WALLA WALLA, Wash. – The Walla Walla District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers invites public comments on the Draft Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) and Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Mill Creek Fish Passage Project Section 408 Permissions. Comments are due no later than Monday, April 11, 2016.
The Corps proposes to grant a series of permissions pursuant to 33 United States Code Section 408 for alterations to portions of the Corps-constructed Mill Creek flood risk management channel in Walla Walla, Washington. The purpose of the alterations would be to improve fish passage conditions for native fish. These Section 408 permissions would apply to requests by the Mill Creek Work Group (MCWG) and/or its member organizations for alterations endorsed by the Walla Walla County Mill Creek Flood Zone District (Flood Zone District).
In the 1940s, the Corps constructed the Mill Creek channel for flood risk management to pass high flows and reduce the risk of flooding to the City of Walla Walla and surrounding communities. The Corps subsequently turned over operation and maintenance of a six-mile portion of the channel from the Division Works (River Mile 10.6) to the Gose Street Bridge (River Mile 4.8) to the Flood Zone District.
The MCWG, primarily through one of its member organizations, the Tri-State Steelheaders, has proposed a program for site-specific alterations to implement the Mill Creek Fish Passage Project, a programmatic plan to make modifications to the Flood Zone District-maintained portion of the channel to improve fish passage conditions. The Flood Zone District endorsed alterations by the MCWG to subject to engineering and environmental review. Because these alterations would modify a channel structure constructed by the Corps, they require Section 408 permission from the Corps. Corps review includes preparation of an Environmental Assessment.
The public comment period starts March 25, 2016, and runs through April 11, 2016. Comments must be e-mailed or postmarked no later than April 11, 2016 to be considered. Submit comments via e-mail or U.S. Mail. For email, submit comments to NEPANWW@usace.army.mil and insert the phrase “Mill Creek 408” in the subject line. For U.S. Mail, send to: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla District, Mill Creek 408, CENWW-PM-PD-EC, 201 North Third 3rd Avenue, Walla Walla, WA 99362-1876.
The draft FONSI and draft EA are available in electronic form on the Walla Walla District website at www.nww.usace.army.mil/Missions/EnvironmentalCompliance.aspx. For questions about the draft FONSI or draft EA, contact Ms. Sandy Shelin, Environmental Coordinator, at 509-527-7265.