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Pacific Northwest Region
Boise, Idaho
Media Contact:
John Redding
(208) 378-5212

Released On: July 01, 2003

Reclamation Releases Draft Environmental Assessment
The Bureau of Reclamation, Lower Columbia Area Office, has opened a 30-day public review and comment period on the Draft Environmental Assessment for the Tyler Creek Wasteway Stabilization. The wasteway is a bypass channel used to convey irrigation water from Keene Creek Reservoir to Ashland Lateral and Emigrant Lake when Green Springs Powerplant is out of service for maintenance or repairs. This natural channel extends from the wasteways pipe outlet downstream to where Tyler Creek enters Emigrant Creek. The wasteway is located in the Talent Division of the Rogue River Basin Project in Jackson County, Oregon.

The Draft EAs main purpose is to evaluate the potential environmental impacts associated with a proposed federal action to upgrade access to the wasteway and stabilize localized areas of the wasteway channel between the pipe outlet and where Tyler Creek enters Emigrant Creek.

Reclamation has examined a range of alternatives, including a No Action alternative, in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act.

Background

Reclamation's responsibilities include maintaining its facilities, meeting water delivery obligations, and evaluating environmental effects in accordance with NEPA.

Routine powerplant maintenance is typically done outside the irrigation season. In the event of a powerplant equipment malfunction during the irrigation season, water can only be diverted through Tyler Creek wasteway to meet water delivery obligations. Reclamation has diverted water through the wasteway about five times since 1960.

The duration of wasteway use depends upon how long it takes to make repairs to the powerplant. In 1993, when a generator maintenance procedure that started prior to irrigation season took several months to complete, irrigation water was delivered through the wasteway for the entire irrigation season.

Although the 1993 water volume diverted through the wasteway was limited to downstream water delivery obligations, the extended use of the wasteway eroded the channel, exceeded its capacity in some locations, and damaged property outside Reclamation's rights-of-way.

Several wasteway areas within and outside Reclamation's rights-of-way require attention to correct existing localized wasteway bank damage and to minimize or prevent further bank degradation. Also, access to the wasteway needs upgrading to provide for future maintenance of the wasteway.

For More Information:

Written comments should be submitted by close of business on August 4, 2003, via either: U.S. mail to Bureau of Reclamation, LCAO-6101, Lower Columbia Area Office, 825 NE Multnomah Street, Suite 1110, Portland OR 97232-2135 or E-mail to tsommer@pn.usbr.gov. Copies of the Draft EA can also be obtained at the same address.

The Draft EA is also available for review at the main public libraries in Ashland, Central Point, Eagle Point, Grants Pass, Jacksonville, Medford, Talent, and White City as well as at Reclamations Lower Columbia Area Office in Portland.

The Draft EA, along with a separately bound Geology Appendix containing two geologic and geotechnical studies performed by Reclamation following the 1993 wasteway use, is available for public review at website: www.usbr.gov/pn/.

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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.