Lower Snake River PSMP EIS: Comment Period Extended (USA)
The Walla Walla District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has extended the public comment period for the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Lower Snake River Programmatic Sediment Management Plan (PSMP) to March 26, 2013. This extends the previous comment deadline of Feb. 8.
An open house and public information meeting about the draft EIS remains scheduled for today in Lewiston, Idaho. The meeting will be in the Clearwater Room of the Williams Conference Center at Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho, located at the northeast corner of 4th Street and 9th Avenue. The open house will begin at 5:30 p.m. and a presentation and question and answer session will begin at 6:30 p.m. At the open house, Corps staff will be available to answer questions and provide information.
“We extended the public comment period to allow for more complete public input,” said District Commander Lt. Col. Andrew Kelly. “The draft Environmental Impact Statement is fairly lengthy and complex because we took a very broad look at sediment management options. This is about potential long-term options beyond just dredging.”
A Corps’ mission is to maintain the lower Snake River navigation channel to Congressionally established dimensions of 14 feet deep and 250 feet wide. The EIS took several years to prepare, and the Corps took a broad and detailed look at sediment management alternatives while conducting extensive analyses of problem sediment sources, transport and deposits.
The EIS evaluated numerous measures in developing alternatives for managing sediment, including future studies of in-water structures, modifying flows or pool levels, and more. The EIS also evaluates a proposed “immediate need action” of dredging during a winter “in-water work window” from Dec. 15 to March 1. Maintenance dredging in the navigation channel has not been performed since the winter of 2005-2006.
In the draft EIS, the Corps is proposing to implement a long-term plan to manage, and prevent if possible, river sediment accumulation or “depositions” that are interfering with “authorized project purposes” of the Corps’ Lower Snake River Projects (LSRP) dams and reservoirs in southeastern Washington and north central Idaho. Those projects are Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental, Little Goose, and Lower Granite Locks and Dams. Authorized project purposes potentially affected by sediment include commercial navigation, recreation, and fish and wildlife conservation and mitigation.
Press Release, January 24, 2013