WALLA WALLA, Wash. – The Army Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla District, is revising the Mill Creek Master Plan, last updated in 1993. The master plan is the strategic land use management document that affects future management of natural resources and recreational opportunities to ensure the sustainability of the Mill Creek Dam and Bennington Lake civil works project.
The planning process will include an analysis of potential effects on the natural and social environment, including fish and wildlife, recreational opportunities, economics, land use, cultural and historic resources, aesthetics, and public health and safety.
Public input is critical throughout the master plan revision process. A public scoping period is scheduled for March 30 through April 30. Comments can be submitted via email, at MillCreekMP@usace.army.mil; or by using U.S. Mail addressed to:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
ATTN: Mill Creek MP
201 N. Third Ave.
Walla Walla, WA 99362
A public information meeting is set for March 31 at 5:30 in the Walla Walla Community College Water & Environmental Center, 500 Tausick Way in Walla Walla, Washington.
This is an opportunity for the public to let the Corps know how they would like the federal lands surrounding Mill Creek Dam and Bennington Lake to be managed in the future. A fact sheet and email link is available on the Mill Creek Master Plan webpage www.nww.usace.army.mil/Missions/Projects/MillCreekMP.aspx.
“We want to know our visitors' vision for the project’s recreation and natural resources,” said Park Ranger Jeremy Nguyen. “Public input is essential to developing a quality master plan that reflects our visitors’ needs and wants.”
What is a Master Plan? A master plan is the guidance document that describes how the resources of the project will be managed in the future and provides the vision for how the project should look in the future. It’s typically updated every 20 years. The master plan does not address issues such as flood risk management (levees/dams/channels/etc.) and water level management which are addressed in other guidance documents.
Development of the revised master plan will include consideration of regional and ecosystem needs as well as public interests and desires.
The Mill Creek Master Plan Updates main objectives are:
• Conserve project resources within current Corps policies and guidelines
• Accommodate current and projected uses with maximum efficiency
Mill Creek’s master plan was last updated in 1993, and a lot has changed since then:
• visitation has dramatically increased – about 100,000 more visitors annually than in 1993;
• visitors have brought new modes of recreation to our trails, park and lake, like long-boarding, geo-caching and paddleboarding; and
• there are new invasive and ESA-listed species to be considered in the management of project lands and waters.
Release no. 15-024