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Ririe Dam and Reservoir Proposed Interim Operations
Draft Environmental Assessment


Ririe DamLocated in Bonneville County, Idaho, the Ririe Project (Project) was constructed to impound and control the waters of Willow Creek for flood control, irrigation and recreation. Constructed between 1970 and 1977 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), Ririe Dam serves the principal purpose of flood control on Willow and Sand Creeks. Ririe Dam and Reservoir is approximately 15 miles northeast of Idaho Falls.

The Corps transferred operation and maintenance responsibilities to the United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, through a memorandum of agreement in 1976. Reclamation manages the Project for multiple purposes including water storage for irrigation; the Corps is responsible for the flood control operations of the Project as required by Section 7 of the Flood Control Act of 1944.

The draft EA proposes to reduce Ririe Reservoir winter drawdown for a 10-year interim period to improve refill reliability and increase water availability for irrigation without increasing downstream flood risk. Reclamation conducted an initial scoping meeting in January 2011 in Idaho Falls, Idaho, to identify issues and concerns associated with the proposed interim operations. The Environmental Assessment (EA) was postponed while Reclamation considered initial scoping comments and worked with the Corps, Water District 1, and Mitigation Inc. to complete a Ririe Reservoir Winter Release Test Plan (Plan). The purpose of the Plan was to test/study the capacity of Willow Creek and the Ririe outlet channel to evacuate a portion of the required flood control space during winter conditions so additional water can be held in most winters without an increase in flood risk. The test was conducted in February 2013. Based on the information gained from the test, new alternatives were developed and presented for public comment in a second public scoping in December 2013.

Reclamation issued a draft EA on September 5, 2014, for the proposed winter interim operations for Ririe Reservoir and Dam for a 30-day public comment period ending October 6. The draft EA analyzes the proposed alternatives on the interim operations to improve the refill reliability and availability of irrigation water from Ririe Reservoir and Dam with no change in flood risk. This would be accomplished by decreasing Ririe Reservoir winter drawdown that occurs in the fall of some years, resulting in more water held in the reservoir between November 1 and March 1.

Please send your written comments on the draft EA to: Mr. Richard Jackson, Natural Resource Specialist, at Bureau of Reclamation, Snake River Area Office, 230 Collins Road, Boise, ID 83702 or via email to ririeea@usbr.gov. Comments must be received by Monday, October 6, 2014.

Reclamation determined an EA is required under the National Environmental Policy Act in order to undertake this action. The draft EA evaluates the impacts of the proposed alternatives on the human population and the natural environment. Public input on the draft EA will assist Reclamation in making an informed decision.

09/05/2014 News Release: Reclamation Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Winter Interim Operations at Ririe Dam and Reservoir HTML
09/2014 Ririe Dam & Reservoir Proposed Interim Winter Operations Factsheet PDF 425 kb
09/2014 Draft Environmental Assessment Ririe Winter Storage Study PDF 19.12 mb
12/09/2013 Media Advisory: Public Open House for Comments on Interim Winter Operation Alternatives at Ririe Dam and Reservoir HTML
12/05/2013 Factsheet: Ririe Dam and Reservoir Proposed Interim Operations PDF 249 kb
11/26/2013 News Release: Reclamation Hosts Open House for Additional Comments on Interim Winter Operation Alternatives at Ririe Dam and Reservoir HTML
01/11/2011 Fact Sheet: Ririe Dam and Reservoir Proposed Interim Operations PDF 108 kb
01/05/2011 News Release: Reclamation Hosts Public Meeting on Ririe Reservoir
and Dam Proposed Interim Operations
12/15/2010 Ririe Dam and Reservoir Area Map PDF 229 kb

Rich Jackson
Natural Resource Specialist
(208) 383-2285

Bureau of Reclamation
470 22nd Street
Heyburn, ID  83336


Last Update: November 3, 2014 10:39 AM