Notice of Intent To Prepare the Columbia River System Operations Environmental Impact Statement, 67382-67383 [2016-23346]

Download as PDF 67382 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 190 / Friday, September 30, 2016 / Notices Alternative 2 would not store San JuanChama Project water in Elephant Butte Reservoir. Alternative 3 would not include the carryover accounting provision. Alternative 4 would not include the diversion ratio adjustment. Alternative 5 is the No Action Alternative and it would eliminate both the carryover accounting and diversion ratio adjustment from Rio Grande Project allocation and accounting procedures. The FEIS analyzes the effect of these five alternatives on (1) water resources (total storage, Elephant Butte Reservoir elevations, allocation, releases, net diversion, farm surface water deliveries, farm groundwater deliveries, groundwater elevations, and water quality); (2) biological resources (vegetation communities including wetlands, wildlife, aquatic species, and special status species and critical habitat); (3) cultural resources (historic properties, Indian sacred sites, and resources of tribal concern); and (4) socioeconomic resources (Indian trust assets, recreation, hydropower, regional economic impacts and economic benefits, and environmental justice). On January 15, 2014, a Notice of Intent was published in the Federal Register (79 FR 2691) inviting public scoping comments on the proposed action of continuing to implement the Operating Agreement through 2050. A Notice of Availability was published in the Federal Register on March 18, 2016 (81 FR 14886), and the public was invited to provide comments on the Draft EIS during an 83-day comment period ending on June 8, 2016. Public Disclosure mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, please be advised that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Dated: September 7, 2016. Brent Rhees, Regional Director, Upper Colorado Region. [FR Doc. 2016–23525 Filed 9–29–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4332–90–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:49 Sep 29, 2016 Jkt 238001 DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY name, address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. Bonneville Power Administration FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Reclamation [RR01041000, 16XR0680G3, RX.16786921.2000100] SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Notice of Intent To Prepare the Columbia River System Operations Environmental Impact Statement Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DoD; Bonneville Power Administration, Energy; Bureau of Reclamation, Interior. ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement. AGENCY: In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), and the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) (Action Agencies) intend to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) on the system operation and maintenance of fourteen Federal multiple purpose dams and related facilities located throughout the Columbia River basin. The Action Agencies will use this EIS process to assess and update their approach for long-term system operations and configuration through the analysis of alternatives and evaluation of potential effects to the human and natural environments, including effects to socio-economics and species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Action Agencies will serve as joint lead agencies in developing the EIS. DATES: Written comments for the Action Agencies’ consideration are due to the addresses below no later than January 17, 2017. Comments may also be made at public meetings. Information on the public meetings is provided under the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this notice. ADDRESSES: Written comments, requests to be placed on the project mailing list, and requests for information may be mailed by letter to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Northwestern Division Attn: CRSO EIS, P.O. Box 2870, Portland, OR 97208–2870; or online at comment@ crso.info. All comment letters will be available via the project Web site at www.crso.info. All personally identifiable information (for example, SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00094 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Call the toll-free telephone 1–(800) 290–5033 or email info@crso.info. Additional information can be found at the project Web site: www.crso.info. Background The fourteen Federal multiple purpose dams and related facilities are operated as a coordinated system within the interior Columbia River basin in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. A map identifying the locations of these dams can be found on the project Web site at www.crso.info. The Corps was authorized by Congress to construct, operate and maintain twelve of these projects for flood control, power generation, navigation, fish and wildlife, recreation, and municipal and industrial water supply purposes. The Corps’ projects that will be addressed in this EIS include Libby, Albeni Falls, Dworshak, Chief Joseph, Lower Granite, Little Goose, Lower Monumental, Ice Harbor, McNary, John Day, The Dalles, and Bonneville. Reclamation was authorized to construct, operate, and maintain two projects for purposes of flood control, power generation, navigation, and irrigation. The Reclamation projects that will be addressed in this EIS include Hungry Horse and Grand Coulee. BPA is responsible for marketing and transmitting the power generated by these dams. Together, these Action Agencies are responsible for managing the system for these various purposes. In the 1990s, the Action Agencies analyzed the socio-economic and environmental effects of operating the system in the Columbia River System Operation Review (SOR) EIS and issued respective Records of Decision in 1997 that adopted a system operation strategy, which included operations supporting ESA-listed fish while fulfilling all other congressionallyauthorized purposes. Since the completion of the SOR EIS, the Action Agencies have operated the system consistent with the analyses in the SOR EIS, while some changes to system operations have been adopted under subsequent ESA consultations and project-specific National Environmental Policy Act documents. E:\FR\FM\30SEN1.SGM 30SEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 190 / Friday, September 30, 2016 / Notices Proposal for New EIS The proposed Columbia River System Operations EIS will assess and update the approach for long-term system operations and configuration. In addition to evaluating a range of alternatives, the EIS will consider the direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of these alternatives on affected resources, including geology, soils, water quality and quantity, air quality, fish and wildlife (e.g., ESA-listed species and their designated critical habitat), floodplains, wetlands, climate, cultural resources, tribal resources, social and economic resources, and other resources that are identified during the scoping process. The impacts to the resources will be addressed in light of anticipated climate change impacts, such as warmer water temperatures, diminished snow-pack, and altered flows. The Action Agencies will evaluate a range of alternatives in the EIS, including a no-action alternative (current system operations and configuration). Other alternatives will be developed through the scoping period based on public input and Action Agency expertise, and will likely include an array of alternatives for different system operations and additional structural modifications to existing projects to improve fish passage including breaching one or more dams. The EIS will also identify measures to avoid, offset or minimize impacts to resources affected by system operations and configuration, where feasible. For instance, non-operational mitigation measures to address impacts to the fish resources, such as habitat actions in the tributaries and estuary, avian predation management actions, and conservation and safety net hatcheries, may be proposed. Additionally, the Action Agencies will comply with all applicable statutory and regulatory requirements in evaluating the proposed action, such as the ESA, Clean Water Act, Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), and Executive Orders, including E.O. 12898 Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations. mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES Request for Comments The Action Agencies are issuing this notice to: (1) Advise other Federal and state agencies, tribes, and the public of their plan to analyze effects related to system operations and configuration; (2) obtain suggestions and information that may inform the scope of issues and range of alternatives to evaluate in the EIS; and (3) provide notice and request VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:49 Sep 29, 2016 Jkt 238001 67383 Discovery Center, River Gallery Room, 5000 Discovery Drive, The Dalles, Oregon. • Wednesday, December 7, 2016, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Portland, Oregon. • Thursday, December 8, 2016, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., The Loft at the Red Building, 20 Basin St., Astoria, Oregon. • Tuesday, December 13, 2016, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., PST, webinar. For those that cannot participate in person, an online webinar will be provided to interested parties. The webinar will cover the Public Meetings material discussed in the in-person public scoping meetings. Detailed The Action Agencies will hold 15 instructions on how to participate in the public scoping meetings during the fall webinar may be found on the project and winter of 2016 to invite the public to comment on the scope of the EIS. The Web site at www.crso.info. To submit written comments, please follow the 15 public meetings will be held on: instructions in the ADDRESSES section of • Monday, October 24, 2016, 4 p.m. this notice. to 7 p.m., Wenatchee Community The Action Agencies will consider Center, 504 S. Chelan Ave., Wenatchee, requests for an extension of time for Washington. • Tuesday, October 25, 2016, 4 p.m. public comment and additional to 7 p.m., The Town of Coulee Dam, opportunities for public involvement if City Hall, 300 Lincoln Ave., Coulee requests are received in writing by Dam, Washington. December 1, 2016. Requests for • Wednesday, October 26, 2016, 4 additional time to comment and p.m. to 7 p.m., Priest River Community opportunities for public involvement Center, 5399 Highway 2, Priest River, should be sent to the address listed in Idaho. the ADDRESSES section of this notice. • Thursday, October 27, 2016, 4 p.m. Requests should include an explanation to 7 p.m., Kootenai River Inn Casino & of the specific purposes served by the Spa, 7169 Plaza St., Bonners Ferry, requested extension, and should explain Idaho. how the extension could benefit the • Tuesday, November 1, 2016, 4 p.m. National Environmental Policy Act to 7 p.m., Red Lion Hotel Kalispell, 20 process and analysis. Announcements North Main St., Kalispell, Montana. for any such further opportunities for • Wednesday, November 2, 2016, 4 public involvement, if appropriate given p.m. to 7 p.m., City of Libby City Hall, the court-ordered schedule for this EIS, 952 E. Spruce St., Libby, Montana. will be published in the Federal • Thursday, November 3, 2016, 4 Register and by news releases to the p.m. to 7 p.m., Hilton Garden Inn media, newsletter mailings, and posting Missoula, 3720 N. Reserve St., Missoula, on the project Web site. Montana. The draft EIS is scheduled to be • Monday, November 14, 2016, 4 p.m. published by March 2020 for public to 7 p.m., The Historic Davenport Hotel, review and comment, and after it is 10 South Post Street, Spokane, published, the Action Agencies will Washington. hold public comment meetings. The • Wednesday, November 16, 2016, 4 Action Agencies will consider public p.m. to 7 p.m., Red Lion Hotel Lewiston, comments received on the draft EIS and Seaport Room, 621 21st St., Lewiston, provide responses in the final EIS. Idaho. • Thursday, November 17, 2016, 4 Scott A. Spellmon, p.m. to 7 p.m., Courtyard Walla Walla, Brigadier General, US Army, Division The Blues Room, 550 West Rose St., Commander. Walla Walla, Washington. Elliot E. Mainzer, • Tuesday, November 29, 2016, 4 Administrator, Bonneville Power p.m. to 7 p.m., The Grove Hotel, 245 S. Administration. Capitol Blvd., Boise, Idaho. • Thursday, December 1, 2016, 4 p.m. Lorri J. Lee, to 7 p.m., Town Hall, Great Room, 1119 Regional Director—Pacific Northwest Region, Bureau of Reclamation. 8th Ave., Seattle, Washington. [FR Doc. 2016–23346 Filed 9–29–16; 8:45 am] • Tuesday, December 6, 2016, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., The Columbia Gorge BILLING CODE 4332–90–P public input on potential effects on historic properties from system operations and configuration in accordance with Section 106 of the NHPA (36 Code of Federal Regulations 800.2(d)(3)). The Action Agencies are inviting interested parties to provide specific comments no later than January 17, 2017, on issues the agencies should evaluate related to the Columbia River System Operations EIS. All comments and materials received, including names and addresses, will become part of the administrative record and may be released to the public. PO 00000 Frm 00095 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 9990 E:\FR\FM\30SEN1.SGM 30SEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 190 (Friday, September 30, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 67382-67383]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-23346]


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DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Bonneville Power Administration

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Reclamation

[RR01041000, 16XR0680G3, RX.16786921.2000100]


Notice of Intent To Prepare the Columbia River System Operations 
Environmental Impact Statement

AGENCY: Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DoD; 
Bonneville Power Administration, Energy; Bureau of Reclamation, 
Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, the 
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), Bureau of Reclamation 
(Reclamation), and the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) (Action 
Agencies) intend to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) on 
the system operation and maintenance of fourteen Federal multiple 
purpose dams and related facilities located throughout the Columbia 
River basin. The Action Agencies will use this EIS process to assess 
and update their approach for long-term system operations and 
configuration through the analysis of alternatives and evaluation of 
potential effects to the human and natural environments, including 
effects to socio-economics and species listed under the Endangered 
Species Act (ESA). The Action Agencies will serve as joint lead 
agencies in developing the EIS.

DATES: Written comments for the Action Agencies' consideration are due 
to the addresses below no later than January 17, 2017. Comments may 
also be made at public meetings. Information on the public meetings is 
provided under the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this notice.

ADDRESSES: Written comments, requests to be placed on the project 
mailing list, and requests for information may be mailed by letter to 
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Northwestern Division Attn: CRSO EIS, P.O. 
Box 2870, Portland, OR 97208-2870; or online at comment@crso.info. All 
comment letters will be available via the project Web site at 
www.crso.info. All personally identifiable information (for example, 
name, address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be 
publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information or 
otherwise sensitive or protected information.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Call the toll-free telephone 1-(800) 
290-5033 or email info@crso.info. Additional information can be found 
at the project Web site: www.crso.info.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The fourteen Federal multiple purpose dams and related facilities 
are operated as a coordinated system within the interior Columbia River 
basin in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. A map identifying the 
locations of these dams can be found on the project Web site at 
www.crso.info. The Corps was authorized by Congress to construct, 
operate and maintain twelve of these projects for flood control, power 
generation, navigation, fish and wildlife, recreation, and municipal 
and industrial water supply purposes. The Corps' projects that will be 
addressed in this EIS include Libby, Albeni Falls, Dworshak, Chief 
Joseph, Lower Granite, Little Goose, Lower Monumental, Ice Harbor, 
McNary, John Day, The Dalles, and Bonneville. Reclamation was 
authorized to construct, operate, and maintain two projects for 
purposes of flood control, power generation, navigation, and 
irrigation. The Reclamation projects that will be addressed in this EIS 
include Hungry Horse and Grand Coulee. BPA is responsible for marketing 
and transmitting the power generated by these dams. Together, these 
Action Agencies are responsible for managing the system for these 
various purposes.
    In the 1990s, the Action Agencies analyzed the socio-economic and 
environmental effects of operating the system in the Columbia River 
System Operation Review (SOR) EIS and issued respective Records of 
Decision in 1997 that adopted a system operation strategy, which 
included operations supporting ESA-listed fish while fulfilling all 
other congressionally-authorized purposes. Since the completion of the 
SOR EIS, the Action Agencies have operated the system consistent with 
the analyses in the SOR EIS, while some changes to system operations 
have been adopted under subsequent ESA consultations and project-
specific National Environmental Policy Act documents.

[[Page 67383]]

Proposal for New EIS

    The proposed Columbia River System Operations EIS will assess and 
update the approach for long-term system operations and configuration. 
In addition to evaluating a range of alternatives, the EIS will 
consider the direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of these 
alternatives on affected resources, including geology, soils, water 
quality and quantity, air quality, fish and wildlife (e.g., ESA-listed 
species and their designated critical habitat), floodplains, wetlands, 
climate, cultural resources, tribal resources, social and economic 
resources, and other resources that are identified during the scoping 
process. The impacts to the resources will be addressed in light of 
anticipated climate change impacts, such as warmer water temperatures, 
diminished snow-pack, and altered flows. The Action Agencies will 
evaluate a range of alternatives in the EIS, including a no-action 
alternative (current system operations and configuration). Other 
alternatives will be developed through the scoping period based on 
public input and Action Agency expertise, and will likely include an 
array of alternatives for different system operations and additional 
structural modifications to existing projects to improve fish passage 
including breaching one or more dams.
    The EIS will also identify measures to avoid, offset or minimize 
impacts to resources affected by system operations and configuration, 
where feasible. For instance, non-operational mitigation measures to 
address impacts to the fish resources, such as habitat actions in the 
tributaries and estuary, avian predation management actions, and 
conservation and safety net hatcheries, may be proposed.
    Additionally, the Action Agencies will comply with all applicable 
statutory and regulatory requirements in evaluating the proposed 
action, such as the ESA, Clean Water Act, Section 106 of the National 
Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), and Executive Orders, including E.O. 
12898 Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority 
Populations and Low-Income Populations.

Request for Comments

    The Action Agencies are issuing this notice to: (1) Advise other 
Federal and state agencies, tribes, and the public of their plan to 
analyze effects related to system operations and configuration; (2) 
obtain suggestions and information that may inform the scope of issues 
and range of alternatives to evaluate in the EIS; and (3) provide 
notice and request public input on potential effects on historic 
properties from system operations and configuration in accordance with 
Section 106 of the NHPA (36 Code of Federal Regulations 800.2(d)(3)).
    The Action Agencies are inviting interested parties to provide 
specific comments no later than January 17, 2017, on issues the 
agencies should evaluate related to the Columbia River System 
Operations EIS. All comments and materials received, including names 
and addresses, will become part of the administrative record and may be 
released to the public.

Public Meetings

    The Action Agencies will hold 15 public scoping meetings during the 
fall and winter of 2016 to invite the public to comment on the scope of 
the EIS. The 15 public meetings will be held on:
     Monday, October 24, 2016, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Wenatchee 
Community Center, 504 S. Chelan Ave., Wenatchee, Washington.
     Tuesday, October 25, 2016, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., The Town of 
Coulee Dam, City Hall, 300 Lincoln Ave., Coulee Dam, Washington.
     Wednesday, October 26, 2016, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Priest 
River Community Center, 5399 Highway 2, Priest River, Idaho.
     Thursday, October 27, 2016, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Kootenai 
River Inn Casino & Spa, 7169 Plaza St., Bonners Ferry, Idaho.
     Tuesday, November 1, 2016, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Red Lion 
Hotel Kalispell, 20 North Main St., Kalispell, Montana.
     Wednesday, November 2, 2016, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., City of 
Libby City Hall, 952 E. Spruce St., Libby, Montana.
     Thursday, November 3, 2016, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Hilton 
Garden Inn Missoula, 3720 N. Reserve St., Missoula, Montana.
     Monday, November 14, 2016, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., The Historic 
Davenport Hotel, 10 South Post Street, Spokane, Washington.
     Wednesday, November 16, 2016, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Red Lion 
Hotel Lewiston, Seaport Room, 621 21st St., Lewiston, Idaho.
     Thursday, November 17, 2016, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Courtyard 
Walla Walla, The Blues Room, 550 West Rose St., Walla Walla, 
Washington.
     Tuesday, November 29, 2016, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., The Grove 
Hotel, 245 S. Capitol Blvd., Boise, Idaho.
     Thursday, December 1, 2016, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Town Hall, 
Great Room, 1119 8th Ave., Seattle, Washington.
     Tuesday, December 6, 2016, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., The Columbia 
Gorge Discovery Center, River Gallery Room, 5000 Discovery Drive, The 
Dalles, Oregon.
     Wednesday, December 7, 2016, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Oregon 
Convention Center, 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Portland, 
Oregon.
     Thursday, December 8, 2016, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., The Loft at 
the Red Building, 20 Basin St., Astoria, Oregon.
     Tuesday, December 13, 2016, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and 3 
p.m. to 4:30 p.m., PST, webinar. For those that cannot participate in 
person, an online webinar will be provided to interested parties. The 
webinar will cover the material discussed in the in-person public 
scoping meetings. Detailed instructions on how to participate in the 
webinar may be found on the project Web site at www.crso.info. To 
submit written comments, please follow the instructions in the 
ADDRESSES section of this notice.
    The Action Agencies will consider requests for an extension of time 
for public comment and additional opportunities for public involvement 
if requests are received in writing by December 1, 2016. Requests for 
additional time to comment and opportunities for public involvement 
should be sent to the address listed in the ADDRESSES section of this 
notice. Requests should include an explanation of the specific purposes 
served by the requested extension, and should explain how the extension 
could benefit the National Environmental Policy Act process and 
analysis. Announcements for any such further opportunities for public 
involvement, if appropriate given the court-ordered schedule for this 
EIS, will be published in the Federal Register and by news releases to 
the media, newsletter mailings, and posting on the project Web site.
    The draft EIS is scheduled to be published by March 2020 for public 
review and comment, and after it is published, the Action Agencies will 
hold public comment meetings. The Action Agencies will consider public 
comments received on the draft EIS and provide responses in the final 
EIS.

Scott A. Spellmon,
Brigadier General, US Army, Division Commander.

Elliot E. Mainzer,
Administrator, Bonneville Power Administration.

Lorri J. Lee,
Regional Director--Pacific Northwest Region, Bureau of Reclamation.
[FR Doc. 2016-23346 Filed 9-29-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4332-90-P