Federal Register Notice of DEIS Availability: Friday, November 25, 2022
Public Comment Period: Friday, November 25, 2022, to Thursday, January 19, 2023, 11:59 p.m.
Federal Notice of Intent to Prepare an EIS: Monday, April 1, 2019; Federal Register 84 FR 12237
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Portland District, has completed a draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) that programmatically reviews operations and maintenance of USACE projects within Oregon’s Willamette River Basin. The DEIS has been prepared in compliance with Council on Environmental Quality National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations.
The DEIS is available on the USACE project website at: https://www.nwp.usace.army.mil/Locations/Willamette-Valley/System-Evaluation-EIS/
To meet the many purposes of the Willamette Valley System, USACE manages a complex operation that includes storing and releasing water from 13 Willamette River Basin system reservoirs to meet various needs and demands throughout the year such as flood control, fish and wildlife, hydropower, recreation, irrigation, water supply, water quality, and navigation.
The Proposed Action reviewed in this DEIS is continued operation and maintenance of the Willamette Valley System for specific, authorized purposes and in compliance with the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and all other applicable treaties, laws, and regulations. This DEIS review is at the program level rather than the site-specific project level; site-specific NEPA analyses would occur when projects are proposed as discussed in the programmatic DEIS.
The last programmatic EIS that evaluated the Willamette Valley System operations was completed in 1980. Over the ensuing four decades following completion of the 1980 EIS (1980 – 2022), operations have been modified and structural measures for fish passage and temperature control have been implemented to improve conditions for ESA-listed fish species. Information relevant to the environmental effects of operating the system has also been acquired since the 1980 EIS was finalized, including information related to ESA-listed fish species.
The DEIS describes and evaluates impacts related to a No Action Alternative and seven action alternatives that address the Proposed Action. A Preferred Alternative is also identified in the DEIS.
The alternatives are suites of measures for Willamette Valley System management options that vary among the alternatives. Measures are characterized into general categories, including flow, water quality, downstream fish passage, upstream fish passage, and measures common to all action alternatives such as gravel augmentation and operation and maintenance of adult fish facilities among others. Anticipated impacts were analyzed for all environmental and social resources potentially affected under each alternative.
Public Comment Process and Final EIS Preparation
USACE 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 DEIS based on public comments and/or information made available since publication of the DEIS. All public comments will be included in the USACE EIS record.
Public comments can be submitted in writing or via email correspondence to the following addresses. Please add “Willamette Valley System EIS” in a subject line of any correspondence.
Agency Contact for More Information:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Portland District Office
333 SW 1st Avenue
Portland, OR 97204
Email Address to Submit Public Comments:
Address to Send Comment Letters:
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.
In-person meetings will be held in early January 2023 and their time and location is currently to be determined. Once meeting venues are available, details will be posted on the project website.