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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 is still lots of time to share your ideas. Your feedback will help make this project a success.

Past Meetings

Ecological Modeling Workshop (April 2024)

Ecological Modeling Workshop Recap

From April 10-11, 2024, USACE hosted an interactive workshop for the Homer Navigational Improvement Study that focused on engaging with stakeholders to develop a singular draft model that will eventually become the basis of a final model. 

City of Homer City Council Work Session (January 2024)

City Council Work Session Recap

On Monday, January 22, 2024 HDR presented harbor baseline conditions during the City of Homer City Council Work Session. HDR gathered public data to develop numerical models of the existing conditions that focused on the Homer Spit and harbor to establish baseline conditions. Conditions include water level, wind, topography, and bathymetry. The purpose of the numerical model is to determine design conditions for conceptual design of alternatives, and to act as the “no action” alternative. An report will be submitted to the USACE for review.

City Council Work Session Presentation

Public Meeting: Alternatives Carried Forward (September 2023)

Public Meeting Recap

On Saturday, September 23, 2023, the Homer Harbor Expansion Study team hosted one in-person public meeting in Homer from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm. A 45-minute presentation was given to kick-off the meeting, share the study overview, process and screening criteria, and the array of alternatives, which were also displayed on posters around the room. A 60-minute workshop break-out session featuring five different topics followed the presentation. Each break-out session had a facilitator from the project team and a note taker from the Port and Harbor Advisory Commission. Workshop topics included:

  1. Table 1: Uplands Considerations & Aesthetics
  2.  Table 2: Resiliency & Sustainability
  3. Table 3: Reduced Environmental Impact
  4. Table 4: Balanced Harbor Design, Logistics
  5. Table 5: Business & Economic Opportunities

Once workshops concluded, one representative from each group presented a report of their discussion. Questions and answers were then opened to the public followed by presentation closeout.

Public Meeting Summary Document

USACE Scoping Phase: Design Charrette (May 2023)

Charette Recap

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.

Charette Schedule

Study Schedule

Q1 2023
Q1 2023

  • March 29, 2023 – Sign FCSA

Q2 2023
Q2 2023

  • May 17 – 19, 2023 USCG Design Charette
  • Alternatives Investigation

Q3 2023
Q3 2023

  • Public review / meeting
  • Alternatives refined based on public input

Q3 23 to Q1 24
Q3 23 to Q1 24

  • Public review / meeting
  • Alternatives(s) selected
  • Analysis of selected plan begins

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