Green River Diversion Structure Needs Additional NEPA Study
Green River, Utah - The Tusher Canyon Diversion structure, a 90-year old lowhead dam just upstream of the Town of Green River, is currently being reviewed for possible rehabilitation after the floods of 2011. The structure is the ONLY barrier to downstream navigability on the Green River from Flaming Gorge to Lake Powell, and American Whitewater is working to secure safe boat passage under various management alternatives.
Project Status – The NRCS and its contractors are currently developing a conceptual
design for the project and are examining all design elements of the project, including possible
boat passage. In conversations with AW staff, the project team recognizes that this design
element would be required to provide safe boat passage downstream past the diversion dam.
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Update – The project started out being analyzed under an Environmental Assessment which would have resulted in a “Finding of No Significant Impact” to the environment. During recent consultation with the Utah State Historic Preservation Office (Section 106), it has been determined that the structure is ~90 years old and is most likely eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Any modifications to the structure would be considered an “adverse effect” which may make it ineligible for listing after rehabilitation.
A wide range of alternatives is being considered for the project including No Action, Rehabilitate Dam in Place, Replace Dam, and others. Some of the impacts from these alternatives may be considered “significant” to cultural resources and as a result, NRCS has decided to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the project.
Public Comment – The initial public scoping period for the project occurred from October 30, 2012 to November 30, 2012. This scoping period was opened to allow the public and agencies to voice their opinion on conceptual design elements and resource concerns associated with the proposed project as outlined in the Scoping Report prepared for the project and available on the project website. NRCS is currently contemplating reopening the scoping period for the EIS and this would be announced in future project updates. Once the Draft EIS has been prepared, a second public comment period will be opened to allow the public and agencies a chance to comment on the Proposed Alternative for the project. A Draft EIS will be available for public review and comment in approximately 6 to 9 months (or sooner) depending on the outcome of the concept design studies and agency coordination.
What YOU Can Do - Take a minute to encourage the NCRS to re-open the scoping period for the EIS, and EMPHASIZE THE NEED FOR REHABILITATION AND SAFE BOAT PASSAGE at the Diversion Structure. Does a failing diversion structure deserve historical protection, at the cost of human safety? Letters and Emails can be sent to:
Greg Allington – McMillen, LLC
1401 Shoreline Dr.
Boise, ID 83702
Project Website – The Project website (http://www.ut.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/EWP/green_river/index.html) will be updated throughout the course of the NEPA process.