Open House Scheduled to Receive Comment on Environmental Assessment for Laguna Dam Restoration Project

Media Contact: Jack Simes, 928-343-8334

For Release: September 12, 2005

On Thursday, September 22, the Bureau of Reclamation will host an open house to provide information about and seek public input on an Environmental Assessment for the Laguna Restoration Project.

The open house will be from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the Cocopah Conference Room at the Yuma Crossing State Historic Park, 201 North Fourth Avenue in Yuma. Reclamation staff will make a presentation on the project at 6:30 p.m. Information about the project, and about existing site conditions in the area that would be affected by it (e.g., land uses, biological and cultural resources), will also be available. Reclamation staff will be available to accept comments or answer questions throughout the meeting. The facilities are accessible to people with disabilities.

The purpose of the project is to remove more than two million cubic yards of sediment from the reservoir behind Laguna Dam. This will restore about 1100 acre-feet of water storage capacity in the reservoir, providing greater flexibility for sluicing operations at Imperial Dam. Removal of the sediment is scheduled to begin in March 2006 and last approximately 2 years.

The open house will provide an opportunity for interested parties to comment on the scope of the issues to be addressed in the EA. The EA, a National Environmental Policy Act compliance document being prepared for the project, integrates consideration of environmental values into planning and decision making. A draft EA is expected to be available for public review and comment in December.

Reclamation also will accept written comments on the scope of the EA. Comments can be mailed or faxed to Ms. Kimberly Garvey, at the Bureau of Reclamation, Yuma Area Office, 7301 Calle Agua Salada, Yuma, AZ 85364; or at 928-343-8320, respectively. Comments must be received by October 21, 2005. (Si decea atender la junta y necesita un interprete en Espanol, por favor llame a Sr. Sal Teposte al 928-343-8201.)

Laguna Dam is located 13 miles northeast of Yuma, and about five miles downstream from Imperial Dam. Completed in 1909, Laguna is the oldest dam on the Colorado River. Its original purpose was to divert Colorado River water to Yuma area projects. This function is now performed by Imperial Dam, and Laguna Dam now serves primarily as a regulating structure for Imperial Dam sluicing operations.

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