1.0 Introduction The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF), as the project sponsor, are analyzing alternatives to repair damage to the Green River diversion structure from the late 2010 and early 2011 (2010/2011) flood events. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is proposing to install a fish barrier as part of this project, through funding from the United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBOR), at the entrance to the west irrigation and hydropower plant canal to prevent Endangered Species Act (ESA) listed fish species from entering the canal and/or hydropower plant. NRCS, as the lead federal agency, is initiating the NEPA analysis in the form of an Environmental Assessment (EA) to analyze impacts to the natural and human environment from this project. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) is proposing to fund the installation of the fish barrier and is a cooperating agency in the NEPA analysis. The EA will comprise of the following elements: • Alternatives analysis of potential options for structure rehabilitation; • Detailed analysis of resources that may be affected for each of the alternatives that may satisfy the purpose and need for the project; • Identification of potential mitigation measures to reduce or eliminate potential impacts; and • A plan of public participation and government agency coordination throughout development of the EA. The participation of the public is a vital component of the project so that those who are interested in or potentially affected by proposed alternatives have an opportunity to share their concerns and provide input regarding the EA during the initial stages of the process. This Scoping Report outlines the comments received from the agencies and general public during the scoping process.
1.1 Project Purpose and Need The Green River diversion structure was constructed in the early 1900’s and has been modified over the years to maintain the structure. During the 2010/2011 flood events, flows in the Green River caused severe damage to the diversion structure compromising its structural integrity. If the dam fails water service to two irrigation canals, a historic irrigation water delivery system and one hydropower plant would be eliminated. Repairing the dam would directly result in these resources remaining open and usable. The purpose and need of the project is to maintain existing functions of the diversion dam for water delivery to irrigation canals and the powerhouse.
1.2 Scoping Goals and Objectives The main goal of public participation is to involve a diverse group of public and government agency participants to solicit input and provide timely information throughout the NEPA review process regarding their concerns for the project and the proposed alternatives. The main goals are to 1) establish ongoing communication with stakeholders, agencies and the general public, 2) educate the public about the environmental review process and each party’s role, 3) evaluate the effectiveness of public participation activities on a continual basis and utilize the most effective techniques throughout the NEPA process, and 4) document all public and government agency input.
………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………….. Environmental Assessment Introduction The NRCS is proposing to partially fund, through the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program, a project to address and reduce flood damage to the existing Green River diversion structure. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Council on Environmental Quality’s regulations at 40 CFR Parts 1500-1508 require an evaluation of potential environmental impacts associated with federal projects and actions. The project will require an environmental analysis and the environmental impacts will be documented in the form of an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the project. Project Purpose and Need In accordance with the rehabilitation provisions of the NRCS’s EWP program, the area is eligible for rehabilitation funding due to recent flood damage in late 2010 and early 2011. The purpose of the project is to rehabilitate the structure so it continues to function as originally intended. Public Participation The participation of the public is a vital component of the project so that those who are interested in or potentially affected by the proposed project have an opportunity to share their comments, ideas, and concerns regarding actions during the initial scoping stage of the NEPA process. You are encouraged to attend the public meeting and express your comments, ideas, and concerns. You may also submit your comments via letter, email or fax anytime during the public comment period. For comments to be considered and to become part of the public record for the projects, we need to receive them by close-of business on November 30, 2012.
American Whitewater staff traveled to Green River, UT in late March to meet with private water users and state agencies, and to participate in the official opening of the new boat passage through the Green River Diversion (Tusher Dam). Completion of the boat passage has freed the Green River from its last in-stream obstruction between the Flaming Gorge Dam and the confluence with the Colorado River – over 400 floatable river miles through iconic canyons and historic landmarks. It has a been a long process, and our work isn’t over yet! As your boating representative, American Whitewater will continue to work closely with the dam operators and Utah’s Division of State Lands (FFSL) to ensure that the boat passage meets the needs of the public during its inaugural year.
The Green River, from the Flaming Gorge Dam to its confluence with the Colorado River, is known for its beautiful and iconic multiday paddling trips enjoyed by boaters and anglers. For as long as any of us can remember, the only man-made obstruction to boaters and fish on this stretch has been the Green River Diversion Dam (i.e., Tusher Dam), located just over 6 miles upstream of the town of Green River, UT and more than 120 miles above its confluence with the Colorado River. Since it was first built in 1913, the Tusher Dam and the keeper hydraulic it created forced boaters to either portage around it or run the unsafe hazard, while negatively affecting fish migration patterns.
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