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Port Mackenzie Rail Extension Biological Assessment
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Filetype[PDF-2.60 MB]

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    This Biological Assessment addresses potential effects of the Alaska Railroad Corporation’s (ARRC or Applicant) proposed Port MacKenzie Rail Extension (the proposed project) on federally listed threatened and endangered species that are protected under the Endangered Species Act. After consulting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service on potential threatened or endangered species that could be affected by the proposed project, the Surface Transportation Board (STB or the Board) Section of Environmental Analysis (SEA) determined that the proposed project could indirectly affect the endangered Cook Inlet beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas). SEA identified and evaluated potential indirect effects on beluga whale that include: 1) beluga whale forage fish at freshwater stream crossings that support anadromous salmon and smelt throughout the proposed project area, and 2) induced noise and disturbance effects in the immediate vicinity of Port MacKenzie at the entrance of the Knik Arm, as a result of induced increases in vessel traffic to and from Port MacKenzie. SEA, in consultation with National Marine Fisheries Service, did not identify any direct impacts from the proposed project to the beluga whale or beluga whale habitats in the waters of Cook Inlet or within the lower reaches of the Susitna River or the Little Susitna River

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