Initial USACE Design Alternatives
The Homer Harbor Expansion Study Initial Array of Alternatives were developed from public input received at the design charette held at the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center in May 2023. The alternatives underwent initial evaluation by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and a preliminary short list has been prioritized for further investigation. This short list was officially rolled out at the Homer City Council Meeting on June 26, 2023. The USACE will further analyze and refine the alternatives according to their established criteria including assessing potential environmental consequences. This work is anticipated to last about 9 months.
There’s still time to share your ideas! Your feedback will help make this project a success.
A single enclosed basin where the outer breakwaters of the enclosure create no additional room for local service facilities on the top surface area.
A single enclosed basin where the outer breakwaters of the enclosure have some room for local service facilities on the top surface area.
An enclosed T-shape harbor where the outer breakwater of the enclosure have some room for local service facilities on the top surface area.
A crescent shape enclosed basin where the outer breakwaters of the enclosure have maximum room for local service facilities on the top surface area. Access to basin connects to Spit away from existing harbor.
Public Meeting: Alternatives Carried Forward (September 2023)
Public Meeting recap
The City of Homer recently conducted the first public meeting for the Homer Harbor Expansion feasibility study on September 23, 2023, from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm at the Kachemak Bay College. The meeting featured a presentation, an in-depth workshop covering key elements of the Charter Document, a report of workshop findings, and concluded with a live questions and answers.
Meeting Materials PDF Downloads
USACE Scoping Phase: Design Charrette (May 2023)
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) recently concluded the first step of their Homer Harbor Expansion feasibility study, a 3-day, in-person design charrette held May 17 through May 19, 2023. The charrette included a site visit to the harbor and brought the USACE’s 13-member project delivery team together with the public, stakeholders, and City of Homer representatives to:
- Identify problems to be solved by a harbor design, confirm data, and obtain new data.
- Reach consensus on the study’s problems, opportunities, objectives, and constraints.
- Create an array of conceptual design alternatives to meet objectives.
- Discuss proposed alternatives and the criteria and metrics by which alternative design plans are evaluated, compared, and selected for further development.
The USACE project development team includes technicians in engineering, environmental resources, economics, real estate, planning, archeology and cultural resources, and regulatory compliance.
Day 1: Setting the Stage
The opening day of the charrette focused on establishing a shared understanding of the purpose, stages and milestones of the USACE’s three-year General Investigation study process. The scoping phase is the first stage of the study, of which the design charrette, developing design alternatives, and screening them to narrow the array for further study are major milestones. The goal is to complete the evaluation of selected alternatives by the end of the first year of the study.
The USACE also gave an overview of previous Homer Harbor expansion feasibility studies, noting that while the current GI study will benefit from those studies and from the wealth of knowledge about Kachemak Bay, the USACE had no preconceived notions about solutions. They began the charrette with a blank slate and engaged stakeholders so that the design that will be tentatively selected for further development and analysis responds to community input as well as necessary technical, environmental, and regulatory standards.
After lunch, the USACE engaged the public in a discussion about existing harbor conditions and compiled lists of problems and opportunities to be addressed by a design, as well as the constraints on and objectives for the designs. The first day ended with the USACE meeting with environmental stakeholders at the Cook Inletkeeper office.
Day 2: Brainstorming and Collaboration
On the second day, the USACE made a harbor site visit and met with large-vessel owner stakeholders to further understand harbor concerns from a user perspective and solicit ideal solutions. In the afternoon, they held a second charrette public work session where the public reviewed and discussed important measures to be considered in the harbor design and then set to work developing conceptual design alternatives to meet identified project objectives, one of which was a no-build option.
Day 3: Refining the Design Alternatives and Next Steps
On the final day, charrette participants reconvened to review 13 design alternatives collected from public input. Each design was presented to the group in a collaborative, creative-thinking environment for feedback on the design’s constraints and benefits and additional measures to be considered. Participants then had the opportunity to individually rate the designs by preference.
The USACE discussed their next steps during the wrap-up on the third and final day. Next steps include screening and evaluating the design alternatives to eliminate those that are not feasible and to eventually arrive at a tentatively selected design for in-depth analysis by the end of the first year of the study. The criteria and metrics the USACE will use in their evaluation include:
- Completeness – will the plan work?
- Effectiveness – does it measurably meet the planning objective?
- Efficiency – how cost-effective is it?
- Acceptability – is it acceptable by state, local, and public entities?
- Implementability – is it technically, legally, and financially feasible?
- Satisfaction – is the plan welcome to the various stakeholders?
A robust environmental review process is mandated by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). A NEPA document will be developed concurrently during the study to provide the analysis of each considered alternative’s impacts on the current environmental baseline during the study.
For more details on the material presented and information documented at the charrette work sessions, see the USACE May 17-19, 2023, Design Charrette PowerPoint Presentation attached below.
The City thanks our meeting venue hosts at the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center and Cook Inletkeeper, the community members and stakeholders who participated and gave valuable input, and the USACE for engaging the public to help advance the study in a way that best serves the entire Homer community.
- March 29, 2023 – Sign FCSA
- May 17 – 19, 2023 USCG Design Charette
- Alternatives Investigation
- September 23, 2023 public meeting
- Alternatives refined based on public input
- Public review / meeting
- Alternatives(s) selected
- Analysis of selected plan begins