Reclamation to Hold Open House for the Odessa Subarea Special Study in Eastern Washington

Media Contact: Diana Cross, (208) 378-5020
Bill Gray, (509) 754-0214

For Release: February 03, 2006

The Bureau of Reclamation will hold a public open house to provide information about the Odessa Subarea Special Study on February 22 at Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake, Washington.

The open house will be held in the Advanced Technologies Education Center located at 7611 Boling Street. The public may attend the open house between the hours of 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. or 5:00 - 8:00 p.m.

The public will have an opportunity to learn about the study process, requirements, schedule, and related technical studies while also providing feedback and suggestions.

"The purpose of this meeting is to explain the scope of Reclamation's study," said Bill Gray, Deputy Area Manager. "Our study managers and technical specialists will be available to listen to the public's concerns and ideas and answer questions."

The Odessa Subarea Special Study will investigate the possibility of continuing development of the Columbia Basin Project to deliver project water to lands currently using groundwater in the Odessa Subarea. The declining aquifer is impacting the ability of some farmers to irrigate crops and it presents potential risk to domestic, commercial, municipal, and industrial water uses.

In response to public concern about the declining aquifer and related economic impacts, Congress funded Reclamation to investigate the issue. The state is also a cooperative partner and providing funding while also collaborating on various technical studies.

Reclamation will prepare an environmental impact statement and a planning report documenting the study process and analysis. The analysis will include an evaluation of the financial and economic feasibility of alternatives. Consultation under the Endangered Species Act will also be required.

The Columbia Basin Project, located in central Washington, was authorized for the irrigation of 1,029,000 acres. Currently, the Project serves about 671,000 acres in four eastern

Washington counties. The multi-purpose project provides irrigation, power production, flood control, municipal water supply, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. For additional information contact the study manager, Ellen Berggren at (208) 378-5090 or studymanager@pn.usbr.gov.

The meeting facilities are physically accessible to people with disabilities. Please direct requests for sign language interpretation for the hearing impaired, or other auxiliary aids, to Connie Nicolai at (509) 754-0215 by February 15.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at www.usbr.gov and follow us on Twitter @USBR.