News Release Archive

Ririe Winter Storage Study Final Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact Released

Media Contact: Annette Ross, (208) 378-5322, 01/28/2015 12:50
Rich Jackson, rjackson@usbr.gov

For Release: January 28, 2015

BOISE, Idaho - The Bureau of Reclamation issued the Final Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for the proposed Winter Interim Operations at Ririe Dam and Reservoir Jan. 28. Ririe Dam and Reservoir are located on Willow Creek about 15 miles northeast of Idaho Falls.

The Final EA includes two alternatives:

  • No Action Alternative - The No Action alternative continues the practice of drafting the reservoir contents to 5,000 acre-feet below required winter flood space of water at the beginning of winter. With this practice, storage of natural inflows would not often encroach on the winter flood control space and winter releases would typically not be required.
  • Alternative 1 - This would allow storage of winter inflows up to 8,000 acre-feet to be stored in the winter flood control space through the end of February. Each year, Mitigation, Inc. would have the option of signing an agreement with Reclamation before the beginning of winter that would activate Alternative 1, by committing to clean the channel of snow and ice in advance of any required releases, as described in the Final EA. Reclamation plans to move forward with Alternative 1.

The EA proposes to modify current Ririe Dam and Reservoir winter flood control operations to retain additional water storage without increasing downstream flood risk for a 10-year interim period. 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 Nov. 1 and March 1.

"We are excited to complete this EA and appreciate the engagement of water users and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers through a lengthy process," said Jerry Gregg, Snake River Area Manager. "Reclamation is committed to working with our stakeholders to improve management of Idaho's critical water resources."

The Final EA is available on Reclamation's Pacific Northwest Regional Office webpage at http://www.usbr.gov/pn/programs/ea/idaho/ririe/ . Hard copies or CD-ROM versions of the report may be obtained free of charge by contacting Mr. Rich Jackson at rjackson@usbr.gov, by mail at the Bureau of Reclamation, Snake River Area Office, 230 Collins Road, Boise, Idaho, 83702 or by phone at (208) 383-2285.

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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 https://www.usbr.gov and follow us on Twitter @USBR.

Relevant Link:

http://www.usbr.gov/pn/programs/ea/idaho/ririe/