WALLA WALLA, Wash. – The Walla Walla District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers invites the public to comment on the revised Environmental Assessment (EA) and draft Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) associated with the Corps’ effort to update the McNary Shoreline Management Plan for Lake Wallula. The public comment period ends June 27.
Corps officials are holding a public information meeting on June 9 in Pasco to discuss the EA, FONSI and updated plan, and to provide an opportunity for people to ask questions. The public is encouraged to attend a pre-event open house from 6-7 p.m. followed by the information meeting from 7-9 p.m. at the Pasco Red Lion Hotel, 2525 North 20th Avenue in Pasco, Wash. The meeting is being held during a public comment period from May 25 to June 27.
The Shoreline Management Plan seeks to balance environmental stewardship and legal requirements with the public’s desires for recreation. The updated plan addresses policies and procedures regarding private docks on public lands and modification of vegetation on federal property. Environmental and cultural resource requirements have changed significantly since the plan’s last update in the early 1980s, necessitating management updates as well as a review of the permitting process for private boat docks and vegetation modifications. Working within a well-established process, the Corps completed formal Endangered Species Act consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2011.
The June 2011 McNary Shoreline Management Plan, May 2011 revised EA and draft FONSI are available for review on the District’s website at www.nww.usace.army.mil/McNaryShoreline/default.asp. Public comments may be submitted to the Corps through June 27 by email to McNarySMP@usace.army.mil; by fax to (509) 527-7832; or by U.S. Mail to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla District; ATTN: Cindy Boen/MSMP; 201 N. Third Avenue; Walla Walla, WA 99362.
For information regarding the updated shoreline plan, EA, FONSI, or public information meeting, contact Cindy Boen, Corps project manager, at (509) 527-7246.
BACKGROUND: The updated McNary Shoreline Management Plan provides guidance for managing the McNary (Lake Wallula) shoreline stretching from McNary Dam to the Tri-Cities. It addresses rules and regulations, shoreline allocations and requirements for permitting private use of public lands managed by the Corps including private docks on the public shoreline.
The Corps conducted a public meeting in Pasco on Sept. 18, 2006, to present an overview of the 1980s plan, discuss current requirements and receive public input on updates to plan. Nearly 100 people participated in the meeting, providing the opportunity to ask questions, discuss concerns and provide ideas for future management.
Between 2006 and 2009, a technical team of scientists and planners updated the McNary Shoreline Management Plan based on public input, interagency discussions, environmental and cultural requirements, and balanced future management practices. The 2009 Executive Summary, 2009 Draft Shoreline Management Plan, 2009 Environmental Assessment and 2009 Shoreline Allocation Maps were completed in January 2009.
A public meeting to discuss the draft 2009 McNary Shoreline Management Plan was held Jan. 14, 2009. At the request of the public, the comment period after the January 2009 meeting was extended through July 15, 2009. The Corps received 88 comments regarding the plan. To address these comments, the Corps conducted a scientific literature review and a bathymetric survey of parts of the shoreline, and worked with other state and federal agencies to craft a new plan that would meet the requirements of federal laws and policies, balanced with public recreation. That led to the 2011 updated plan.