1. Introduction. Pursuant to the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations in Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) parts 1500-1508 for implementing the procedural provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (Title 42 of the United States Code 4321 et seq.) and 32 CFR part 651 (Environmental Analysis of Army Actions), Fort Devens has conducted a Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) of the potential environmental and socioeconomic effects associated with implementing the Area Development Plan (ADP) for Fort Devens. The purpose and need of this PEA is to provide updates to the ADP and to account for the current and future needs of Fort Devens. Since the 2013 ADP was prepared, the base population has more than doubled and building conditions have further declined.
2. Proposed Action. In anticipation of future training, mission capabilities, and infrastructure requirements, Fort Devens proposes an update to the Area Development Plan prepared in 2013. Updates and changes to the ADP will occur on the Main Cantonment, 3400 Block, and South Post areas. This update to the ADP will provide Fort Devens with a road map for the framework, tools, and direction to enable the utilization and development of the land within the installation’s boundaries in a manner that allows for the continued expansion and improvement of Fort Devens.
3. Purpose and Need.
The projects described in this PEA are needed to enhance training capabilities, meet new requirements, and improve safety, security, and functionality of installation infrastructure.
4. Alternatives Considered. An environmental analysis of a No Action Alternative is required by CEQ regulations to serve as a benchmark against which the Proposed Action can be evaluated. Fort Devens did not investigate a new No Active Alternative for this ADP; however, the No Action Alternative would be to revert to the 2013 APD for Fort Devens, where no changes or updates to current facilities, utilities, or resource management would be implemented or constructed.
5. Factors Considered in the Finding of No Significant Impact. The PEA, which is attached and incorporated by reference into this Finding of No Significant Impact (FNSI), examines the potential effects of the action alternatives and the no action alternative on the following resource areas of environmental and socioeconomic concern: topography, soils, surface water, water quality, vegetation, wildlife, air quality, noise, hazardous materials, solid waste, and utilities. Negligible impacts on air quality, noise, land use, and hazardous materials are anticipated to occur through construction phases, though no long-term or lasting impacts are expected; however, best management practices (BMPs), for reduction of potential effects to water quality, traffic, and transportation, and noise generation would be implemented during construction and operation of the proposed actions. Mitigation measures to offset environmental impact are also described in the PEA.
6. Public Review and Comment. The draft PEA and FNSI were made available for public review and comments for 30 days, from March 7th to April 6th, 2022. Documents were made available for a 30-day public commentary period at the following libraries: Albert J Sargent Memorial Library, Ayer Library, Fitchburg Public Library, Groton Public Library, and Harvard Public Library, Hazen Memorial Library, J.V. Fletcher Library, The Lawrence Library, Leominster Public Library, Lunenburg Public Library, and Rueben Hoar Public Library. A digital version was also made available during the 30-day public review period: https://home.army.mil/devens/index.php
6. Conclusion. Based on the PEA, Fort Devens has determined that implementing the proposed action would have no significant direct, indirect, or cumulative adverse effects on the quality of human life or the natural environment at Fort Devens. Preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is not required before implementing the proposed action.
TRENT R. COLESTOCK LTC, US ARMY Commanding