The Bureau of Reclamation has released a Final Environmental Assessment (EA) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for implementation of the Lake Roosevelt Incremental Storage Releases Project. The purpose of the project is to improve water management in the Columbia River Basin by releasing additional water from Lake Roosevelt to meet objectives established by the Columbia River Water Management Act.
The EA analyzes the withdrawal of additional water from Lake Roosevelt to provide drought relief, improve municipal and industrial supply, provide a replacement for some of the groundwater use in the Odessa Subarea, and improve instream flows in the Columbia River below Grand Coulee Dam.
Under the proposed action 25,000 acre-feet would be available annually for additional municipal and industrial use, 30,000 acre-feet would be annually available to individuals in the Odessa Subarea who currently irrigate with a valid state groundwater right and 27,500 acre-feet would be available annually to augment instream flows. In total 82,500 acre-feet would be released in a non-drought year with 27,500 acre-feet of that water remaining in the river for fish flows. In drought years an additional 33,000 acre-feet would be released and available for diversion by existing water right holders whose water rights are interruptible in drought years and another 17,000 acre-feet would be available for instream flow augmentation. In a drought year, releases would total 132,500 acre-feet.
Under the No Action Alternative, no incremental storage releases would be made from Lake Roosevelt. The reservoir would continue to be operated under existing conditions.
Based on the environmental analysis presented in the final EA, Reclamation concludes that implementation of the preferred action and associated environmental commitments would have no significant impact on the quality of the human environment or the natural resources in the affected area.