Boise, Idaho – The US Army Corps of Engineers’ Walla Walla District has signed a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Environmental Assessment (EA) of the proposed 15-mile Lake View Recreation Trail at the Lucky Peak Dam and Lake.
While the Corps affirms the alternatives analysis and conclusions presented in the EA, it will implement the No Action Alternative at this time, which continues recreation management at Lucky Peak Lake without the proposed trail.
The Corps considered providing alternative accessibility to 45 boat-in recreation sites along the shoreline of Lucky Peak Lake and additional assistance with area fire management needs. However, the Corps took into consideration concerns raised by stakeholders relating to potential impacts to the Boise River Wildlife Management Area (BRWMA) and chose to go with the No Action Alternative.
The BRWMA provides winter range for the largest herds of deer and elk in the state. The proposed trail was designed to avoid impacts to these herds by enforcing a winter closure between November and April to avoid wildlife disturbances and by locating it along the lakeshore to limit potential habitat fragmentation.
The closure was considered easily enforceable by the Corps due to a multitude of local factors including: a single point of access to the area, isolation from public roads and residential development, ease of surveillance, frequent patrols and the enforcement authorities of a year-round team of rangers. Further concerns about potential fire risk management are the subject of ongoing discussion between the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and the Corps.
Public comments are important to effective public lands management and the Corps considered a broad range of feedback expressed by the public during the project’s scoping and draft review periods.. The National Environmental Policy Act process informs the Corps decisions and empowers the public to have input into decisions regarding public resources.
The Corps appreciates and actively seeks substantive comments on its projects. Several hundred respondents provided diverse feedback on the proposed action both for and against the proposed trail improved the Corps understanding of the trail’s potential positive and negative impacts, identified matters of public interest, and assisted in the final decision process. It should be noted that public interests, priorities, and values are dynamic and may change over time, therefore this decision may be reconsidered in the future.
The EA, FONSI public comments and the Corps responses can be found at: http://www.nww.usace.army.mil/Missions/Environmental-Compliance/
For additional information contact the Environmental Coordinator Ben Morris at 509-527-7294 or Benjamin.w.Morris@usace.army.mil