UPDATE (JAN. 6, 2023)
The public comment period for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement has been extended to Feb. 23, 2023, 11:59 p.m. More details below.
The Willamette Valley System Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement has been released. View it here.

We are now collecting public comments on our Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement. Public comments can be submitted in writing or via email correspondence to the following addresses:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Attn: CENWP-PME-E / Willamette EIS
P.O. Box 2946
Portland, OR 97208-2946

willamette.eis@usace.army.mil

Please add “Willamette Valley System Draft EIS” in the subject line of submitted letters.

E-mail us if you would like to be added to our distribution list for updates.

Willamette Valley System Environmental Impact Statement - Update

The Portland District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has prepared a Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) to address the continued operations and maintenance of the Willamette Valley System in accordance with authorized project purposes while meeting Endangered Species Act (ESA) requirements. The DEIS can be accessed from this webpage.

Cottage Grove Dam and Reservoir sits on the Coast Fork of the Willamette River, south of Eugene, Oregon. Cottage Grove is one 13 dams and reservoirs in the Willamette Valley System and the Corps’ continued operations and maintenance of the facility will be evaluated in the system-wide Environmental Impact Statement slated to kick-off this spring.

Background

Foster Dam and Reservoir manages water coming from the South Santiam River, and is located in Sweet Home, Oregon. Foster Dam and its accompanying facilities will be part of the Willamette Valley System Environmental Impact Statement. Additional facilities included at Foster are an Adult Fish Collection Facility and a fish hatchery.

The Corps operates and maintains 13 multipurpose dams, reservoirs, and hatchery programs across Oregon's Willamette River Basin. Management of the Willamette Valley System for its authorized purposes necessitates ongoing and future operation of the system and maintenance at any given project. Operation and maintenance must respond to changes in Willamette River Basin conditions as well as to new information related to system operations and technology, the affected environment, policies, and regulations such as the ESA.

The most recent National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) evaluation for the overall Willamette Valley System operations and maintenance program was completed in a 1980 EIS. Since then, operations have been modified and structural improvements for fish passage and temperature control have been implemented to address effects of the Willamette Valley System on ESA-listed fish. NEPA evaluations since the 1980 EIS have been project-specific. There is also new information relevant to the environmental impacts of operating the Willamette Valley System that the Corps considers in this DEIS.

The Corps has re-initiated formal consultation under Section 7 of the ESA on the National Marine Fisheries Service’s 2008 Biological Opinion for the Willamette River Basin Flood Control Project. This NEPA process will inform the ESA Section 7 consultation process.

Notice of Intent to Prepare and Environmental Impact Statement

The Corps noticed the public of its intent to prepare an EIS on April 1, 2019.  The notice can be accessed in the Federal Register – 84 FR 12237. View it here.

Public Review and Comment Period Open

The Willamette Valley System Operations and Maintenance Draft EIS public comment period has been extended for an additional 35 days. The 90-day comment period for the DEIS review now expires at 11:59 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023. This extension will also be noticed by the Environmental Protection Agency in the Federal Register on Friday, Jan. 13, 2023.

Revised Public Comment Period: Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, to Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023, 11:59 p.m.

Download and Review the Draft Environmental Impact Statement

Submitting Comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement

The Corps will consider all comments received during the comment period and will respond to comments in the Final EIS. If applicable, the Final EIS will reflect changes to the Draft EIS based on public comments and/or information made available since publication of the Draft EIS. All public comments will be included in the Corps EIS record.

Public comments must be submitted in writing or via email correspondence by email or U.S. Postal Service mail. 

To Submit Comments by Email

To Submit Comments through the Postal Service

Send email correspondence to:

willamette.eis@usace.army.mil

Please add “Willamette Valley System Draft EIS” in a subject line of the email. 

 

 

Send U.S. Postal Service comments to:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Attn: CENWP-PME-E / Willamette EIS
P.O. Box 2946
Portland, OR 97208-2946

Please add “Willamette Valley System Draft EIS” in the subject line of submitted letters.

Visit our Environmental Impact Statement Virtual Room

As part of this planning process, the Corps is offering the public the chance to view the progress through virtual reality. Corps staff encourages the public to view a virtual room, which contains videos, digital boards, slides, and maps intended to help attendees understand the purpose of the EIS and the National Environmental Policy Act process. Additionally, viewers can access information on the alternatives analyzed in the EIS and on the Corps’ Preferred Alternative.

The virtual room is available now.

Upcoming Public Information Meetings

The Corps hosted two virtual information sessions and four in-person public open houses during the Draft EIS public comment period.

Virtual Public Information Meetings

The Corps held virtual information sessions Dec. 6 and Dec. 8. You can view recordings of each session below:

In-Person Public Information Meetings

The Corps held in-person public information meetings Jan. 9-12 in Springfield, Eugene, Sweet Home, and Stayton. 

NEPA - The Environmental Policy Act Process, Scoping Phase, and Your Role

The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) is one of the nation’s oldest environmental laws that requires federal agencies to make environmentally responsible decisions. NEPA requires all federal agencies to consider and disclose the environmental effects of their proposed actions in a NEPA review as either an Environmental Assessment, Environmental Impact Statement, or Categorical Exclusion. An Environmental Impact Statement is prepared when impacts to the environment from proposed federal actions could potentially be significant and for other reasons such as federal agency planning purposes.  The Citizen's Guide to NEPA explains this law and how to effectively submit your input.

The environmental review process under NEPA provides an opportunity for you to be involved in the federal agency decision-making process. It will help you understand what the federal agency is proposing, how you can offer your thoughts on alternative ways for the agency to accomplish what it is proposing, and how you can offer your comments on the agency’s analyses of the anticipated environmental effects of the alternatives.

Examples of areas for evaluation in the Draft EIS include:

Air Quality
Cultural Resources
Floodplain Management
Economic Impacts
Environmental Justice
Land Use
Migratory Birds
Social Considerations
Endangered Species Act
Tribal Interests
Vegetation
Wetlands
Water Quality

Environmental Impact Statement Public Input Opportunities

Scoping - Complete

Notice for public scoping input: Comment deadline closed June 28, 2019. 

The scoping process is intended to collect information, ideas, and concerns from the public, tribes, agencies, and others for federal agency consideration in developing the scope of the NEPA analyses.

This input informs the analyses of potential effects, the suite of alternatives that meet the project's purpose and need, and the criteria for evaluation and comparison of alternatives. 

In addition to public scoping, publication of the Draft EIS provides an opportunity to comment (public meetings, website, letters, e-mails, etc.) and to meet with the Corps' project team. The Corps will consider all comments provided on the Draft EIS before finalizing the EIS.

Draft EIS - Complete

The Draft EIS describes the federal agency’s proposed action and the purpose and need for the proposed action, and also identifies alternatives to be analyzed in detail. Analyses of potential impacts under all affected environmental and socioeconomic resources are presented with comparisons of direct, indirect, and cumulative environmental effects among the alternatives, including the federal agency’s Preferred Alternative.

Notice of Availability for Public Review and Comment – Complete

View Notice of Availability

Final EIS - Pending

A Final EIS will be prepared, which will include responses to substantive comments. The DEIS will be modified as needed based on substantive comments and new information received since the DEIS was published, as warranted.

Record of Decision - Pending

The Corps will prepare its Record of Decision following completion of the Final EIS. The Record of Decision and the Final EIS will be noticed in the Federal Register for 30 days. Once signed, the Record of Decision becomes the Corps' final decision on the selected alternative for its management of the Willamette Valley System operations and maintenance program. Future, site-specific NEPA analyses will be conducted that tier from this decision and from the analyses in the Final EIS as needed for various, specific project actions.

River Basin Balancer Game

Try your hand at balancing the authorized purposes for operating a main stem inland waterway. Even though this game was designed for the Missouri River Basin, many of the principles apply to Portland District's management of dams in the Willamette and Rogue river basins.

The River Basin Balancer Game offers insight into an inland waterway and a system of reservoirs, which are operated with a goal for serving each of the benefits, flood risk management, navigation, hydropower, irrigation, water supply, recreation, fish and wildlife, and water quality, for which many USACE reservoirs were authorized and constructed. Users can take charge of river operations and experience the unique challenges presented when managing reservoir operations in a variety of weather conditions across a geographically diverse basin. 

Click the image to play the game

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