Reclamation and Ecology Host Scoping Meetings for Integrated Water Resource Management Plan
Media Contact: John Redding, (208) 378-5212
Candace McKinley, (509) 575-5848 ext. 232
For Release: April 06, 2011
The Bureau of Reclamation and Washington State Department of Ecology will conduct public scoping meetings next month for a combined Planning Report/Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PR/PEIS) for an integrated water resource management plan under the Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Project (YRBWEP).
The combined open houses/scoping meetings will be held from 1:30-3:30 p.m.; and from 5:00-7:00 p.m. on the following dates:
May 3: Hal Holmes Center, 209 North Ruby Street, Ellensburg, Wash. May 5: Yakima Area Arboretum, 1401 Arboretum Way, Yakima, Wash.
Ecology is joint lead with Reclamation in the preparation of the PR/PEIS that will satisfy the requirements of both the National Environmental Policy Act and the Washington State Environmental Policy Act.
The scoping meetings will give the public and agencies the opportunity to identify issues and concerns associated with the proposed Integrated Plan and to identify other potential alternatives that could be considered in the EIS.
During the past 18 months, Reclamation and Ecology have led the basinwide YRBWEP Workgroup and Yakima River Basin Study to develop a well-defined set of strategies for resolving water supply and streamflow imbalances, as well as ecosystem restoration enhancements. This effort has resulted in a proposed Integrated Plan for the Yakima basin.
The Integrated Plan includes seven elements:
Fish Passage at existing reservoirs; structural and operational changes to existing facilities; new or expanded storage reservoirs; groundwater storage; fish habitat enhancements; enhanced conservation; and market-based reallocation of water resources. Additional information about these efforts can be found at: http://www.usbr.gov/pn/programs/yrbwep/index.html.
A draft PR/PEIS is expected to be issued in winter of 2011, followed by an opportunity for public and agency review and comment. The final PR/PEIS is anticipated for completion in spring of 2012.
The meeting facilities are physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation for the hearing impaired or other special assistance needs should be submitted to Ms. Candace McKinley, Bureau of Reclamation, Environmental Program Manager, 1917 Marsh Road, Yakima WA 98901-2058, (509)-575-5848, extension 232; or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, by April 26, 2011.
Reclamation published a Notice of Intent to prepare a combined PR/PEIS in the Federal Register, and Ecology published a Determination of Significance in local newspapers concurrent with the release of the Notice of Intent.
In addition to comments received at the scoping meetings, written comments will be accepted through May 19, 2011. Please submit comments to Ms. McKinley using the contact information noted above. For additional information or questions, please call (509) 575-5848, ext. 613.
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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.