The NPS asked the NRC to provide a review of the DEIS on an expedited schedule of three months to fit within the timeframe of the NEPA analysis and the November 30, 2012 expiration of the Special Use Permit that allows DBOC to operate in Drakes Estero. As a consequence, the committee only convened one in-person meeting held at the National Academies’ Beckman Center in Irvine, California on July 9-12, 2012. On July 10 of the meeting, the committee held a public session open to organizations that have been involved in the DEIS or that otherwise have an interest in the DEIS to participate either in person or via web conference. The public session was organized to allow the committee members to efficiently gather information of relevance to their review of the DEIS through a question and answer session. Time was also set aside for public comment. The agenda and list of participants in the public session is available in Appendix D. Organizations and members of the public were also encouraged to submit information for the committee’s consideration in writing. These documents are part of the public record for this study, available through the National Academies’ Public Access Records Office,14 and posted on the internet.15
The committee’s evaluation of eight of the DEIS resource categories (wetlands, eelgrass, wildlife and wildlife habitat, special-status species, coastal flood zones, soundscapes, water quality, and socioeconomic resources) was conducted in three stages as follows:
(1) Review and compare the information and analysis provided for alternatives A, B, C, and D for each resource category by addressing the following questions:
• Are interpretations, analyses and conclusions scientifically sound based on (a) information and data provided in the DEIS, (b) additional results of scientific studies not considered in the DEIS, and (c) your expertise?
• Are there alternate conclusions that are equally sound or logical based on current scientific knowledge?
(2) Evaluate the Final Report on Peer Review of the Science Used in the DEIS (the Atkins report) against the committee’s evaluations of the DEIS to determine whether the peer review is fundamentally sound and materially sufficient.
(3) Provide suggestions for strengthening the scientific information in the final EIS.
The committee’s review of the DEIS begins with a discussion of observations related to how the DEIS analysis was framed (Chapter 2). The committee then evaluates the information, analyses and conclusions presented in the DEIS (Chapter 3). The evaluation includes a discussion of the uncertainty underlying the conclusions in the DEIS and offers alternative interpretations of the existing information where appropriate. Following the committee’s evaluation of the Atkins Peer Review (Chapter 4), the report concludes (Chapter 5) with a scientific assessment of the DEIS that leads to a set of suggestions for strengthening the science presented in the DEIS and reducing levels of uncertainty associated with the conclusions reported in the DEIS. The committee was not asked and hence does not comment on the sufficiency of the DEIS to meet NEPA requirements.