Bureau of Reclamation Banner
Pacific Northwest Region
Boise, Idaho
Media Contact:
John Redding
(208) 378-5212
Jim Blanchard
(509) 754-0226

Released On: March 06, 2003

Comment Period Extended for Banks Lake Draft Environmental Impact Statement
The Bureau of Reclamation has announced the public comment period for the Banks Lake Drawdown Draft Environmental Impact Statement is extended to April 11 at the request of the public.

The Draft EIS is available online at www.pn.usbr.gov. Copies are also available for public review and inspection at Reclamation offices and local area libraries. A printed copy of the Draft EIS, a compact disk (CD-ROM with reader included) or a summary of the Draft EIS may be obtained by contacting Jim Blanchard at (509) 754-0226.

Written comments should be submitted to be received by April 11, to Mr. Jim Blanchard, Special Projects Officer, Bureau of Reclamation, 32 C Street, PO Box 815, Ephrata WA 98823-0815; or by fax (509) 754-0239, or by email jblanchard@pn.usbr.gov. For information, telephone (509) 754-0226.

Public hearings to accept oral comments on the Draft EIS were held February 11, in Coulee City and February 12, in Moses Lake, Washington.

BACKGROUND:

Since its creation in the early 1950s, Banks Lake has been operated and maintained for the storage and delivery of irrigation water, drawn from the Columbia River, to Columbia Basin Project lands. Reclamation operates the reservoir within established constraints on water surface elevation to meet contractual obligations, ensure public safety, and protect property. Reclamation considers other resource needs as feasible within existing operational constraints.

In December of 2000, the National Marine Fisheries Service issued a Biological Opinion to the Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Bonneville Power Administration for the operation of the Federal Columbia River Power System. The BIOP included a Reasonable and Prudent Alternative, of which Action 31 advised Reclamation to assess the likely environmental effects of operation of Banks Lake up to 10 feet down from full pool during August.

Reclamation proposes to complete RPA Action 31 by preparing the Banks Lake Drawdown Draft Environmental Impact Statement to describe and analyze the environmental effects of lowering the August surface elevation of Banks Lake to elevation 1560 feet, which is 10 feet below full pool.

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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.