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Second explosives wharf planned at Bangor; public meeting April 19 at North Kitsap High School

BANGOR — Citing additional needs to support the Trident program, the U.S. Navy has drafted an Environmental Impact Statement that seeks review of a second explosives handling wharf at Naval Base Kitsap Bangor to service eight Trident submarines homeported there.

The draft EIS is available at www.nbkeis.com/EHW/Welcome.aspx and public libraries in Poulsbo, Silverdale and Bremerton. Public comment is being accepted until May 2. An open house, presentation and formal comment period is scheduled for April 19, 7:30 p.m., at the North Kitsap High School Commons, 1780 NE Hostmark St. in Poulsbo.

The second explosives wharf would be adjacent to, but separate from, the existing explosives wharf. If permitted, construction would last four years and be scheduled to minimize impacts to juvenile salmon and breeding marbled murrelets. Most upland work would be done within the first 10 months.

In the 1970s, a draft EIS called for three explosives wharfs to eventually be built at Bangor. A subsequent 2009 plan determined only two wharfs were needed to support the submarines’ missile delivery mission.

The draft EIS, released earlier this month, says the Navy has no plans to increase or decrease the number of Trident subs ported at Bangor, but that the existing explosives wharf will not support the program into the future as maintenance needs require about 400 days per year of wharf use. The current explosives wharf maintenance needs leave the Trident program short by 200 days of wharf time each year.

The primary increase in wharf time stems from increased handling and maintenance requirements of the Trident II Life Extension Program that increases the life of the D5 missile though 2042.

The Navy’s preferred choice of five alternatives is a combined trestle with a large-pile wharf set 600 feet off shore in 60 to 100 feet of water. Heavy duty cranes, power utility booms, lighting towers and additional floating work platforms are included.

The Navy expects short-term environmental impacts from construction include noise, turbidity and air pollution.

Long-term impacts include loss and shading of marine habitat including eelgrass, macroalgae and the benthic community, and interference with the migration of some species of salmon that are protected under the Endangered Species Act.

No marine mammals are expected to be injured, but several, including sea lions, harbor seals, porpoises and killer whales would face “behavioral harassment.”

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