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The Umstead Coalition 
Celebrating Umstead State Park since 1934!

Potential Environmental Issues

07/06/2020 12:36 AM | Anonymous

Written by Liz Adams, Research Associate at the UNC Institute for the Environment

This is the summary of what is required for projects listed under the Airport Layout Plan for the RDU 2040 Master Plan.

Content in italics include findings or observations made by StopRDUQuarry Volunteers, bolded items are items that may be significant to the Odd Fellows Tract development.

Note: the Quarry does not show up on the list of projects, so no environmental assessment, or environmental impact study was done to determine the quarry development’s impact on the environment. As the quarry development project wasn’t listed, it appears that no coordination with other agencies occurred.

The “Borrow” Areas are where RDUAA plans to get dirt and fill for the runways. Notice that Borrow area 3 is basically the all of the area at the end of the small plane runway….the area that Umstead was forced to give up back in the 1950’s or so…and a whole lot more that is contiguous with the border of Umstead.

Based on my read of the document, the use of the Borrow areas are NEVER discussed. They talk about the moving the runway to the North East and no issues noted…but they don’t talk about or assess the Borrow dirt issue. Seems this should be required to be discussed given that it will directly impact Umstead.

Borrow area 3 is most of 286….and it includes the end of the small runway.

By not listing projects that will reduce forest cover and segmenting the projects, RDU Airport Authority has attempted to skirt the regulations in place to protect Umstead State Park.

Environmental Overview Raleigh Durham International Airport — June 2017 (draft)


The William B. Umstead State Park, adjacent to the eastern Airport property boundary, is a designated Cultural Resource District in the National Register of Historic Places, and is thus considered a cultural resource under Section 106 of the NHPA. A potential cultural effect was noted for Master Plan Study projects in Tables 7-1 and 7-2 if a project development footprint has the potential to affect a cultural resource. An effect may occur if a project would introduce an atmospheric, audible, or visual feature to the area that would diminish the integrity of the property’s significant historic features. Several landside and roadway improvement projects are located on Airport property adjacent to the William B. Umstead State Park and were identified as projects that may require additional consideration of cultural resources effects.

Pursuant to FAA Order 1050.1F. projects that would have an adverse effect on cultural resources under Section 106 of the NHPA may require an EA or an EIS, even if the project would normally qualify for a CATEX under NEPA. The timing of the NEPA Section 106 process, which involves FAA consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), depends on the level of environmental review (i.e., CATEX, EA, or EIS). SHPO consultation should be considered when defining the level of effort and schedule for NEPA review.

We need to call the State Historic Preservation Officer and ask what features are on the Odd Fellows Tract, near the proposed quarry in Umstead State Park, on RDU Airport Managed land including 286 and Lake Crabtree County Park.


Properties protected under DOT Section 4(f) include:

  • Parks and recreational areas of national, state, or local significance that are both publicly owned and open to the public.
  • Publicly owned wildlife and waterfowl refuges of national, state, or local significance that are open to the public.
  • Historic sites of national state, or local significance in public or private ownership regardless of whether they are open to the public.

Note: SaveRDUForest volunteers found some historic information about Foxcroft Lake on the Odd Fellows Tract. The East Coast Greenway is of national significance and will be impacted by two driveways into the proposed quarry site, and hazards from logging and bridge building trucks. The Odd Fellows Tract has been used by the Boy Scouts for generations as a camp, and has been used by Orienteering clubs as well.

The William B. Umstead State Park and other areas designated as park, open space, surface water, and greenways comprise park/open space properties surrounding the Airport. Master Plan Study projects were identified in Tables 7-1 and 7-2 as potentially affecting a Section 4(f) resource if the footprint of a Master Plan Study project would involve a physical use of a park or other property protected under DOT Section 4(f) (e.g., purchase of land or a permanent easement or physical occupation of the property) or a constructive use of a protected property. A constructive use of a property protected under Section 4(f) would occur if secondary project effects, such as noise, air quality, or water quality, would substantially diminish the activities, features, or attributes that contribute to the significance or enjoyment of the resource. Several landside improvement, roadway improvement, and support projects would occur adjacent to park properties along the Airport boundary and were identified as projects that need further analysis to determine if a constructive use of a park could occur Future environmental reviews under NEPA would need to document whether the affected properties are protected under DOT Section 4(f) as part of the assessment of potential effects.

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