Wood Stork Rookery Environmental Assessment

July 19th, 2017

The Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV or Airport), in cooperation with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), will be preparing an Environmental Assessment (EA) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for a proposal to alter the habitat of any existing and/or potentially suitable rookery sites to encourage the movement of the wood storks (Mycteria americana) off the SAV property.  The proposed action would include tree removal at existing and/or potentially suitable rookery sites on Airport property.  This preferred alternative would include long-term maintenance of the SAV property to control existing habitats from maturing into suitable rookery sites.  The purpose of the proposed action is to enhance human safety and safeguard aircraft at the SAV. 

The EA will include an analysis of potential environmental impacts due to the proposed action.  Alternatives under consideration include: (1) taking no action; (2) draining the pond area at the existing rookery; (3) constructing a perimeter containment structure surrounding the existing rookery to manage water levels; (4) constructing physical structures at the existing rookery to encourage natural predation; and (5) removing trees from the existing wood stork rookery site (Preferred Alternative).  The Preferred Alternative also includes the removal of future nest trees from the Airport property to avoid the development of another rookery site.  Issues that will be analyzed in depth include the project's effects on biotic resources (fish, wildlife, plants), including the wood storks, colonial nesting wading birds, bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), and reptiles. 

As part of the process for determining the scope of issues to be addressed in the EA and for identifying the important issues related to the proposed and necessary action, we request your comments on the above issues and any other issues that you can identify as important.  We intend to use your comments to:

  • Identify the range of alternatives and impacts and important issues to be addressed in the EA.
  • Identify and eliminate from detailed study the issues which are not important or which have been covered by prior environmental review.
  • Identify other environmental review and consultation requirements.

 A stakeholders scoping meeting will be held on August 1, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. at the offices of the Savannah Airport Commission (address listed below) to discuss the proposed action and potential impact issues.  As part of the NEPA scoping process, the SAV/FAA is making this letter available to all interested federal, state, local agencies, public/non-governmental organizations and inviting each agency/organization to identify the issues, within their statutory responsibilities, that should be considered in this EA. 

Written comments should be submitted to the Savannah Airport Commission by August 15, 2017 to the following address:

Savannah Airport Commission

Attn: Lori Lynah

400 Airways Avenue

Savannah, GA 31408

If replies are not received by that date, we will assume that there are no comments at this stage of project development.  For questions, please contact Lori Lynah at llynah@savannahairport.com.