Draft Environmental Impact Statement For Fort Peck Dam Test Releases Available For Public Review

In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has prepared a draft environmental impact statement for proposed test releases from Fort Peck Dam, Montana for the benefit of federally endangered pallid sturgeon.

The draft EIS identifies and compares several alternatives and outlines in detail, the preferred alternative for assessing test flow capacity from Fort Peck Dam, to promote growth and survival of pallid sturgeon during the free swimming juvenile stage prior to their settling out in the headwaters of Lake Sakakawea. The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 requires USACE to assess and report the socio-economic and environmental effects of any test flow alternatives including the no action alternative.

The public is encouraged to review the draft environmental impact statement during the open comment period that ends on May 25. The draft Fort Peck test flows environmental impact statement can be accessed online at: https://www.nwo.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Planning/Project-Reports/. A hard copy of the Draft EIS will be available for viewing at the following locations:

Fort Peck Administrative Building, 301 E. Kansas St., Fort Peck, MT 59223; 406-526-3411

Williston Community Library, 1302 Davidson Drive, Williston, ND 58801, 701-774-8805.

A Notice of Availability (NOA) was posted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the Federal Register on March 26. A link to the NOA can be viewed online at: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/03/26/2021-06280/environmental-impact-statements-notice-of-availability.

Written comments should be sent to: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District; CENWO-PMA-C. ATTN: Fort Peck draft EIS comments; 1616 Capitol Avenue; Omaha, NE 68102-4901. Comments can also be emailed to: [email protected].

Comments must be postmarked or received no later than May 25. 

Due to ongoing COVID-19 related concerns with large gatherings and travel, public hearings during the comment period will be held virtually. Notification of public hearing dates and online access information will be announced as soon as available. 

Background: In the Jan. 19, 2018 amendment to the Oct. 30, 2017 Biological Assessment for the Operation of the Missouri River Mainstem Reservoir System, the Operation and Maintenance of the Bank Stabilization and Navigation Project, the Operation of the Kansas River Reservoir System, and the Implementation of the Missouri River Recovery Management Plan, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed, among other things, to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Missouri River Recovery Implementation Committee to “review previous information and information generated since the effects analysis to formulate test flow releases from Fort Peck Dam and an adaptive management framework for their implementation.” This commitment was relied upon by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service in its 2018 biological opinion finding that the USACE proposed action is “not likely to jeopardize” pallid sturgeon.

On Feb. 8, 2019, the Omaha District issued a notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement for the Fort Peck Dam test release study: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/02/08/2019-01469/notice-of-intent-to-prepare-an-environmental-impact-statement-for-implementing-test-releases-from. The EIS documents the formulation and evaluation of test flow alternatives from Fort Peck Dam intended to benefit the federally endangered pallid sturgeon.

The Richland County Commissioners submitted a comment May 12, 2021. The comment is available for the public to review here.


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