The Fox Point Hurricane Barrier (Hurricane Barrier) is a Federal flood risk management project located in the City of Providence, Rhode Island. The Hurricane Barrier provides flood protection to about 280 acres of the City of Providence from hurricanes and other coastal storms. In 2012, the U.S. Congress provided authorization for the acceptance of funds from a State or a political subdivision and other non-Federal interests or private entities to operate a hurricane barrier project to support recreational activities at or in the vicinity of the project, at no cost to the Federal Government. Under that framework, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) operates the Hurricane Barrier to provide for flood control and support to recreation events throughout the year. The primary recreation support is the operation of the Hurricane Barrier to maintain navigation in the Woonasquatucket, Moshassuck and Providence Rivers during low tide at the request of WaterFire Providence (WaterFire).
The preferred alternative consists of continuing to operate the Hurricane Barrier for flood damage reduction in response to storms that could cause damage to downtown Providence’s commercial center, transportation facilities, public utilities and residences. It also includes continuing support for recreation activities, including support of WaterFire. The advantage of this alternative is that, based on the analysis provided in this EA, there are no significant adverse impacts identified and the facility can continue to protect the City of Providence during major storms and support cultural activities that have substantial positive economic benefit to the State of Rhode Island. An evaluation of the existing operation and maintenance actions against the impacts associated with them does not show significant environmental impacts occurring from continuing the existing operation and maintenance activities.