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Pacific Northwest Region
Boise, Idaho
Media Contact:
Chris Ketchum
(208) 678-0461 ext 34
Patti Llewellyn
(208) 378-5310

Released On: April 07, 2004

Minidoka Northside Draft Environmental Assessment Released
The Bureau of Reclamation recently released for public review and comment the Draft Environmental Assessment for its Resource Management Plan for their Minidoka North Side area lands. The RMP will serve as a blueprint for the future use and management of federal lands and resources over the next 15 years. To invite public comment on the Draft Environmental Assessment, Reclamation is holding a Public Meeting Workshop.

The public meeting and workshop is set for April 22, from 7:00-9:00 p.m. at the Burley Inn, 800 North Overland Avenue, Burley, Idaho to invite public comment and answer questions.

The main purpose of the Draft EA is to evaluate the potential environmental impacts associated with implementing the Minidoka North Side RMP which is designed to ensure adequate management of resources, facilities, and access on Reclamation lands and waters in the study area.

These lands include 119 scattered parcels covering approximately 17,700 acres. The RMP will serve as a blueprint for the future protection, use, management, and site development of Reclamation lands and resources in the Minidoka North Side area for the next 15 years. In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, Reclamation has examined a range of alternatives to implement the RMP, including a "No Action Alternative".

Background

Minidoka Dam was Reclamation's first project in Idaho, with construction completed in 1909. Congress designated its authorization to include irrigation and power generation, and the dam itself was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. Minidoka Dam impounds Lake Walcott, one of five reservoirs associated within the larger Minidoka Project on the Snake River. Reclamation began the 2-year process of preparing the RMP for the Minidoka North Side Lands in 2002. The RMP will provide the direction needed to guide the future use and management of the North Side lands for the next 15 years.

Lake Walcott State Park is located on Reclamation property adjacent to the reservoir, and Reclamation is coordinating its RMP closely with the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation for future planning related to the park lands. IDPR is Reclamation's managing partner at Lake Walcott State Park. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages the reservoir water surface and lands on the adjacent Minidoka National Wildlife Refuge, which are outside the scope of the RMP.

The Public Meeting/Workshop

The meeting will be conducted in facilities that meet the accessibility requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Those requiring special accommodations to participate may contact Pam Brown, Recreation Specialist, at (208) 678-0461, at least one week in advance so arrangements can be made. TDD # (800) 833-6388.

For More Information

Digital (CD ROM) or paper copies of the Draft EA can be ordered directly from Reclamation at the contact listed below, or accessed via Reclamation's website. The document is also available for review at the main public libraries in Burley and Rupert, as well as at Reclamation's offices in both Burley and Boise.

Copies of the Newsbrief and Draft EA can be obtained by contacting: Chris Ketchum, Bureau of Reclamation, 1359 Hansen Ave., Burley, Idaho 83318. Phone: (208) 678-0461 ext 34 or by e-mail.

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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.