Grower comments needed on Columbia River System Operations draft EIS

The Columbia River Systems Operations draft EIS was released today by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation and Bonneville Power Administration.

The EIS presents a no-action course and five alternatives, one of which includes breaching the four lower Snake River dams.

According to the executive summary, “Despite the major benefits to fish expected from (breaching the lower Snake River dams), this alternative was not identified as the Preferred Alternative due to the adverse impacts to other resources such as transportation, power reliability and affordability, and greenhouse gas emissions.”

The Preferred Alternative comprises operational and structural measures that allow federal agencies to operate the integrated system to meet congressionally authorized purposes and EIS objectives, including those that benefit Endangered Species Act–listed species. In the executive summary, the preferred alternative calls for “… a flexible spill operation that spills more for fish passage when power generation is less valuable and spills less when power generation is more valuable.”

Growers are encouraged to submit comments on the draft EIS. The comment period runs from Feb. 28 to April 13. There will also be public comment meetings throughout March across the PNW. Responses to substantive comments will be included in the final EIS, expected in summer 2020. Records of decision documenting final recommended actions will be issued in September 2020.
 
The EIS, the meeting schedule and a link to submit comments are available at https://www.nwd.usace.army.mil/CRSO/