Bureau of Reclamation Banner
Great Plains Region
Billings, Mont.
Media Contact:
Buck Feist
(406) 247-7610
Mark Andersen
(406) 247-7610

Released On: March 05, 2004

Reclamation to Host Public Meetings about Proposed Canyon Ferry Contract Renewals
HELENA, Mont. -- The Bureau of Reclamation has scheduled public scoping sessions in Townsend and Helena pertaining to the proposed renewal of long-term water contracts with Helena Valley Irrigation District, Toston Irrigation District, and City of Helena .

To identify potential environmental impacts related to the proposed contract renewals, Reclamation will prepare an environmental assessment in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Reclamation is hosting these initial scoping meetings as part of the NEPA process, with the goal of informing the public about the proposed action, and soliciting written comments.

The Townsend meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 16, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at Broadwater High School , 201 North Spruce. The next meeting is scheduled in Helena for the following afternoon, Wednesday, March 17, from 3:30 to 9 p.m. at the Red Lion Colonial Hotel, 2301 Colonial Drive . Reclamation is also hosting a third meeting in Helena on Tuesday, March 30 for members of the public unable to attend either of the first two meetings. This open-house will run from 3:30 to 9 p.m. at the Montana Association of Counties Conference Center, 2715 Skyway Drive.

Public involvement is crucial to NEPA and aids the agency in accumulating existing information, determining the range of significant issues, developing alternatives, and completing the decision-making process. At these meetings guests will have the opportunity to speak directly with Reclamation specialists at information stations arranged around the room. Due to the open-house format, Reclamation staffers will be unable to accept oral comments, but written comment forms will be provided at each station, and can be left at the registration table.

The Bureau of Reclamation has also created a Web site to inform the public about issues and activities related to the proposed Canyon Ferry contract renewals. The site, www.usbr.gov/gp/mtao/canyonferry/ , provides background data, as well as updated news on public meetings, comment periods, and other related events. Users can also submit questions to the agency, submit written comments, or sign-up on the project mailing list to receive periodic information about the proposed contract renewals. For more information, please contact Buck Feist, 406-247-7610.

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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.