Lower Snake River Programmatic Sediment Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
Image: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
We've been supporting the USACE Walla Walla District with preparing a Programmatic Sediment Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (PSMP EIS) since 2007. We worked collaboratively with the client to develop a strategy for scoping, stakeholder engagement, alternatives development, and programmatic NEPA compliance.
The PSMP EIS evaluated alternatives to manage sediment accumulation that affects existing authorized purposes of the four Lower Snake River reservoirs. This was a high-profile and controversial project due primarily to concerns about endangered species of Pacific Northwest salmon. The PSMP EIS included alternatives that defined broad programs for managing sediments through the implementation of future actions as they relate to maintaining the authorized project purposes of the Lower Snake River projects. It also addressed a short-term dredging proposal to re-establish the authorized dimensions of the navigation channel.
USACE issued two Records of Decision from this EIS, and successfully conducted the dredging in winter of 2014/2015. More recently, the decision regarding the long-term strategy for managing sediment withstood a legal challenge by project opponents.
During the Draft EIS preparation, the team raised the issue of how to incorporate climate change in this EIS. This proved to be a challenge, but we persisted, noting that the public would compel the analysis in the Final EIS. The USACE NEPA lead said that we did" ... the right thing in the face of adversity."