Platte River Recovery Implementation Program Proposed First Increment Extension Environmental Assessment (EA)

This website serves as an online center for public information on the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program (Program) Proposed First Increment Extension Environmental Assessment (EA). Please refer to this site for the latest information on the project and schedule for public involvement opportunities.

The Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), with technical assistance from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), is evaluating the environmental impacts of extending the implementation of the Program’s First Increment to complete the remaining milestones not achieved within the prescribed 13-year time line. Completion of the Program’s First Increment is necessary to secure defined benefits for federally listed threatened and endangered species, thereby continuing compliance with the Endangered Species Act for certain existing and future water related projects and uses in the Platte River Basin upstream of the confluence with the Loup River.

This website is the online center for public information and involvement in the EA process. There are several ways that the public can get involved in this process. Links are provided to additional web pages that provide the public with information on the regulatory background, environmental compliance, project description, and the need for the project. Open houses for scoping and future draft EA documents are being scheduled to provide the public with the opportunity to learn more, ask questions, and provide comments related to the project.

Additional information about the Program and implementation activities can be found at: www.platteriverprogram.org

PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT OPPORTUNITIES

Public Scoping - Complete

Public Scoping Report

Draft EA and Draft FONSI
  Draft EA Public Review and Comment Period: February 28 through April 14, 2018
 

Open Houses are scheduled as follows (All meetings will be held 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. and include a presentation at 6:30 p.m.):

  • March 14, 2018, at Platte River Recovery Implementation Program Executive Director's Office, 4111 4th Avenue, Suite 6, Kearney, Nebraska
  • March 15, 2018, at Ramada Midtown, 2503 S. Locust Street, Grand Island, Nebraska
  • March 20, 2018, Goshen County Fair Grounds, 7078 Fairgrounds Road, Torrington, Wyoming
  • March 21, 2018, at The Ranch Events Complex, 5280 Arena Circle, Loveland, Colorado (Located in the Larimer County Conference Center; park in Lot B)
   

Background and Need for the Extension

The Platte River Recovery Implementation Program (Program) became effective January 1, 2007 following signatures by the Governors of Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska and the U.S. Secretary of the Interior. The Program provides Endangered Species Act (ESA) compliance for water related activities within the three states and Federal Government while working to provide recovery benefits for four endangered and threatened species.

The First Increment of the Program began in 2007 and extends through 2019. The Program’s long-term goal is to improve and maintain the associated habitats of the target species. This includes: (1) improving and maintaining migrational habitat for whooping cranes and reproductive habitat for least terns and piping plovers; (2) reducing the likelihood of future listing of other species found in this area; and (3) testing the assumption that managing flow in the central Platte River also improves the pallid sturgeon’s lower Platte River habitat.

Federal action is needed to complete the remaining milestones not achieved within the prescribed 13-year time line of the Program’s First Increment. Completion of the Program’s First Increment is necessary to secure defined benefits for federally listed threatened and endangered species, thereby providing compliance with the Endangered Species Act for certain existing and future water related projects and uses in the Platte River Basin upstream of the confluence with the Loup River.

The purpose of this action is to continue implementing projects to provide additional water to reduce shortages to Service target flows; continue land management activities necessary to provide habitat for target species; and continue integrated monitoring, research, and adaptive management to assess the progress of the Program and to inform future management decisions.

Activities need to be consistent with and support meeting the Program’s First Increment objectives:

  1. Achieve the Water Plan objective of reducing shortages to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service target flows by an average of 130,000 to 150,000 acre-feet per year as measured at Grand Island, Nebraska. Through the Adaptive Management Plan, target flows would be examined and, as determined appropriate by the Service, modified accordingly.
  2. Achieve the Land Plan objective to protect, restore where appropriate, and maintain at least 10,000 acres of habitat for the benefit of target species in the central Platte River area between Lexington and Chapman, Nebraska by no later than the end of the First Increment. Additional lands may be acquired to continue progress towards the Program’s long-term objective of 29,000 acres of suitable habitat.

 

Last Updated: 2/28/18