Yakima River Basin Water Storage Feasibility Study; Benton, Yakima, and Kittitas Counties, WashingtonINT-DES 08-03
Pursuant to section 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended, the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) has prepared a combined Draft Planning Report and Environmental Impact Statement (Draft PR/EIS) on the Yakima River Basin Water Storage Feasibility Study (Storage Study). The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) is a joint lead with Reclamation in the preparation of the Draft PR/EIS which will also be used to comply with requirements of the Washington State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). The cooperating agencies on this study are Yakima County; the U.S. Department of the Army: Yakima Training Center and the Seattle District of the U.S. Corps of Engineers; and the U.S. Department of Energy: Office of River Protection. The purpose of the Yakima River Basin Water Storage Feasibility Study is to evaluate alternatives that would create additional water storage for the Yakima River basin and assess their potential to supply the water needed for ecosystem aquatic habitat, basin-wide agriculture, and municipal demands. The need for the study is based on the existing finite water supply and limited storage capability of the Yakima River basin in low water years. This finite supply and limited storage capacity do not meet the water supply demands in all years and result in significant adverse impact to the Yakima River basin's economy, which is agriculture-based, and to the basin's aquatic habitat, specifically, anadromous fisheries. The study seeks to identify means of increasing water storage available, including storage of Columbia River water, for purposes of improving anadromous fish habitat and meeting irrigation and municipal water supply needs.