Final EIS Determines That the Bypass Channel is the Best Option
In the EIS that was released on Friday, Oct. 14th, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation determined that the Bypass Channel Alternative was the best option, both economically and environmentally, in regards to the Lower Yellowstone Intake Diversion Dam Fish Passage project.
The EIS was developed to better determine how fish passage, especially that of the endangered pallid sturgeon, can be improved with continued viable operation of the Lower Yellowstone Irrigation Project (LYIP). The LYIP provides water to over 50,000 acres of land from Intake into western North Dakota and is vital to agriculture in the area.
The EIS weighed the impact of a No Action Alternative, as well as Action Alternatives including rock ramp, bypass channel, modified side channel, multiple pumps and multiple pumps with conservation measures. There was an initial public comment period from June 3 – July 28.
It was determined that the bypass alternative would allow the pallid sturgeon the best opportunity to repopulate.
"There has to be a balance between fish and farmers," commented Tyler Johnson with the Reclamation Public Affairs Office. "Neither can be excluded; they must be considered in total and the bypass is the preferred alternative."
There is a 30-day public comment period, until Nov. 14th, thereafter the Corps and Reclamation will issue a Record of Decision based on the final EIS, discussing plans and commitments.
To view the Final Environmental Impact Statement, please visit http://www.usbr.gov/gp/mtao/loweryellowstone/. Comments can be submitted via email to [email protected] or by to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Omaha District, ATTN: CENWO-PM-AA, 1616 Capitol Avenue, Omaha, NE 68102.