US Army Corps of Engineers announces lower Snake River plans

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Corps Announces Recommendations in Lower Snake River Report .

3 Dec 16:08

Contact: Nola Conway of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,
509-727-7020
Email: cenww-pa@usace.army.mil
Website: http:// http://www.nww.usace.army.mil

WALLS WALLA, WASH, Dec. 3 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The U. S. Army
Corps of Engineers has selected major systems improvements as the
preferred alternative following several years of lower Snake River
salmon studies, according to an announcement today.

The final feasibility report and environmental impact statement
for the Lower Snake River Juvenile Salmon Migration Feasibility
Study says this alternative provides increased juvenile salmon and
steelhead survival and maximizes operational flexibility.

The Corps' report has been forwarded to federal agencies for
review. The final report is expected to be available to the region
early in 2002.

"In the final report this preferred alternative is now known as
the adaptive migration alternative. Adapting the dams with various
operational changes and structures for improving fish passage
better describes this alternative than simply calling it major
system improvements," said Lonnie Mettler, Walla Walla District
project manager for the Feasibility Study.

Operational changes include improving the coordination and
implementation of spill, flow augmentation and juvenile fish
transportation.

Structural changes include both near and long term improvements.
In the short term the Corps is proposing: spillway improvements,
upgraded adult fish passage systems, upgraded juvenile fish
facilities and additional fish transportation barges. Proposed
long-term improvements include turbine improvements, removable
spillway weirs and surface bypass and collection structures.

The purpose of the feasibility study was to examine ways of
improving salmon passage through the four lower Snake River dams
and reservoirs: Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental, Little Goose, and
Lower Granite. Four alternatives were identified and thoroughly
explored within the study -- existing condition, maximum transport
of juvenile salmon, major systems improvements (adaptive
migration), and dam breaching.

The Walla Walla District is forwarding the report to federal
agencies that participated in the Federal Caucus, which developed
the "All-H Basinwide Recovery Strategy for the Columbia River
Basin." Members include the Corps, the National Marine Fisheries
Service, Bureau of Reclamation, Bonneville Power Administration,
Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of
Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Indian
Affairs and the National Park Service. As a member of the Caucus,
the Corps is seeking final federal input prior to broader public
release of the final environmental impact statement.

A draft feasibility report and environmental impact statement
was released in December 1999 and focused on ways to modify the
four lower Snake River dams to improve migration conditions for
juvenile salmon and steelhead listed under the Endangered Species
Act.

Public meetings for the Corps' Draft Feasibility
Report/Environmental Impact Statement were held throughout the
region in February and March 2000. More than 8,700 people attended
the meetings. The Corps received more than 230,000 written
comments.

The Final FR/EIS is scheduled for release to the public early
next year. A record of decision is expected in 2002 following a
public review period.

The Bonneville Power Administration, Bureau of Reclamation, and
Environmental Protection Agency were cooperating agencies in
developing the report. Other federal agencies, including the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service,
provided essential input.

An updated web site presents an overview of some of the
technical, economic, and environmental information developed for
the study, which represents more than five years of work by the
technical staff and engineers of Corps' Walla Walla District, and
other Pacific Northwest scientists, economists, engineers and
others. There was involvement throughout the process by regional
states, tribes and other stakeholders. Questions and answers have
been added to the site and include information developed for the
final report.

For more information on the Corps' Lower Snake River Juvenile
Salmon Migration Feasibility Study visit
http://www.nww.usace.army.mil/lsr.
 
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