Newsroom Channel Reclamation Newsroom Channel Reclamation Releases Final Environmental Documents for the Third Hydroelectric Unit Project at Black Canyon Dam
EMMETT, Idaho – The Bureau of Reclamation has prepared a Final Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for the construction of a third hydroelectric generating unit at Black Canyon Diversion Dam on the Payette River near Emmett, Idaho. <P> In October 2011, Reclamation completed an Environmental Assessment and signed a Finding of No Significant Impact. After geological testing was conducted in 2012 and 2013, Reclamation developed a new Environmental Assessment that evaluated additional environmental information. This 2016 document supersedes the 2011 Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact. <P> The Final Environmental Assessment analyzes a proposal to construct a 12.5 megawatt hydroelectric generating unit, which is expected to generate 105 million kilowatt-hours per year, enough to power about 9,500 homes. The power produced will be integrated into the power grid and serve 10 irrigation districts in southern Idaho and eastern Oregon, as well as the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. <P> Along with the construction of a new powerplant, the Final Environmental Assessment also analyzes: <ul> <li>installation of a new penstock, intake structure, trash rake and trash racks;</li> <li>replacement and relocation of the switchyard and powerlines to address personnel and equipment safety concerns;</li> <li>replacement of the existing administration building which will be displaced by the new hydroelectric unit; and,</li> <li>control upgrades for the two existing hydroelectric units.</li> </ul> <P> Based upon the analysis of environmental impacts as described in the Final Environmental Assessment, Reclamation prepared a Finding of No Significant Impact selecting Alternative B, the Proposed Action, under which Reclamation will construct a 12.5 MW third hydroelectric generating unit at Black Canyon Diversion Dam. <P> The Final Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact is available for download at <a href=""></a>. Request print copies or a CD-ROM version of the report by contacting Richard Jackson at (208) 383-2285 or email <P> Reclamation Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Increase in Discharge from Sorrento Lactalis Plant
BOISE, Idaho - The Bureau of Reclamation is seeking public comment on a Draft Environmental Assessment to evaluate the impacts of a proposed increase in wastewater flows from the Sorrento Lactalis dairy products facility in Nampa, Idaho. <P> Sorrento is proposing to increase production at the Nampa facility over the next several years. This growth in production will increase the plant's wastewater flows from 1.2 cubic-feet-per-second to approximately 4.5 cfs. Sorrento has submitted an application to Reclamation to accommodate this increase in discharge from its treatment plant. <P> Sorrento's wastewater flows into the Purdam Drain next to its Nampa facility. From the Purdam Drain, the discharge flows down Mason Creek to the Boise River. With the exception of a short segment immediately downstream of the Sorrento facility, this drainage route is under Reclamation jurisdiction. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has regulatory responsibility for the water quality of the discharges under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit process. <P> The Draft Environmental Assessment evaluates the impacts of the proposed alternatives on the natural and human environment. Download the Draft Environmental Assessment at <a href=""></a>. <P> Please send written comments no later than July 18, 2016, to Richard Jackson, natural resource specialist, Bureau of Reclamation, Snake River Area Office, 230 Collins Road, Boise, ID 83702 or by email at <P> David Mabe Named Deputy Regional Director for Reclamation's Pacific Northwest Region
BOISE, Idaho – Regional Director Lorri Lee has selected David Mabe as the new Deputy Regional Director for Natural Resources and External Affairs in Reclamation's Pacific Northwest Region. Mabe started his new position May 29, replacing Tim Personius who retired. <P> "David will be a great asset to the Reclamation team here in Boise," said Lee. "His level of experience and knowledge about environmental issues in Idaho and throughout the Pacific Northwest will greatly benefit the region's stakeholders, and support Reclamation's mission of delivering water and power in an economically and environmentally sound manner." <P> For the past 17 years, David has worked for NOAA Fisheries as the Snake River Basin director and at the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality as the administrator of water programs for Idaho. <P> Before his government service, David worked as a governmental affairs representative in the agriculture, forestry, and oil and gas industries, focusing primarily on environmental and natural resource issues. <P> Mabe has a bachelor's degree from the University of Idaho in Animal Science & Agribusiness. <P> Download a photo at <a href=""></a>. <P> <P> Yakima Basin Water Supply June Forecast
YAKIMA, Washington - The Bureau of Reclamation’s June 2016 Total Water Supply Available forecast for the Yakima Basin indicates a full water supply for senior water rights during the 2016 irrigation season, but an estimated 86 percent supply for junior water rights. <P> "May's precipitation was much better than April, but still below average," said Chuck Garner, Yakima Project River Operations supervisor. "While snow pack is nearly gone, our reservoirs are essentially full." <P> Reclamation will provide water supply forecasts monthly through July. Specific water delivery levels will not be determined until later in the year after reservoir storage begins to decline. <P> This forecast is based on flows, precipitation, snowpack, and reservoir storage as of June 1, along with estimates of future precipitation and river flows. Other future weather conditions that determine the timing of the run-off and the demand for water are also critical in determining streamflow, prorationing, and the extent to which the reservoirs fill. <P> "Natural runoff, summer weather, and irrigation demands are still important unknown factors that can influence streamflow levels and the carry-over storage at the end of the season," Garner said. <P> In the event that spring precipitation and runoff are unfavorable, the water supply available for junior users could decline. Since longer term weather conditions are unpredictable, Garner recommends that water conservation be considered by all users in the Yakima Basin. <P> For more information, visit our website at <a href=" "></a> <P> <P> <P> Reclamation to Temporarily Close One Lane on Highway 39 for Maintenance Work
AMERICAN FALLS, Idaho - The Bureau of Reclamation will temporarily close one of the Highway 39 northbound lanes on American Falls Dam, to perform crane work to lift and replace a bulkhead gate on the dam. Traffic restrictions will occur sometime after the Fourth of July, weather permitting. <P> Traffic delays will be intermittent between 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., as crews use a crane to move the bulkhead gate. <P> "The temporary lane closure should not have a significant impact to daily traffic, however, oversize loads will not have enough room to cross while the work is being conducted," said Keith Brooks, civil engineer with the Upper Snake Field Office. "Normal traffic use will resume as soon as the work is completed." <P> For more information, contact Keith Brooks at 208-678-0461 ext. 33. <P> American Falls Dam was originally completed in 1928. The dam is part of the Minidoka Project and is located on the Snake River near American Falls. In 1978 the dam was reconstructed and replaced under the authority of Reclamation's Safety of Dams Act. <P> Snake River Flow Increasing to Benefit Native Fish
HEYBURN, Idaho - The Bureau of Reclamation is planning to increase flow in the Snake River below Palisades Dam June 2 to reach about 19,000 cubic-feet–per-second by June 8. Reclamation will be monitoring the flow for debris accumulating on irrigation structures. If no major problems are found increases will continue until the maximum flow is reached June 8. Flow will be reduced by 5 percent each day beginning June 9 until a seasonal norm of about 13,000 cfs is reached. <P> “We want people to use caution when recreating on or near the river as the water will be cold and fast during the high flow period,” said Michael Beus, water operations manager for Reclamation’s Upper Snake Field Office. “The objective is to provide the highest flow of the season at the same time natural flow peaks to maintain a more natural condition in the river.” <P> High flow in springtime helps balance the populations of native and non-native trout in the Snake River between Palisades Dam and the mouth of the Henrys Fork, and aids Idaho Department of Fish and Game management efforts. <P> Since the increased flow is timed to coincide with natural inflow, little, if any water already stored in Palisades Reservoir will be released. The water will be captured in American Falls Reservoir or delivered to water users downstream. <P> Current river and reservoir data are available at: <a href=""></a>. For more information about Reclamation programs, visit <a href=""></a>. <P> The dams operated by Reclamation’s Upper Snake Field Office are located on the Snake River and its tributaries upstream of Milner, Idaho. Palisades Dam is about 55 miles southeast of Idaho Falls, Idaho; American Falls Dam is near American Falls, Idaho; and Minidoka Dam is about 12 miles northeast of Rupert, Idaho. <P> <P> Boise River Flow Increasing May 19 to Benefit Salmon
BOISE, Idaho – The Bureau of Reclamation will increase flow from Lucky Peak Dam on the Boise River beginning Thursday, May 19. The discharge will increase 500 cubic feet per second both Thursday and Friday, and result in flow of approximately 2,800 cfs through the city of Boise as measured at the Glenwood Bridge gauging station. <P> The water will continue to be fast and cold. Please stay out of the river and use caution when recreating near the river. <P> This increase in flow will provide additional water for salmon migration in the lower Snake and Columbia rivers in accordance with NOAA Fisheries 2008 Upper Snake Biological Opinion, under the Endangered Species Act. <P> Visit Reclamation’s Pacific Northwest Region Hydromet website for river and reservoir data at <a href=""></a>. <P> Grand Coulee Dam Visitor Center Begins Laser Light Show May 28
GRAND COULEE, Washington - On May 28, Grand Coulee Dam Visitor Center will begin its extended summer season hours, along with its Laser Light Show which plays nightly through the end of September. <P> Visitor Center hours will be from 8:30 a.m. until one hour past the start of the Laser Light Show. Through the end of July, the show will begin at 10 p.m. For August, the show begins at 9:30 p.m. and for September, 8:30 p.m. <P> May 28 will also begin an increase in the number of public tours into the John W. Keys III Pump-Generating Plant. These one hour tours occur daily from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Visitors will ride a shuttle bus to the pumping plant to view gigantic pumps lifting water from Lake Roosevelt to Banks Lake, which then delivers water throughout the Columbia Basin Irrigation Project. The shuttle will then take visitors across the top of Grand Coulee Dam for spectacular views of Lake Roosevelt and the Columbia River. <P> Tours are on a first-come, first-served basis. No reservations are taken and space is limited. <P> For more information call the Grand Coulee Dam Visitor Center at (509) 633-9265. Or visit: <a href=""></a>. <P> Grand Coulee Dam is located on the Columbia River about 90 miles west of Spokane, Washington. It was completed in 1941 and serves as a multipurpose facility providing water for irrigation, hydroelectric power production, flood control, fish and wildlife, and recreation. <P> Hungry Horse Dam Visitor Center Opens May 27
HUNGRY HORSE, Montana - The Bureau of Reclamation announces the opening of the Hungry Horse Dam Visitor Center for the 2016 summer season beginning May 27. <P> The visitor center will be open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Sept. 10. Exhibits about the history of Hungry Horse Dam and its importance to the Federal Columbia River Power System are featured. <P> Due to construction during the 2016 summer season there may be unscheduled closures of the Hungry Horse Visitor Center. For updated information call (406) 378-5241 x347. <P> Hungry Horse Dam is located off Highway 2 in Hungry Horse. Follow the signs just past the Hungry Horse/Glacier View Forest Service building to the visitor center. From Highway 2, travel approximately 4.5 miles to the visitor center located at the north end of the dam. <P> For more information, visit: <a href=""></a>. <P> Hungry Horse Dam stands 564 feet tall and was completed in 1953. It is located on the south fork of the Flathead River, 15 miles south of the west entrance to Glacier National Park and 20 miles northeast of Kalispell. <P> <P> Temporary Flow Increase on Crooked River to Test Benefits for Steelhead
PRINEVILLE, Oregon – Through the week of May 16, the Bureau of Reclamation, in partnership with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries, will release additional water from Bowman Dam on the Crooked River to determine if increased flows will aid steelhead smolts in their downstream migration to Lake Billy Chinook. <P> On the evening of Monday, May 16, flows will increase through the night to reach a total flow of roughly 768 cubic feet per second, an increase of 500 cfs. Flows will decrease the evening of May 18 and return to their current 268 cfs level by the morning of Friday, May 20. <P> These experimental “pulse flows” are being timed to minimize the effects to anglers fishing the Crooked River. While Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife anticipates no negative impacts to redband trout populations below Bowman Dam, fishing will be difficult and is unadvised during the pulse flow event. <P> “This is a great example of cooperation between local, state and federal agencies and will support the ongoing effort to restore the steelhead population in the Crooked River,” says Bridget Moran, Manager for the Bend U.S. Fish and Wildlife Office. <P> Many organizations have partnered in this experimental pulse flow event including the Ochoco Irrigation District, ODFW, and Portland General Electric. <P> For questions about this research, call NOAA Fisheries at (503) 231-6268 or the USFWS Bend Field Office at (541) 383-7146. <P> Sixth Annual Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Event Provides a Day of Fun and Learning
The PN Regional Office held its sixth annual Take Our Sons and Daughter to Work event April 28, 2016, with support from employees and managers who generously gave their time and attention. <P> After much preparation the day was full of fun and educational events. Presentations included an opportunity to write underwater with the dive team, an interactive weather station, safety training for photography/video, a fun and messy presentation on geology, and the living river exhibit. Twenty-six children, age eight and up, attended the event, each having a ton of fun and leaving with new information. <P> Assistant Regional Director Jennifer Carrington offered a warm welcome to the kids (and goody bags); from there, children learned about canal safety, and all the amazing things that our incredible staff does here at Reclamation. Even more successful, our children sponsors, were happy with the event, too. <P> Brandt Demars says, "Another successful event. My kids have really enjoyed this over the years, and have made a connection with our nation's water resources as a result of this fun and informative event." <P> Each year the Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work event grows a little, as we bring in new staff, or children turn eight. <P> Vickie Hawkins says, "This was my first time participating in this event. My grandson had an awesome time and learned a lot. He gave rave reviews for all the presenters and stations." <P> This event could not have been successful without the amazing support of staff, volunteer guides, presenters, and the sponsors who brought children. <P> <img src="" alt="Participants and Volunteers of the PN Regional Office 2016 Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work 2016 Event"/> <P> <P> Jackson Lake Dam Operations Meeting Set for May 19
HEYBURN, Idaho - The Bureau of Reclamation will present streamflow forecasts and projected reservoir operations for Jackson Lake Dam and other Snake River reservoirs at a meeting on May 19. The meeting will be held at the Antler Inn Conference Room, 43 West Pearl Street, Jackson, Wyoming, beginning at 6 p.m. <P> The Snake River at Heise forecast is 99 percent of average and the current storage in Jackson is at 73 percent of capacity. The lake is expected to fill in June, with moderate demand for storage releases over the summer. With the current snowpack, there may be a potential for flooding downstream due to tributary inflows. Flood operations are determined by a forecast coordinated with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the Snake River above Heise, Idaho. <P> The meeting facility is accessible to people with disabilities. Contact Margee Bibbey at (208) 678-0461, ext. 30, TTY 711, to request sign language interpretation for the hearing impaired or other auxiliary aids. <P> Current river and reservoir data are available at <a href=""></a>. For information about other Reclamation programs visit <a href=""></a>. <P> Jackson Lake Dam is located on the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park near Moran, Wyoming. The dam is part of the Minidoka Project and was constructed in 1911. In 1989 parts of the dam were replaced under the authority of Reclamation's Safety of Dams Act. <P> Lane Closure Across Scoggins Dam Starts May 31
FOREST GROVE, Ore. - Due to drilling work conducted by the Bureau of Reclamation traffic will be restricted to one lane and one direction across the crest of Scoggins Dam until July 1. Starting May 31, the southbound lane of West Shore Drive will be closed. <P> The traffic routing will provide safe northbound traffic flow over the dam for the public while Reclamation drill crews are working. <P> Motorists planning to access West Shore Drive on the west side of Henry Hagg Lake must drive past the dam and follow Scoggins Valley Road around the lake perimeter. <P> "We want to thank the public in advance for their patience. The traffic routing will disrupt access to the lake temporarily," says Regional Geologist Jared Vauk. "Please remember after Memorial Day weekend, only northbound traffic will be permitted on the portion of West Shore Drive over the dam crest." <P> Reclamation began a drilling program at Scoggins April 20. The crews have been collecting soil samples from the embankment and foundation to refine ongoing Scoggins Dam studies for seismic stability. Regional Geologist Vauk advises that if the drilling is not completed by July 1 traffic control measures will continue again starting July 10 until they are finished. <P> Scoggins Dam, built in 1978, is part of Reclamation's Tualatin River Project. It stores water for the Tualatin Valley Irrigation District and municipalities in the area. <P> Map of traffic route and lane closure: <a href=""></a> <P> <P> Reclamation to Permanently Close Owyhee Dam Boat Ramp for Safety Concerns
ADRIAN, Oregon - The Bureau of Reclamation is permanently closing the Owyhee Dam Boat Ramp May 31 due to safety concerns. A temporary closure has been in effect since 2015. The boat ramp is located about 1 mile upstream of Owyhee Dam, which is located on the Owyhee River in Oregon, about 50 miles west of Boise, Idaho. <P> "Public safety is the main factor in this decision," said Mark Arana, natural resource manager. "The ramp is unsafe for both vehicle use and swimming due to sudden drop-offs underwater. It is closed to all public use including pedestrian, horseback riders and vehicle access." <P> The intake access route, known locally as the Owyhee Dam Boat Ramp, was built for the construction and maintenance of Tunnel No. 1, which supplies water to the Owyhee North and South canals. The ramp was not designed for public use and does not meet federal accessibility requirements. The ramp is also deteriorating due to wave action eroding material underneath the concrete slabs of the access route. <P> Lake Owyhee State Park provides nearby recreation access to Owyhee Reservoir. Gordon Gulch Boat Ramp, within Lake Owyhee State Park, is located 2 miles south of the Owyhee Dam Boat Ramp and the newly reconstructed Indian Creek Boat Ramp is located 4 miles south of Owyhee Dam Boat Ramp. The Indian Creek Boat Ramp has overflow parking and a fish cleaning station. <P> For boat ramp elevations, visit <a href=""></a>. <P> The Owyhee Project lies west of the Snake River in Malheur County, Oregon, and Owyhee County, Idaho. The project furnishes a full irrigation water supply to more than 105,000 acres on the west side of the Snake River in eastern Oregon and southwest Idaho. The key feature is Owyhee Dam, which was completed in 1932 and acts as both a storage and diversion structure. <P> <P> Traffic Diverted for Routine Bridge Inspections Near Cascade Dam May 9
CASCADE, Idaho – The Bureau of Reclamation is temporarily diverting traffic on both Lake Way Bridge and Cascade Dam Spillway Bridge May 9 to perform routine inspections near Cascade Dam in Cascade, Idaho. <P> Traffic diversions will be intermittent between 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., as crews inspect the bridges. Dam Road or Vista Point Boulevard can be used to bypass traffic delays. <P> “This action is necessary to allow work crews to access the bridge safely,” said Brent Jensen, facility supervisor. “Normal traffic use will resume as soon as the work is completed.” <P> For more information, contact Neil Miyaoka at (208) 383-2267. <P> Cascade Dam was constructed in 1948 and serves as a multipurpose facility, providing water for irrigation, hydropower, recreation and flood control. <P>