Scoping — Colorado River Post 2026 Operations
Notice of Intent and Request for Comments
The Bureau of Reclamation announced its intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for post-2026 operations on June 16 and solicited public comments on the scope of specific operational guidelines, strategies, and any other related issues that should be considered in the upcoming Environmental Impact Statement. The Notice of Intent was published in the Federal Register on June 16, 2023, and Reclamation accepted comments through August 15, 2023. Reclamation published a Scoping Summary Report in October 2023.
Reclamation held three public scoping webinars to provide summary information and solicit public scoping comments on the development of Post-2026 Operational Guidelines and Strategies for Lake Powell and Lake Mead. The scoping webinar presentation and recordings are available for review. Each meeting presentation covered the same information. The public comment portions of the meetings varied based on the public participants at each meeting.
- Monday, July 17, 2023, 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. (MDT) – Webinar Recording
- Tuesday, July 18, 2023, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. (MDT) – Webinar Recording
- Monday, July 24, 2023, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. (MDT) – Webinar Recording
Reclamation received 24,290 comment submissions during the scoping period, including 318 unique comment submissions from the public, Tribes, states, federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders, 21,658 form letters, 1,256 form letters with unique content, and 1,058 duplicate submissions.
This input was used to develop the proposed federal action, which allows for developing robust operating guidelines for Lake Powell and Lake Mead without precluding upstream or downstream activities needed to protect critical reservoir elevations at Lake Powell and Lake Mead. The action also is intended to allow for the development of innovative and flexible operating guidelines that provide improved predictability of water availability and enhanced opportunities for conservation.
Reclamation made unique comment submissions from the scoping period available for review.
Scoping Summary Report
The Scoping Summary Report provides a summary of the comments received during the public scoping process and describes the Department’s current, preliminary assessment of the proposed federal action and purpose and need.
Reclamation provided an overview of the comments received during the scoping period and reviewed the preliminary assessment of the proposed federal action and the draft purpose and need at an informational webinar on October 24, 2023.
Reclamation published a Federal Register Notice announcing the availability of the Scoping Summary Report for the Post-2026 Process. The Scoping Summary Report provides a summary of the comments received during the public scoping process and describes the Department’s current, preliminary assessment of the proposed federal action, purpose and need, and scope of the environmental analysis to be included in the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS).
Reclamation recently held a 60-day scoping period from June 16, 2023, to August 15, 2023. Reclamation received more than 21,000 comment submissions during the scoping period, including comments from the public, basin Tribes, basin states, federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders. Reclamation is reviewing the comments and anticipates publishing a scoping report later this fall.