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Pacific Northwest Region
Boise, Idaho
Media Contact:
Diana Cross
(208) 378-5020
Bill Gray
(509) 754-0214

Released On: September 02, 2008

Reclamation and Ecology Host Public Meetings for Odessa Subarea Special Study
The Bureau of Reclamation and Washington State Department of Ecology will hold two public scoping meetings for the Odessa Subarea Special Study. Ecology is a joint lead with Reclamation in the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement that will satisfy the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Washington State Environmental Policy Act.

The purpose of the study is to evaluate alternatives that would deliver surface water from the Columbia Basin Project to replace current groundwater use for irrigation in the Odessa Ground Water Management Subarea. Continued declines of aquifers in the Odessa Subarea place well production and farmers' ability to irrigate crops at risk and could cause significant economic loss to the region.

The purpose of the scoping meetings is to give the public the opportunity to identify issues and concerns associated with the alternatives proposed for study, and to identify other potential alternatives that could be considered in the EIS.

Scoping meetings will be held:

" September 10, 7:00  9:00 p.m., Town of Coulee Dam Town Hall, 300 Lincoln Avenue, Coulee Dam WA 99116. " September 11, 7:00  9:00 p.m., the Advanced Technologies Education Center (ATEC), Big Bend Community College, 7611 Bolling Street NE, Moses Lake WA 98837.

The study fulfills the obligation Reclamation made in a Memorandum of Agreement between the State of Washington and Columbia Basin Project irrigation districts in December 2004 to cooperatively study opportunities for delivery of Columbia Basin Project water to existing groundwater-irrigated lands within the Odessa Subarea.

A Notice of Intent to Prepare an EIS was published in the Federal Register on August 21, 2008. In addition to comments received at the scoping meetings, written comments will be accepted through September 19, and may be submitted to Bureau of Reclamation, Pacific Northwest Regional Office, Attention: Ellen Berggren, Study Manager, 1150 North Curtis Road, Suite 100, Boise ID 83706. Telephone (208) 378- 5090. Comments may also be submitted electronically to 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 Jennifer McConnell at (509) 754-0202 by September 5.

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 more information about the study, including past reports and study updates, please go to: http://www.usbr.gov/pn/programs/ucao_misc/odessa/index.html.

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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.