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Corps seeks Willamette Valley reservoir storage reallocation study review

Published Nov. 7, 2017
General Valley Aerials 4.4.09

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s system of 13 dams and reservoirs in the Willamette River basin are primarily for flood risk management; however, Oregon residents benefit from reservoir storage in other ways. The Corps is studying storage reallocation and is seeking comments on its draft integrated feasibility study report/environmental assessment and draft finding of no significant impact for the study.

PORTLAND, Ore. —The U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s system of 13 dams and reservoirs in the Willamette River Basin’s primary purpose is flood risk management. However, Oregon residents benefit from reservoir water in a variety of other ways, including hydropower generation and recreation. The Corps is in the process of determining if a reallocation of water storage could grant municipal and industrial water supply, irrigation and fish and wildlife better access to the stored water.

The Corps is studying this issue because demands on the Valley’s water supplies have changed due to increasing populations, development, irrigation and the listing of threatened or endangered fish species. Because of this, Portland District and the Oregon Water Resources Department are sponsoring a feasibility study to determine if and how to best reallocate reservoir space during the spring and summer months. 

 “This is our chance to use existing storage to provide future supply for the next 50 years,” said Laurie Nicholas, Portland District project manager for the feasibility study. “We’ve been working through this process, which has included public input, have developed a tentative plan and are seeking the public’s input on the plan,” she said. “We’re looking forward to more feedback from the public to continue refining our plan.”

The Corps and the water resources department are seeking comments on a draft integrated feasibility study report / environmental assessment, which includes and a finding of no significant impact for the study. The Corps has prepared these documents for this proposal in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act. The documents include a brief discussion of the need for the reallocation, as well as environmental considerations resulting from the reallocation. To review the draft assessment, view the public notice

Questions or comments regarding the draft report should be directed to, or to the address below. Mailed comments on this notice must be postmarked by  and sent to:

District Engineer
U.S. Army Corps of Engineer District, Portland
Attn:  CENWP-PM-E/David Griffith
P.O. Box 2946
Portland, Oregon  97208-2946

In your correspondence, please refer to public notice number CENWP-PM-E-18-01, Draft Integrated Feasibility Report / Environmental Assessment: Willamette Basin Review Feasibility Study and supply the date. If there are no responses received by the expiration date, the organizations will assume a “no comment” response. Additionally, the normal 30-day comment period has been extended to 45 days to account for the federal holidays during the comment period.

All comments received will become part of the administrative record and are subject to public release under the Freedom of Information Act, including any personally identifiable information such as names, phone numbers and addresses.

Public review helps the Corps consider the concerns of citizens and organizations by involving them in the environmental review process. The Corps understands that citizens often have valuable information about the places and resources they value. These draft documents provide the public with the means to be involved in the decision-making process by helping them to understand what we’re proposing and to offer their comments on our analysis of the effects of such actions.

Tom Conning

Release no. 17-054

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