Public Comment Sought on Lucky Peak Reservoir Water

Media Contact: John Redding, (208) 378-5212
Steve Dunn , (208) 383-2222

For Release: December 22, 2003

The Bureau of Reclamation is seeking public comment on a Draft Environmental Assessment for its proposal to renew the Lucky Peak Reservoir water service contracts or convert the contracts to repayment contracts.

Out of a total reservoir storage capacity of approximately 293,000 acre-feet, approximately 71,000 acre-feet of water is allocated to the 19 water service contracts currently held irrigation contractors. The original contracts were signed between 1965 and 1968, each with a term of 40 years. Therefore, these contracts are due to expire between 2005 and 2008, depending on the date of each original contract.

Lucky Peak Reservoir is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoir impounded by Lucky Peak Dam which was constructed in the late 1950s for flood control and other purposes. The reservoir is located six miles north-east of Boise, Idaho, on the Boise River.

According to Federal Reclamation law, and an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Reclamation has the authority to enter into irrigation contracts aimed at making some of the reservoir water available to qualifying entities for supplemental irrigation supplies.

These contracts can be renewed as water service contracts or converted to repayment contracts at the request of the contractor. All contractors have requested that the contracts be converted to repayment contracts for their current storage amount.

Water Service Contracts: Water service contracts provide irrigation entities with the right to a quantity of water in exchange for payment of a percentage of applicable reservoir capital, operation, and maintenance costs. They expire after a specific time period, but may be renewed.

Repayment Contracts: Repayment contracts provide irrigation entities with the right to a quantity of water in exchange for payment of a percentage of applicable reservoir capital, operation, and maintenance costs. However, repayment contracts have a specific time period for repayment of project construction costs with no expiration date of the contract.

The purpose of the proposed action for this project is to continue to provide current Lucky Peak contractors with a supplemental irrigation water supply up to the amounts specified in their original contracts.

The National Environmental Policy Act requires Reclamation to evaluate the impacts of this proposed action on the human and natural environments. The Draft Environmental Assessment analyzes the environmental impacts of a Preferred Alternative, which would convert each contract to a permanent repayment contract for the currently contracted amount, a second action alternative which would convert each contract to a repayment contract, but for a lesser amount for some contractors based on highest annual delivery of stored water in past years, and a No Action alternative required by the National Environmental Policy Act which assumes the water service contracts would be continued under present terms.

To obtain a copy of the Draft Environmental Assessment contact Steve Dunn at (208) 383-2222.

Comments on the Draft Environmental Assessment will be accepted until February 6, 2004. Written comments should be sent to Bureau of Reclamation, Snake River Area Office, Attn: Steve Dunn, 230 Collins Road, Boise ID 83702.

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