Lower Monumental Master Plan

**Updated October 13, 2020**

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), Walla Walla District has issued a revised Lower Monumental Project Master Plan, including a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) and a Environmental Assessment (EA). These documents are available via the links on the right-hand side of this webpage.

The Master Plan was updated because the original Master Plan was more than 50 years old and there have been changes in policy and management strategies over that time.

Master Plans guide how the Corps manages Lower Monumental project lands surrounding Lake West behind Lower Monumental Dam.  Master Plans are about the land – they do not address dam operations (e.g., spill, fish passage, or dam breaching), flood risk management (e.g., levees), or navigation.


What is a Master Plan?

A Master Plan describes how we manage lands surrounding Lake West under our care.  It describes:

  • The unique and important factors for this Project that influence management
  • The natural resources on these lands (e.g., soils, vegetation, wildlife)
  • The cultural resources on these lands (e.g., sites of historical and/or cultural significance)
  • The recreational resources on these lands (e.g., the unique recreational opportunities, factors which influence recreation)

Once the resources are identified and described, the Master Plan describes our goals as we manage these resources for the next 20 years or so.  Based on those resource objectives, the current use of the land, existing regulations, and public input, each parcel of land is assigned a land use classification.

This land classification determines the main use of each parcel of land (e.g., recreation, wildlife management).  The Master Plan describes each parcel by name and identifies any unique characteristics or resource concerns for that area.  Restricted areas and no-wake zones on the surface water of Lake West are also identified.

Master Plans do not:

  • Deal with details of design or administration of the lands – the Master Plan is a high-level, conceptual document.
  • Address dam operations like spill, fish passage, or dam breaching. 
  • Discuss navigation or flood risk management.
  • Make large-scale changes to how lands are currently managed; there are restrictions and regulations that guide the management of public lands by the Corps.  However, because the current Master Plan is so old (1966) and Corps regulations have changed significantly in the interim, there will be larger than normal changes to this Master Plan when updated.


What were some of the updates in the 2020 Master Plan?

he new Master Plan is very different from the 1966 Master Plan, in order to more thoroughly discuss how the Corps manages the recreational, natural and cultural resources on its lands. Some changes worth highlighting include:

  • A thorough description of the recreational, natural, and cultural resources on Project lands.
  • Updated land classifications, with a much larger emphasis on wildlife habitat than the previous Master Plan.
  • Numerous photos of Project lands throughout the Master Plan.
  • Descriptions of all Project land management units.
  • Discussions of factors influencing management decisions, such as the Lower Snake River Fish and Wildlife Compensation Plan (LSRFWCP), Environmental Operating Principles, public use and visitation, and invasive species.