The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) is updating the 1982 McNary Master Plan and wants your input!

The Master Plan guides how the Corps manages McNary project lands surrounding Lake Wallula behind McNary 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. 

We are also completing an Environmental Assessment (EA) to accompany the revised Master Plan as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  We ask for comments from the public and from stakeholders during scoping; the input influences the decisions we make for these public lands.

The Corps will accept comments from May 2 through June 2, 2022.  See below for information on what the Master Plan covers, the different areas in the McNary Project, and how you can comment.

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A Master Plan describes how we manage lands surrounding Lake Wallula 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, endangered species)
  • 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 is the meat of the Master Plan.  The land classification determines the main use of each parcel of land (e.g., recreation, wildlife management).  The Master Plan describes each land management unit 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 Wallula are also identified.

The McNary Master Plan does 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 (1982) and Corps regulations have changed significantly in the interim, there will be larger than normal changes to this Master Plan when updated.
  • Make changes to the current McNary Shoreline Management Plan (MSMP).

The short answer is because it is 40 years old and does not comply with current Corps regulations.  Master Plans used to be much more detailed (even detailing how to prune specific species of trees) than our current standards.  The authorized land classifications have also changed to account for contemporary land uses like mitigation.  The associated Environmental Assessment will consider environmental concerns like endangered species. 

So many things have changed in the past 40 years – an updated Master Plan and Environmental Assessment will allow the Corps to take all these things into account as we plan how to manage this Project for the next 20 years or so.

Land classifications determine which activities might be authorized or prohibited on a parcel of land.  For instance, an area classified as High Density Recreation will likely have camping sites, paved trails, more sophisticated bathrooms for the public, and boat ramps and docks.  An area classified as Wildlife Management will likely have more primitive bathroom facilities and other amenities, because the focus is providing wildlife habitat, not recreational opportunities to the visiting public.  The new land classifications are better defined and a bit simpler than the old land classifications.  Here is a chart comparing the land classifications for the existing Master Plan (old) with the currently authorized land classifications that will be used in the updated Master Plan:




There are several recreation areas managed by the Corps on the shores of Lake Wallula.  Hood Park offers a swim beach, camping sites, reservable group shelters, picnic tables, and boat ramps.  Columbia Park is outgranted to the Cities of Kennewick and Richland and features playgrounds, picnic tables, boat ramps, group shelters, and great access to the shoreline. Chiawana Park is outgranted to the City of Pasco and offers reservable group shelters, a boat ramp, picnic tables, a playground, restrooms, and a horseshoe pit, along with excellent access to the water.

Click on the link for McNary Recreation to learn more about recreation opportunities at McNary.


McNary also includes several Habitat Management Units (HMUs) surrounding Lake Wallula.  These areas provide habitat for fish and wildlife species.  People are welcome to come and walk around these HMUs to watch wildlife, go birding, and in many instances, hunt, though there may be restrictions on certain weapons for different HMUs.  For information on the HMUs that the Corps manages, please visit the site linked above for McNary Lock and Dam, or McNary Recreation.



The lands surrounding Lake Wallula possess many different types of resources:  natural, recreational, and cultural or historical.  We take our responsibility to protect these resources seriously, and an updated Master Plan will help us to preserve these resources for future generations.

What is the MSMP?

The MSMP allows for limited private use of the Federal lands along Lake Wallula in specific areas for private and private community docks. The MSMP aims to balance environmental stewardship, protection of cultural resources, and the public's desire for recreation.

How does it relate to the Master Plan?

The MSMP is separate from the McNary Master Plan; the Master Plan covers land classifications and high-level plans for the operating project, while the MSMP only covers the policies that allow private use of the Lake Wallula shoreline.

Why does the Master Plan not address the MSMP?

The MSMP is a separate federal action from the Master Plan update.  The Master Plan update is required to comply with updated Engineer Regulations and Corps Headquarters guidance.

Can I make a comment on the MSMP during the Master Plan scoping process?

While all comments will be accepted, comments specific to the MSMP are outside the scope of the Master Plan update and will likely not be applicable.  

For more information on the MSMP, please visit the website at

How can I comment?

There are several ways that you can provide input to the Corps on this Master Plan revision. 

  • Submit a comment by clicking on the map at the top of this page.  You can click on specific areas (e.g., Hood Park, Yakima River Delta HMU) and make comments specific to that land management unit.
  • Submit a comment on this page, below!
  • You may also submit electronic comments via e-mail to:
  • You may submit written comments via U.S. Mail to the Corps at:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Walla Walla District
ATTN:  McNary Master Plan
201 North 3rd Avenue
Walla Walla, WA  99362-1876


Comments need to be submitted or postmarked no later than June 2, 2022 to ensure consideration.  All comments submitted will be considered and become part of the public record.

For more information on the scoping meetings or about the Master Plan revision, please contact the Master Planner at or at 509-527-7137.  For more information on the Environmental Assessment, please contact the Environmental Resource Specialist at 509-527-7245.

This isn’t your only chance to have input on this Master Plan!  When the Master Plan is updated, the draft will be shared with the public and we will ask for comments on the draft.  Those comments will also be considered and incorporated as applicable during finalization of the updated Master Plan.  The final Master Plan will be made available online through this website.  However, comments submitted during scoping (May 2 through June 2, 2022) have a greater chance of influencing how we draft the Master Plan and the Environmental Assessment throughout this process.