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Pacific Northwest Region
Boise, Idaho
Media Contact:
Annette Ross
(208) 378-5322
Candace McKinley
(509) 575-5848 ext. 232

Released On: November 06, 2013

Reclamation and Ecology to Host Scoping Meetings for Proposed Cle Elum, Kachess and Keechelus Projects
YAKIMA, Wash. - The Bureau of Reclamation and Washington State Department of Ecology's Office of Columbia River will conduct joint public scoping meetings this month for two environmental impact statements (EISs) - one for the proposed Cle Elum Pool Raise, and one for the Kachess Reservoir Inactive Storage and Keechelus-to-Kachess Conveyance Projects - three components of the Yakima River Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan (Integrated 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 5-7 p.m. on the following dates and locations:

  • Nov. 20, 2013 - Yakima Area Arboretum, 1401 Arboretum Way, Yakima, WA
  • Nov. 21, 2013 - U.S. Forest Service Cle Elum Ranger District, 803 W. 2nd Street, Cle Elum, WA
Ecology is joint lead with Reclamation in the preparation of the EISs, and they 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 projects and to identify other potential alternatives that could be considered in the EISs.

Reclamation and Ecology have led the basinwide YRBWEP Workgroup since 2009 to develop a well-defined set of strategies for resolving water supply and streamflow imbalances, as well as ecosystem restoration enhancements. This effort resulted in a final programmatic EIS for the Integrated Plan for the Yakima basin in 2012, and Reclamation issued a Record of Decision in 2013.

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; habitat/watershed protection and enhancement; enhanced water 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.

The draft EISs are expected to be issued in the summer of 2014, followed by an opportunity for public and agency review and comment. The final EISs are anticipated to be completed in the spring of 2015.

The meeting facilities are physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation for the hearing impaired or other special assistance should be mailed to the Bureau of Reclamation, Ms. Candace McKinley, Environmental Program Manager, 1917 Marsh Road, Yakima, WA 98901-2058; (509)575-5848, ext. 232 or by email to yrbwep@usbr.gov, by Nov. 12, 2013.

Reclamation published a Notice of Intent to prepare the EISs 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 also be accepted through Dec. 16, 2013. Comments should be submitted to Ms. McKinley using the contact information 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.