PORTLAND, Ore. - Meetings are planned for June 6 and June 7 to take public comment on a proposed draft environmental impact statement for the Chief Joseph Hatchery program.
Bonneville Power Administration and the Colville Confederated Tribes are seeking public comment on the document.
The proposed hatchery is designed to help produce more chinook salmon in the Okanogan River sub-basin to help mitigate for the effects of federal dams on the Columbia River, according to a BPA announcement.
The draft EIS describes the proposed hatchery facilities and the chinook production program, and provides the environmental effects expected from facility construction and program operations.
"Comments from the public on the DEIS help project partners refine the environmental analysis and decide whether to implement the program," said Mickey Carter, BPA environmental specialist.
Comments on the proposal will be accepted through June 18.
The main hatchery complex would be just below Chief Joseph Dam on lands managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Juvenile fish acclimation and release ponds would be located strategically throughout the Okanogan Valley, according to the BPA announcement.
A combination of modified, existing irrigation ponds and newly constructed ponds would be used for fish acclimation.
The Corps and Oroville-Tonasket Irrigation District cooperated on design and site work for the project. BPA produced the draft EIS and would fund construction and operation of the facilities, if approved.
"We used the latest available information to carefully design this salmon program and its facilities in order to meet fish production goals," said Joe Peone, the tribe's director of fish and vildlife. "At the same time, we also worked to be cost conscious and environmentally sensitive, especially toward natural salmon populations.
"We are particularly excited about the potential for this program to build chinook runs to the point where ceremonial, subsistence and recreational fishing may be allowed," he said.
Public meetings to review the project and draft EIS are set for:
- 6-8 p.m. June 6 at the Okanogan County PUD auditorium, Okanogan.
- 4-6 p.m. June 7 at the Chief Joseph Dam commons building conference room, Bridgeport.
A final EIS is scheduled for completion this fall. BPA officials say they expect to issue a record of decision in the fall of 2007 on whether to implement the project.
Documents are available online at www.efw.bpa.gov/environmental_services/Document_Library/Chief_Joseph/.
Copies also may be requested from BPA's document request line, 1 (800) 622-4520.