Commerce Way, adjacent to and west of the
SERPL. The combined areas considered in Alternative 2 are undeveloped
and characterized by high quality pine flatwoods and scrub habitat
embedded with wetlands.

The area considered in Alternative 2 (including Phase F) is defined
by 26 parcels, which would be serviced by approximately 4.2 (km) (2.6
(mi)) of roads. Of the 26 parcels, 25 parcels are proposed for
development. These parcels range in size from 1.6 to 10.0 ha (4.0 to
24.0 ac) with developable acreage from 1.5 to 5.6 ha (3.7 to 13.8 ac).
A 34.7 ha (85.7 ac) parcel has been established under this development
plan to protect an extensive wetlands system. Four stormwater
management ponds are proposed for the collection and treatment of
runoff generated from the developed parcels. The Alternative 2 land use
plan offers extensive greenways and sidewalks for pedestrian access
along the wetland conservation area and between parcels.

Alternative 3 (No Action Alternative): Under the No Action
Alternative, no new development would be proposed regarding the ISRP on
KSC. The No Action Alterative would result in continuing the present
management of the two proposed sites at KSC. Under the No Action
Alternative, land currently managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service (USFWS) would remain under USFWS management. Land leased
through 2008 to the Kerr Foundation for citrus grove production would,
after the lease expires, become part of the undeveloped KSC buffer,
which is managed by the USFWS as part of the Merritt Island National
Wildlife Refuge. The USFWS has long-term plans to restore the citrus
groves to natural conditions.

NASA has selected Alternative 1 as the Preferred Alternative. The
Preferred Alternative has been identified as the option that best meets
NASA’s purpose and need, and has the fewest significant environmental
impacts compared to Alternative 2. Under both Alternatives 1 and 2 and
even with the mitigation measures proposed in the FEIS, significant
impacts would occur to air quality within KSC due to increased
vehicular traffic and to soil composition, structure, and function on-
site due to excavation and filling prior to construction. Unavoidable,
significant air quality impacts would result from increased vehicular
traffic, but would not cause the area to become a non-attainment area
under the Clean Air Act for pollutants of concern: carbon monoxide and particulate matter. However, under Alternative 2, the
proposed ISRP would result in destruction of high quality scrub and
wetlands habitat found at the Alterative 2 site.
To obtain more current data for Alternative 1, an Environmental
Site Assessment (ESA), Phase I and II, was conducted to determine if
the past practices related to citrus production have left soils or
groundwater contamination on the site. (The ESA was finalized in March
2004, after the publication of the ISRP DEIS, and was therefore not
included in that document.) The ESA was conducted in accordance with
American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) E-1527, Phase I and
ASTM E-1528, Phase II, Environmental Site Assessment Process. The
results of the ESA are summarized here and the final report is included
in Appendix L of the FEIS.

Phase I and Phase II sampling at the Alternative 1 site for
contamination from the nearby Solid Waste Management Unit sites did not
detect levels for many parameters. For other parameters, the levels did
not exceed screening criteria. Thus, it was concluded that the
Alternative 1 site has not been impacted by the Solid Waste Management
Unit sites.

Phase I and Phase II sampling at the Alternative 1 site for
contamination from citrus production activities detected arsenic and
copper levels at three locations that exceeded residential human health
screening criteria, but not industrial human health screening criteria.
Thus, it was also concluded that the Alternative 1 site has been only
minimally impacted by past citrus production. Copper values in Phase II
sampling generally ranged from 16 to 75mg/kg. Copper levels in Samples
ISRP-HA-11 and ISRP-HA-12, however, measured 380 and 310 mg/kg,
respectively. Arsenic values in the samples generally ranged from 0.20
to 0.77 mg/kg. The arsenic level in Sample ISRP-HA-9, however, measured
3.0 mg/kg, which exceeded industrial human health screening criteria
for arsenic. Although the elevated levels in the 3 samples exceed the
Florida Department of Environmental Protection Soil Cleanup Target
Levels (SCTL) of 110 mg/kg (copper) and 0.80 mg/kg (arsenic) for
residential areas, they are below the SCTL of 7,600 mg/kg (copper) and
5 mg/kg (arsenic), respectively, for industrial areas (Florida
Administrative Code (F.A.C.), Chapter 62-777). In addition, the arsenic
level in Sample ISRP-HA-9 does not exceed the Florida Leachability
criterion of 29 mg/kg (F.A.C., Chapter 62-777). Based on these
criteria, no impact to ground or surface water is expected from these

The ESA findings do not preclude the development of industrial
activities, such as, but not limited to, the types of activities that
would occur at the proposed ISRP, anywhere on the Alternative 1 site.
Operation of the proposed ISRP would not impact the geology or soils.
In addition, given that no residential development is planned for the
ISRP, no mitigation or remediation is expected to be required prior to
or during development. If a day care center were to be proposed later,
the ISRPA, or NASA as the landowner, would conduct any necessary
environmental reviews.

Under both alternatives, land use plans have been developed to
mitigate wetlands impacts and manage stormwater flow pursuant to
Executive Order 11988, Floodplains, and E.O. 11990, Protection of
Wetlands. The proposed ISRPA, or NASA as the landowner, would develop a
Wetlands Mitigation Plan and obtain a Section 404 Clean Water Act
permit and a Florida Environmental Resources Permit (pursuant to the
Florida Water Resources Act of 1972). If the terms and conditions of
the USFWS Biological Opinion and State permits substantially change the
proposed action or alternatives, NASA would conduct further
environmental review.

Under both alternatives, land use plans and operations include
measures to mitigate potential impacts to Federal and State listed
species and critical habitat. Pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered
Species Act, NASA conducted formal consultation with the USFWS for the
Preferred Alternative (Alternative 1) and obtained a Biological Opinion
indicating No Jeopardy for the eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais
couperi.) and no adverse modification to critical habitat if the
recommended reasonable and prudent measures are implemented. The
Biological Opinion approved incidental take of all eastern indigo

Under Alternative 2, potential direct, indirect, and cumulative
impacts to protected wildlife and associated habitat are expected to be
highly significant and the ability to mitigate impacts to below
significance to be limited. If NASA were to select Alternative 2, NASA
would prepare a Biological Assessment and enter into formal
consultation to obtain a Biological Opinion for the following federally
listed species: Florida scrub-jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens), eastern
indigo snake, bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), and freshwater
swale marsh plants such as Curtiss reedgrass (Calamovilfa curtissii
(Vasey) Scribn.). Further, under Alternative 2, State wildlife permits
allowing incidental take or relocation of gopher tortoises and any
State-listed commensals encountered on the proposed site would need to
be obtained pursuant to Rules 68A-25.002 and 68A-27.005, F.A.C. If the
terms and conditions of the USFWS Biological Opinion and State permits
substantially changed the proposed action under Alternative 2, NASA
would conduct further environmental review.

Future projects implemented by the proposed ISRPA in the context of
the ISRP will be evaluated for NEPA compliance by the NASA KSC NEPA
Document Manager to determine if the project’s environmental impacts
were adequately described in the FEIS. Any applicable mitigation
measures will also be identified. If the project is not adequately
covered by the FEIS, then NASA will determine what level of additional
NEPA analysis may be required. In addition to the NEPA review, NASA, as
a condition of the lease, will review projects proposed by its
partner(s) for compliance with the ISRP Design Guide (described in the
FEIS), as well as with applicable Federal, State, and local
environmental, health, and safety laws, regulations, Executive Orders,
and standards.

Olga M. Dominguez,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Institutional and Corporate
[FR Doc. 04-16077 Filed 7-14-04; 8:45 am]


SpaceRef staff editor.