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Oakland Dredging Environmental Impact Report Issued

Culminating a process initiated 24 years ago, the Army Corps of Engineers distributed the environmental impact statement and report for deepening the Oakland harbor, the fourth busiest U.S. gateway for container cargo.

The report recommends maximum use of the dredged material for restoration of a 300-acre North Bay tidal marsh known as Sonoma Baylands, a habitat for three endangered species.

Save San Francisco Bay Association, the Sierra Club and other groups endorsed legislation authorizing and funding the Sonoma Baylands project last year. The report also calls for disposal of dredged material at a federally-certified ocean disposal site 50 miles west of the Golden Gate, the portowned land now housing the Galbraith Golf Course in Oakland. Port officials say the $100 million project is urgently needed to restore the port's competitiveness, create up to 2,400 jobs and generate economic impacts of more than half a billion dollars.

The study took nearly three years to evaluate 23 alternative land, bay and ocean disposal sites for the dredged material, and focused on a short list of eight. Since none of the eight can handle the entire 5.6 million cubic yards of sand and clay to be dredged, the sites were grouped together to provide five alternative disposal plans. These range from almost complete ocean disposal, to disposal partly in the ocean and partly in the bay, to disposal entirely on land.

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