Eightmile Ranch Coho Acclimation Site (DOE/EA-1959)
Okanogan County, Washington
Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and the United States Forest Service, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, (Forest Service) are jointly preparing an environmental assessment for a project in the Methow Valley Ranger District. BPA is considering whether to fund the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation's (Yakama Nation) proposal to construct and operate an acclimation pond for coho salmon on the Eightmile Ranch, which is owned and operated by the Forest Service, approximately eight miles north of the town of Winthrop, Okanogan County, Washington. The Forest Service is considering whether to issue a Special Use Permit to the Yakama Nation for the construction and operation of the acclimation site. The Forest Service is also considering a project-specific amendment to Okanogan Forest Plan Standard and Guideline 9-4 that would allow for an intake to supply water to the acclimation site. The amendment would be necessary in order for the Forest Service to issue a special use permit.
The main feature of the site is an earthen pond approximately 1/3-acre in size. The pond would be excavated below the ground level and fenced. Locations being considered are at the south end of the Eightmile Ranch property east of the Westside Chewuch Road. Other components of the design include a surface water intake on the Chewuch River, buried surface and ground water supply pipelines, a buried discharge line back to the river, and a buried electrical power line to the pond.
The pond would be used to acclimate coho smolts for the Mid-Columbia Coho Restoration Program, funded in part by BPA and implemented by the Yakama Nation. The young coho would be held in the pond from March to May and then released into the Chewuch River approximately 10 miles above its confluence with the Methow River. BPA's Mid-Columbia Coho Restoration Program Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision (DOE/EIS-0425) (EIS) addressed the overall coho restoration program, with 11 acclimation sites in the Methow basin. Some of these sites proved not to be viable, so the Yakama Nation is proposing a new site at Eightmile Ranch. No additional coho would be produced or released for the program compared to the numbers presented in the EIS. The EIS that evaluates the overall program is available on the
Mid-Columbia Coho Restoration Project website.
To understand the potential environmental impacts of this proposal, BPA and the Forest Service will jointly prepare an environmental assessment (EA) following the procedures of the National Environmental Policy Act. The EA will study two locations for the acclimation pond, as well as a no action alternative under which the pond would not be built. The EA will describe anticipated impacts to natural and human resources and include mitigation measures that would help avoid or minimize impacts. During this process, we will work with landowners; federal, state and local agencies; interest groups; and tribes.
The preliminary EA will be available for review and comment in the winter of 2013/14. BPA and the Forest Service plan to produce a final EA in mid-2014. Prior to deciding to proceed with the proposed project, each agency will need to prepare Finding of No Significant Impact, or if there is a potential for significant environmental impacts, the agencies would need to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement.
BPA accepted scoping comments on this project through May 13, 2013. The comment period is now closed. All comments received are posted on the Eightmile Ranch Coho Acclimation Site
comments page. They will be addressed in the draft environmental assessment which is currently scheduled to be released in December 2013. Meanwhile, if you have other questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact BPA.
|For BPA environmental-related information, contact:
BPA Environmental Lead
Bonneville Power Administration - KEC-4
P.O. Box 3621
Portland, OR 97208-3621
For Forest Service environmental-related information, contact:
Forest Service Environmental Coordinator
Methow Valley Ranger District
24 West Chewuch Road
Winthrop, WA 98862
(All documents are in pdf format)
Public Letter (54 Kb) (04/12/2013)
Project Map (1.5 MB) (03/28/2013)
Schematic Drawing Map (553 Kb) (04/02/2013)
Comment Form (25 Kb) (04/12/2013)