Repairs to Deadwood Dam Access Bridge and Operational Changes to Support Research Activities in the Deadwood River Environmental Assessment
On July 16, 2010 the Bureau of Reclamation released a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for repairs to the Deadwood Dam access bridge and operational changes to support research activities in the Deadwood River for public review and comment. The Draft EA analyzed the environmental effects of two related and concurrent actions proposed in the Deadwood River below Deadwood Dam in Valley County, Idaho.
Reclamation is proposing to make erosion repairs to the valve house access bridge foundation immediately below the Deadwood Dam. In order to accomplish this work, releases from the dam would need to be nearly shut off for the five-week construction period. The construction period was scheduled for September 7 to October 12, 2010.
The second proposed action is to take advantage of the shut off of the dam to conduct research on bull trout, a species listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The research work is needed to fulfill Reclamation’s requirements under the ESA biological opinion for operating its projects. The bull trout research would require completely shutting off releases from the dam approximately two weeks prior to the beginning of the construction and would last through the construction period. The total timeframe for releases from Deadwood Dam to be at or near zero was from August 22 to October 12, 2010.
The Draft EA was distributed for public review for 27 days. Reclamation received one comment letter from the Idaho Conservation League. Reclamation also completed ESA consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) on impacts to bull trout. FWS issued a biological opinion for the proposed action on August 13, 2010 which contains terms and conditions to avoid or minimize impacts to bull trout.
After consideration of the environmental effects of the project and public comment on the Draft EA, Reclamation approved a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the project on August 18, 2010.
Supervisory Environmental Protection Specialist
Bureau of Reclamation
Snake River Area Office
230 Collins Road
Boise, Idaho 83702