Document for Anadromous Fish Habitat Improvement in Idaho Now Available

Media Contact: Joe Spinazola, (208) 334-9856

For Release: June 06, 2003

An environmental document for implementing anadromous fish habitat improvement measures in the Lemhi, Upper Salmon, Little Salmon, and Middle Fork Clearwater river basins is now available, according to the Bureau of Reclamation. The document only covers work which would be completed by Reclamation working with willing landowners.

The Programmatic Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact also describes the affected environment and environmental consequences associated with the projects, consultation and coordination, and environmental commitments. The analysis was completed to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act and to facilitate implementation of requirements of a Biological Opinion on the operation of the Federal Columbia River Power System.

The document describes the types of stream flow, fish passage barrier, and fish screen projects that may be implemented under the program in the Lemhi, Upper Salmon, Little Salmon, and Middle Fork Clearwater river basins. All projects would be completed with willing landowners on private land in accordance with existing Idaho State law. Completed projects would be owned by the private landowner, who also would be responsible for their continued operation and maintenance.

The Biological Opinion, issued in 2000 to Reclamation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Bonneville Power Administration, was a result of a joint consultation with NOAA Fisheries on the operation of dams and reservoirs on the Columbia River. The Biological Opinion obligates the three agencies to complete certain actions intended to avoid jeopardy to the continued survival of endangered salmon and steelhead.

Stream flow projects are intended to provide adequate stream flow for the upstream migration of adults, juvenile rearing, and downstream migration of smolts. Fish screen projects are intended to protect both upstream and downstream migrating anadromous fish from being diverted from the river. Fish passage barrier projects are intended to remove or replace some physical obstacles related to water diversions, such as gravel push-up dams, that prevent or inhibit fish migration.

The FONSI provides a summary of the Environmental Assessment and concludes that implementation of the habitat improvement program is expected to provide long-term benefits to ESA-listed and other anadromous and resident fish.

Copies of Finding of No Significant Impact and Programmatic Environmental Assessment for Implementing Fish Habitat Improvement Measures in Four Mountain Snake Province Subbasins can be obtained on the internet at or by contacting Joe Spinazola at 214 Broadway, Boise ID 83702, calling (208) 334-9856.

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