Reference

Kathleen Penny, 202-671-4608

District Department of Transportation

Project Highlights

  • NEPA Documentation (DEIS, FEIS, Supplemental FEIS, NETR)
  • Wetland Delineation
  • RTE Coordination
  • Biological Assessment
  • Mitigation

Project Details

South Capitol Street Wet DelThe District Department of Transportation prepared a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Supplemental FEIS for the reconstruction of South Capitol Street, including the Frederick Douglas Memorial Bridge, from Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.  The study area is located in the southeast and southwest quadrants of the District of Columbia.  The southern terminus of the project is at Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue and the northern terminus is Independence Avenue at the US Capitol.  The eastern boundary is Half Street, SE north of the Anacostia River and Howard Road in the vicinity of the southern terminus.  The western boundary is Half Street, SW north of the Anacostia River and Sumner Road in the vicinity of the southern terminus.  In addition, the study area includes improvements to New Jersey Avenue, SE from M Street, SE to Independence Avenue.  Finally, in the vicinity of the I-295/Suitland Parkway interchange the study area extends on I-295 from 0.25 miles southwest of the 11th Street Bridge to 0.2 miles south of the Firth Sterling Avenue.

The purpose of this project is to widen South Capitol Street, which is currently a four-lane facility, to a five-lane section to improve pedestrian movement within the facility.  Expansion of the road will also provide a balanced, sustainable, multi-modal transportation network that knits the neighborhood together and handles commuters with minimal impact on the surrounding neighborhoods. By transforming the South Capitol Street Corridor, this highway could serve as a significant gateway to the Nation’s Capital, one that serves the District, the Region and visitors from the nation and the world.

Coastal Resources, Inc. (CRI) prepared the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), portions of the FEIS and Supplemental FEIS to document the existing conditions and the environmental effects to the following resources: topography, geology, soils, groundwater, hydrogeology, surface water resources, water quality, wetlands, vegetation, wildlife, floodplains, and rare, threatened, and endangered species.  CRI identified and delineated wetland systems with the South Capitol Street Corridor using the methodology adopted from the 1987 Corps of Engineers Wetland Delineation Manual and Supplements for both the DEIS and Supplemental FEIS phases.  Each wetland flag point and test plot was surveyed using a Trimble backpack GPS unit and the located boundaries were plotted on aerial photography.  A technical report was also developed during the DEIS stage detailing the existing conditions and environmental effects of the resources listed above and was updated during the SFEIS stages of the project.  CRI coordinated and worked closely with the D.C. Department of Health (DOH) and the National Parks Service (NPS) – East to obtain existing information on those wetlands previously delineated by others within Poplar Point.  As part of this coordination, CRI participated in meetings with representatives from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), DOH, DDOT and the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation to stay informed on the potential projects proposed within the South Capitol Street Corridor.  CRI conducted a jurisdictional determination with US Army Corps of Engineers and DOH of waters of the U.S., including wetlands, identified within the corridor.  CRI assisted in the preparation of the cumulative and secondary impact assessment for those natural resources listed above.

As part of the RTE review and coordination for the project, the NMFS determined that the endangered shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum) and Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus) are present in the upper tidal Potomac River, and could therefore, potentially occur in the lower Anacostia River.  CRI prepared a Biological Assessment (BA) for the shortnose sturgeon as recommended by NMFS during the DEIS phase of the project.  Due to the listing of the Atlantic sturgeon after the DEIS was published, CRI prepared a BA for the Atlantic sturgeon during the SFEIS as requested by NMFS.  CRI closely coordinated with NMFS to ensure that all BA requirements were met for both species.

CRI developed a mitigation package for project related impacts associated with surface waters. CRI conducted a mitigation site search focused on in-kind stream mitigation within the Anacostia River watershed.  The search was limited to Prince George’s County and the District of Columbia in an attempt to keep the mitigation in close proximity to the impacted area so that the lower Anacostia River would receive the greatest benefit from this mitigation.  CRI identified a combination of water quality retrofits, stream restoration, and fish blockage removals as part of the mitigation package.  CRI coordinated with D.C. Fisheries and Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) to identify potential fish blockage removal sites.  As part of this site search, a database of sites was developed with the detailed information about each site such as site location, mapped soil type, name of watershed, county name, and potential acreage of area of waters improvements. CRI conducted field investigations of each potential site to record existing topography, vegetation, land cover, soils, and source of hydrology to determine the site’s suitability for mitigation. CRI researched the names and addresses of the property owners of the potential sites from City land records before entering the site.