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Corps of Engineers preparing Environmental Assessment for Winchester FDA project in Woburn, Winchester

Published July 31, 2017

CONCORD, Mass. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District is preparing an Environmental Assessment for a proposed construction and demolition project at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Winchester Engineering and Analytical Center (FDA-WEAC) in Winchester and Woburn, Mass. The proposed project involves the construction of a new building for the FDA-WEAC and demolition of the current building.


The proposed project involves the construction of a new facility of approximately 75,000 square feet and demolition of the current facility at 109 Holton Street in Winchester and Woburn. The existing facility no longer meets the FDA-WEAC standards for size, configuration and amenities. The current facility is 60 years old and has outdated electrical and mechanical systems and it has reached its size and capacity for the technical equipment needed for the facility to perform its analytical work.


The purpose of the project is to improve the facility by providing a building that meets current standards of quality of life, energy conservation, size, technological capability and safety. The FDA-WEAC construction project plan formulation considered several alternatives to house the facility. These included the no action alternative, renovation of the current FDA-WEAC building, leasing an alternative space, and the current proposal.


The proposed work is being coordinated with: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Massachusetts Department of Fish and Wildlife, Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Commission; Massachusetts Historical Commission; Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, Tribal Historic Preservation Office; Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), Tribal Historic Preservation Office; town of Winchester and city of Woburn.


The northern long-eared bat (NLEB), a federally-listed threatened species, is a medium-sized bat found across much of the eastern and northcentral United States. Suitable summer habitat for the NLEB consists of a wide variety of forested/wooded habitats where the bats roost, forage and travel. Individual trees may be considered suitable habitat when they exhibit the characteristics of a potential roost tree and are located within 1,000 feet of other forested/wooded habitat. Females give birth between late May to late July and roost in maternity colonies. In winter, the NLEB hibernates in caves and mines.


Approximately 50 trees will need to be removed for construction of the new facility and for staging areas. As per correspondence from the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program dated Feb. 8, 2017, there are no maternity trees located on site. In addition, the FDA-WEAC facility is located within an industrial area; the remaining forest habitat associated with the site is isolated and highly disturbed in some areas. Therefore, the Corps has made a determination that this project is not likely to adversely affect the NLEB. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has concurred with this determination.


The public notice, with more detailed information, is available for review on the Corps website at



Public comments on this Environmental Assessment and proposed project should be forwarded no later than Aug. 30, 2017 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Planning Division, Evaluation Branch (ATTN: Ms. Kathleen Atwood), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751 or by email to kathleen.a.atwood@usace.army.mil





Tim Dugan

Release no. 17-079