Draft Programmatic EIS for Yakima River Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan Released

Media Contact: John Redding, (208) 378-5212
Joye Redfield-Wilder, (509) 575-2610

For Release: November 16, 2011

The Bureau of Reclamation and Washington State Department of Ecology today released a Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for the Yakima River Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan (Integrated Plan) for public comment.

The Draft PEIS evaluates two alternatives to meet the water supply and ecosystem restoration needs in the Yakima River basin identified as the No Action Alternative, and the Yakima River Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan Alternative. A preferred alternative has not been identified.

The Integrated Plan's seven elements include: reservoir fish passage; structural and operational changes to existing facilities; surface water storage; groundwater storage; habitat/watershed protection and enhancement; enhanced water conservation; and market-based reallocation of water resources.

The Draft PEIS satisfies National Environmental Policy Act and the Washington State Environmental Policy Act requirements. The Draft PEIS will be formally filed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on November 18, 2011. Comments may be submitted by phone, email, fax, or regular postal mail until January 3, 2012. Oral comments may be presented at one of six public meetings from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., and 5 to 7 p.m. at the following locations:

December 5, 2011 U.S. Forest Service Ranger Station 803 W. 2nd Street Cle Elum, WA 98922

December 6, 2011 Hal Holmes Center 209 N. Ruby Street Ellensburg, WA 98926

December 14, 2011 Yakima Arboretum 1401 Arboretum Drive Yakima, WA 98901

Questions or comments on the Integrated Plan Draft PEIS may be sent to yrbwep@usbr.gov or by mail to the Bureau of Reclamation, Attn: Ms. Candace McKinley, Environmental Program Manager, at 1917 Marsh Road, Yakima, Washington, 98901; (509) 575-5848, ext. 613; Fax: (509) 454-5650. Hearing impaired citizens may dial 711 to obtain a toll free TTY relay. Reclamation and Ecology offices and local libraries will have copies available for viewing. Or simply view online at: http://www.usbr.gov/pn/programs/yrbwep/2011integratedplan/index.html .

The public meeting facilities are physically accessible to persons with disabilities. Requests for special assistance should be made by November 28 to Ms. McKinley at the contact information above.

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