WALLA WALLA, Wash. – The Walla Walla District of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers invites public review and comments on the Lower Snake River Final Programmatic Sediment Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement (PSMP EIS). The PSMP EIS comment period is planned to open Aug. 22, 2014, when the notice of availability is published in the Federal Register, and runs through Sept. 22.
The Corps is proposing to adopt a long-term, programmatic plan for managing sediment accumulation that interferes with existing authorized purposes of the Corps’ lower Snake River dam and reservoir projects. Authorized project purposes include navigation, recreation, fish and wildlife conservation, and flow conveyance.
The Final PSMP EIS identified and evaluated the potential environmental effects of a range of sediment management alternatives. The EIS identified Alternative 7 “Comprehensive (Full System and Sediment Management Measures)” as the preferred alternative, which provides a “toolbox” of measures for addressing problem sediment.
The Corps is also proposing a current “immediate need” dredging action, consistent with the Programmatic Sediment Management Plan, to re-establish certain areas of the federal navigation channel to congressionally authorized dimensions of 14 feet deep by 250 feet wide at minimum operating pool (MOP). Maintenance dredging in the lower Snake River navigation channel last occurred in the winter of 2005-2006. The Corps proposes to perform the dredging during the first available winter “in-water work window,” Dec. 15 to Feb. 28, following signing of a record of decision for the PSMP. The Corps proposes to use the dredged material to create shallow-water habitat for juvenile salmon at Snake River mile 116, just upstream of Knoxway Canyon and 23 miles downstream of Clarkston.
The PSMP EIS also considered potential environmental effects for Clean Water Act Section 404 and Rivers and Harbors Act Section 10 permits for ancillary/related berthing area maintenance dredging by the Ports of Lewiston and Clarkston, adjacent to the federal navigation channel. The Ports will fund the berthing area maintenance and all associated administrative and environmental review costs. The Corps’ Regulatory Division will make a final decision on ports’ permit applications.
Final PSMP EIS documents and information are available on the District website at http://www.nww.usace.army.mil/Missions/Projects/ProgrammaticSedimentManagementPlan.aspx.Public comments on a draft PSMP EIS were previously accepted from December 2012 to April 2013. The Corps considers all public comments received in their decision-making process.
Submit comments no later than Sept. 22, 2014, via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or via U.S. Mail to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla District, PSMP/EIS, Attn: Sandy Shelin, CENWW-PM-PD-EC, 201 North Third Avenue, Walla Walla, Washington, 99362-1876. If you would like a compact disc version of plan documents, or to review a paper copy, contact Ms. Shelin, environmental coordinator, at 509 527-7265. If you have questions about the sediment management plan, contact Mr. Richard Turner, project manager, at 509-527-7625 or Ms. Shelin at 509-527-7265.
Release no. 14-059