Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Columbia River Water Management Program

This State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) has been prepared to assist the Department of Ecology (Ecology), other participating agencies and entities, and the public in evaluating conceptual approaches to the development of a Columbia River Water Management Program.  The Management Program is being developed to implement the Columbia River Water Management Act (Chapter 90.90 RCW), passed by the state legislature in February 2006.

The purpose of the legislation is to develop new water supplies "to meet the economic and community development needs of people and the instream flow needs of fish."  The legislation directs Ecology to "aggressively pursue" the development of water supplies.  The purpose of this programmatic EIS is to describe the potential impacts that could be associated with the components of the Management Program.  The main components evaluated in this document are storage, conservation, Voluntary Regional Agreements, instream resources, and policy alternatives for implementing requirements of the legislation.  The programmatic EIS also evaluates potential impacts associated with three actions identified for early implementation-drawdowns of Lake Roosevelt, a supplemental feed route to supply Potholes Reservoir, and the proposed Columbia-Snake River Irrigators Association Voluntary Regional Agreement.  While this EIS evaluates a programmatic or non-project action, it is likely that a number of the major elements proposed under the Management Program will trigger additional project level environmental review under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).

Background

Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement

From May 5, 2006 through June 5, 2006, Ecology conducted scoping on the Draft Programmatic EIS. Scoping was the initial step in producing an environmental impact statement for the program.  During the scoping period, interested agencies, tribes, and the public were invited to provide comments regarding what issues they would like to see addressed in an environmental impact statement for the Columbia River Basin Water Management Program.  Comments were accepted via regular mail and email.  In addition, both hand written comments and transcribed verbal comments were accepted at the four public open houses held in Wenatchee, Colville, Moses Lake and Kennewick during the scoping period.

The comments received from interested agencies, tribes and the public during the scoping process helped define the alternatives and issues to be evaluated in the Draft Programmatic EIS.

On October 5, 2006, Ecology released the Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Columbia River Basin Water Management Program for a 45-day public comment period.  The comment period ended on November 20, 2006.  Comments were submitted by mail, email, online web forms, and via testimony delivered at open houses held in Colville, Kennewick, Moses Lake, and Wenatchee. 

Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement

Based upon comments received, Ecology prepared the Final Programmatic EIS for the Columbia River Water Management Program.  The Final Programmatic EIS was released on February 15, 2007.
 


SEPA Addendums to EIS

 


View the Final EIS - Complete documents

  • Volume I - Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (Large file 35MB pdf pdf)
  • Volume II - Comments and Responses  (Large file 19MB pdf pdf)
  • February 15, 2007 News Release - Water program offers balance to meet environmental, economic needs

View individual chapters of the document:

Volume I - Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement
Volume II - Comments and Responses

 


Additional EIS Scoping Information

Scoping is the initial step in producing an environmental impact statement for the program.  During the scoping period, interested agencies, tribes, and the public had the opportunity to provide comments to influence what is covered in the EIS.

News Releases

  • February 15, 2007 - Water program offers balance to meet environmental, economic needs
  • October 5, 2006 - Details on Columbia River water plan available for review
  • May 5, 2006 - Ecology seeking input on Columbia River water management