News Release Archive

Reclamation To Release Storage Study Assessment Report of Black Rock Alternative Soon

Media Contact: Diana Cross, (208) 378-5020,
Gerald Kelso, (509) 575-5848 ext. 202,

For Release: February 09, 2005

The Bureau of Reclamation announced today that the Summary Report: Appraisal Assessment of the Black Rock Alternative; A Component of the Yakima River Basin Water Storage Feasibility Study, Washington will be available by February 18. An executive summary of that report is available now.

A potential Black Rock project is one alternative being assessed as part of a solution to water storage and fishery issues in the Yakima River Basin. In 2003, Reclamation was directed by Congress to address the feasibility of constructing additional water storage facilities for the Yakima River basin. While the study will investigate several alternatives, the congressional authorization directed that initial study activities examine storage of Columbia River water in an off-site reservoir (a Black Rock project).

"This initial assessment of the potential Black Rock alternative is limited to certain engineering and technical aspects of this potential project and is based on preliminary, appraisal level information only," observed Bill McDonald, Reclamation's Pacific Northwest Regional Director. "Economic, financial, environmental, cultural, and social evaluations of the Black Rock alternative have not yet been conducted."

Reclamation policy requires non-federal parties to share the costs of financing feasibility studies and of constructing Federal reclamation projects. Washington State has committed $4 million in cost sharing for the Storage Study, with additional support provided by local project proponents.

Preliminary cost estimates included in the Summary Report indicate the total cost of a Black Rock project would likely range from about $3.5 to $4 billion. In light of this, and mindful of other budget priorities, Reclamation will consult with the State of Washington, the Yakama Nation, and other interested parties before making a decision on whether to carry the Black Rock alternative into the next phase of the study. The President's budget request for fiscal year 2006, released February 7, did not include federal funds for the study.

Reclamation will host a public information meeting this spring to give people an opportunity to ask questions about the content of the Summary Report and the supporting technical reports. By this summer, Reclamation will give interested parties the opportunity to address the question of whether the Black Rock alternative should be included in the next phase of the Storage Study or be eliminated from further consideration, in the event funding becomes available to continue the work.

More information about the Yakima River Basin Water Storage Feasibility Study, including the executive summary of preliminary findings, is available at The Summary Report may be downloaded from this site by February 18. Printed copies also will be available at that time upon request from Mr. Kim McCartney, Study Manager, Bureau of Reclamation, 1917 Marsh Road, Yakima, Washington 98901-2058; (509) 575-5848, ext. 370. The technical reports from which the information in the Summary Report is drawn will be posted on the same website the following week.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier in the United States, and the nation's second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.