Release of Draft EA for Lower Deer Flat Dam Embankment Security Enhancements

Media Contact: John Redding, (208) 378-5212
Steve Dunn, (208) 383-2222

For Release: December 18, 2009

The Bureau of Reclamation is seeking public review and comment on the Deer Flat Dam Lower Embankment Security Enhancement Draft Environmental Assessment (Draft EA) which documents the environmental effects of alternatives to correct security vulnerabilities related to motor vehicles traveling across the crest of the Lower Embankment located southwest of Nampa, Idaho.

The impacts of each alternative were evaluated considering specific issues of public concern, including transportation and access, socioeconomics, noise, cultural resources, water quality, vegetation, fish and wildlife, threatened and endangered species, recreation, Indian Trust Assets, and cumulative impacts.

The Lower Embankment is one of four zoned-earthfill embankments, collectively called the Deer Flat Dams that impound Lake Lowell. The embankments were constructed from 1906 to 1911 by Reclamation and make up part of the Boise Project, Arrowrock Division.

An in-depth security assessment of Reclamation facilities and a full-scale evaluation of potential vulnerabilities was completed in response to the attacks of September 11, 2001. Reclamation's Safety, Security, and Law Enforcement Office identified vulnerabilities at a number of Reclamation dams, including the Deer Flat Dams. The studies determined that motor vehicles traveling across the crest of the Lower Embankment on Riverside Road pose a threat to security and public safety from an explosion which could compromise the dam's structural integrity.

Alternatives outlined in the Draft Environmental Assessment include:

- Alternative A - No Action, the future without the project - Alternative B - Close dam crest and re-route traffic to other county roads - Alternative C - Close dam crest and construct a new Riverside road on the downstream toe of the dam - Alternative D - Close dam crest and construct a new Riverside road 700 feet downstream - Alternative E - Widen the down-stream dam crest (No roadway modification) Reclamation officials will present an overview of the project at an open house requested by the Canyon County Commissioners and Canyon Highway District No. 4. The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, January 27, at 5:30 p.m. in the public meeting room at the Canyon County Offices at 1115 Albany Street, in Caldwell, Idaho.

The meeting facilities are accessible to people with disabilities. Please direct requests for sign language interpretation for the hearing impaired, or other auxiliary aids, to Steve Dunn at (208) 383-2222, as soon as possible prior to the meeting.

"Reclamation welcomes written comments on the Draft EA from the public and local agencies. We believe the alternatives represent a good balance between protecting the dam and providing a viable transportation route for the people of Canyon County," said Area Manger Jerrold Gregg.

Comments on the Draft EA are due February 15, 2010. For more information, or a copy of the Draft EA, contact Steve Dunn, Middle Snake Field Office 230 Collins Road, Boise ID 83702-4520 or call (208) 383-2222. A review copy of the Draft EA will also be available at several public libraries in Idaho, and it is posted at:

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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 and follow us on Twitter @USBR.

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