Wallops Flight Facility Wallops Island Northern Development Final Environmental Assessment (EA)



The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has prepared a Final Environmental Assessment (EA) for its proposed Wallops Island Northern Development Project in Accomack County, Virginia. The EA has been prepared to satisfy NASA's obligations under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) and serves as a means for ensuring compliance with a variety of other Federal statutes, including the Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, Clean Water Act, National Historic Preservation Act, Coastal Zone Management Act, and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

The purpose of the Wallops Island Northern Development EA is to analyze the potential effects of constructing and operating the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) Port including fixed pier and turning basin, including channel dredging, on the north end of Wallops Island at WFF in Accomack County, Virginia. New facilities and improvements to the existing access road, airstrip, and utilities would likewise be constructed/installed as part of the Proposed Action. This EA is tiered from the May 2019 NASA WFF Site-wide Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS). In the Site-wide PEIS, NASA evaluated the potential environmental effects from various alternatives, including upgrades or replacement of utility infrastructure. The Site-wide PEIS available at The Site-wide PEIS is available at https://code200-external.gsfc.nasa.gov/250-wff/site-wide_eis.

The development of the MARS Port constitutes a new intermodal facility at Wallops Island and would include: channel dredging; construction of a fixed pier and turning basin; construction of a second hangar at the Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) airstrip; installation of new utility infrastructure; installation of airstrip lighting and hardening/reinforcement of a section of runway; improvements to the airstrip access road; construction of a new pier access road adjacent to the UAS Airstrip; construction of a new parking lot; and construction of a project support building. The project is needed to assist NASA in growing U.S. focus on commercial space; increasing frequency of partnerships with Department of Defense agencies; continuing their role in academia, civil space science, exploration, and discovery; safely and securely increasing operation frequency on Wallops Island; and improving aging and inadequate infrastructure.

The Final EA evaluates the environmental consequences of a range of reasonable alternatives that will assist with meeting NASA's needs including the Proposed Action, two (2) Action Alternatives, and the No Action Alternative.

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An east to west aerial photograph of the Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Airstrip surrounded by vegetation and water, on the northern end of NASA Wallops Flight Facility's Wallops Island in Accomack County, Virginia. Photo courtesy of Patrick Hendrickson of HighCamera
Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Airstrip
NASA Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Accomack County, Virginia.
Photo courtesy Patrick Hendrickson of HighCamera.com

Cooperating Agencies

The Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration (MARAD) is a cooperating agency since they may grant funds toward construction of the pier and port area. The U.S. Army of Corps of Engineers (USACE) is a cooperating agency since they would authorize permits under the Clean Water Act and the Rivers and Harbors Act due to the potential for dredging and/or placement of fill in waters of the U.S. The Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority (VCSFA) is also serving as a cooperating state agency because they are providing final funding and oversight of the design, construction, and operation of the Proposed Action. Thus, these agencies have assisted NASA in preparing the EA and have participated in all regulatory consultations during the NEPA process.

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Public Involvement

A public review and comment period of the Draft EA was held from December 15, 2021, to January 17, 2022. An electronic version of the Draft EA along with a summary presentation were available for public viewing on this website. In preparing the Final EA, NASA considered all comments received.

For any questions regarding the Wallops Island Northern Development Project Final EA, or NASA WFF's NEPA program, please contact:

Shari Miller
Center NEPA Manager 
NASA Wallops Flight Facility
Mailstop: 250.W
Wallops Island, VA 23337
(757) 824-2327

Finding of No Significant Impact

NASA has signed a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) in conjunction with the Final EA. NASA selected the Proposed Action as the Preferred Alternative and has documented that the environmental impacts associated with construction the MARS Port and associated onshore infrastructure will not individually or cumulatively have a significant impact on the quality of the human environment. Therefore, NASA has determined that an Environmental Impact Statement is not required.

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