Washington to Consider Other Yakima River Options

The Washington Department of Ecology is preparing a supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) that will explore additional options for improving water supplies and fish habitat in the Yakima River Basin.

The study will build on the Yakima River Basin Water Storage Feasibility Study released earlier this year that also included a review of a proposed reservoir in the Black Rock Valley east of Moxee, Wash.

Based on comments received on the federally sponsored Yakima River storage study and environmental impact statement, the agency has determined that it should evaluate water supply alternatives that weren't considered in the document released in January 2008.

The SEIS won't duplicate alternatives or analyses already presented in the Yakima storage EIS sponsored by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

The state agency has identified some preliminary projects for consideration. Fish passage at existing storage reservoirs and other structures will be evaluated; modifications to existing facilities and operations will be explored to optimize the basin's water supply; and habitat enhancements on the Yakima River and tributaries considered.

Agencies, affected tribes, and members of the public are invited to comment on the scope of the Supplemental EIS. Comments will be accepted on alternatives, mitigation measures, probable significant adverse impacts, and licenses or other approvals that may be required.

The comment period will be open through July 30, 2008. Information on scoping is available online at: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wr/cwp/images/pdf/scopingnotice_7-08.pdf.

Written comments may be sent to: Derek Sandison, Central Regional Director, Department of Ecology, 15 West Yakima Ave., Suite 200, Yakima, WA 98902-3452. Or emailed to: dsan461@ecy.wa.gov (please use "Yakima River Basin scoping comments" in the subject line).

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