Comment Sought On Bank Stabilization To Protect Fort Hall National Historic Landmark

Media Contact: Diana Cross, (208) 378-5020
Robert L. "Hap" Boyer, (208) 678-0461 ext. 15

For Release: September 13, 2005

The Bureau of Reclamation, in conjunction with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, are considering proposals to stabilize the Snake River stream channel near the Fort Hall National Historic Landmark to protect the site from erosion. The landmark, located on Tribal and Reclamation land, is about two miles upstream from American Falls Reservoir and is protected under the National Historic Preservation Act for its cultural and historic significance.

The proposed stabilization project would use vegetative planting with engineered improvements such as stone barriers or stone spurs to eliminate stream bank damage in the river channel. For several years the Tribes and federal agencies have worked together to seek long term solutions to stabilize the eroded bank. In 2002, the area was studied to determine the causes of historic and current bank erosion.

The National Environmental Policy Act requires Reclamation and the BIA to evaluate the impacts of this proposed action on the human and natural environment. Reclamation is planning to write an Environmental Assessment and has invited both BIA and the Tribes to be cooperators. Reclamation will include information and analysis to comply with Section 106 of the National Historic Protection Act in the EA.

"Federal agencies are required to follow several environmental laws before any construction starts. Completing the NEPA process will help Reclamation, the Fort Hall Business Council, and the Tribal Land Use Commission understand the environmental consequences of the proposals," said Chris Ketchum, Deputy Area Manager of the Snake River Area Office. "After all," he said, "the Business Council would have to give us permission to work on Tribal lands before Reclamation could proceed with any construction activities."

Reclamation is asking individuals to help identify issues and concerns. Send your written comments on this proposal to: Robert L. "Hap" Boyer, Bureau of Reclamation, Snake River Area Office, 1359 Hansen Avenue, Burley, Idaho 83318-1821 by October 7.

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