[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 204 (Friday, October 21, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 72788-72790]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-25375]


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DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Reclamation


Notice of Availability of the Final Environmental Impact 
Statement for the Lower Yellowstone Intake Diversion Dam Fish Passage 
Project, Dawson County, Montana

AGENCY: Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DoD; 
Bureau of Reclamation, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and Reclamation, as 
joint lead agencies, have prepared and made available the Lower 
Yellowstone Intake Diversion Dam Fish Passage Project Final 
Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIS). The Final EIS analyzes and 
discloses potential effects associated with the proposed Federal action 
to improve passage for endangered pallid sturgeon and other native fish 
at Intake Diversion Dam in the lower Yellowstone River while continuing 
the effective and viable operation of the Lower Yellowstone Project.

DATES: The Corps and Reclamation will not issue a final decision on the 
proposed action until at least 30 days after the date that the 
Environmental Protection Agency publishes notice of availability of the 
Final EIS. After the Final EIS has been available for 30 days, the 
Corps and Reclamation may complete a Record of Decision. The Record of 
Decision will state the action that the Corps and Reclamation select 
for implementation and will discuss factors considered in the decision.

ADDRESSES: The Final EIS may be viewed on Reclamation's Web site at 
www.usbr.gov/gp/mtao/loweryellowstone. Send requests for copies of the 
Final EIS to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Omaha District, ATTN: CENWO-
PM-AA, 1616 Capitol Ave. Omaha, NE 68102; or email to cenwo-planning@usace.army.mil. See the Supplementary Information section for 
locations where copies of the Final EIS are available for public 
review.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Tiffany Vanosdall, U.S. Army Corps 
of Engineers, 1616 Capitol Ave. Omaha, NE 68102, or 
tiffany.k.vanosdall@usace.army.mil.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Corps and Reclamation are issuing this 
notice

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pursuant to section 102(2)(c) of the National Environmental Policy Act 
of 1969 (NEPA), as amended, 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.; the Council on 
Environmental Quality's (CEQ) regulations for implementing the 
procedural provisions of NEPA, 43 CFR parts 1500 through 1508; the 
Department of the Interior's NEPA regulations, 43 CFR part 46.

Background Information

    Reclamation's Lower Yellowstone Project is located in eastern 
Montana and western North Dakota. Intake Diversion Dam is located 
approximately 70 miles upstream of the confluence of the Yellowstone 
and Missouri rivers near Glendive, Montana. The Lower Yellowstone 
Project was authorized by the Secretary of the Interior on May 10, 
1904. Construction of the Lower Yellowstone Project began in 1905 and 
included Intake Diversion Dam (also known as Yellowstone River 
Diversion Dam)--a wood and stone diversion dam that spans the 
Yellowstone River and diverts water into the Main Canal for irrigation. 
The Lower Yellowstone Project was authorized to provide a dependable 
water supply sufficient to irrigate approximately 54,000 acres of land 
on the benches above the west bank of the Yellowstone River. Water is 
also supplied to irrigate approximately 830 acres in the Intake 
Irrigation Project and 2,200 acres in the Savage Unit. The average 
annual volume of water diverted for these projects is 327,046 acre-
feet.
    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) listed the pallid 
sturgeon as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1990. 
Best available science suggests Intake Diversion Dam impedes upstream 
migration of pallid sturgeon and their access to spawning and larval 
drift habitats. The lower Yellowstone River is considered by the 
Service to provide one of the best opportunities for recovery of pallid 
sturgeon.
    Section 7(a)(2) requires each Federal agency to consult on any 
action authorized, funded, or carried out by the agency to ensure it 
does not jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered or 
threatened species. Reclamation has been in formal consultation with 
the Service to identify potential conservation measures to minimize 
adverse effects to pallid sturgeon associated with continued operation 
of the Lower Yellowstone Project. The Pallid Sturgeon Recovery Plan 
specifically identifies providing passage at Intake Diversion Dam to 
protect and restore pallid sturgeon populations. By providing passage 
at Intake Diversion Dam, approximately 165 river miles of spawning and 
larval drift habitat would become accessible in the Yellowstone River.
    Section 3109 of the 2007 Water Resources Development Act authorizes 
the Corps to use funding from the Missouri River Recovery and 
Mitigation Program to assist Reclamation in the design and construction 
of Reclamation's Lower Yellowstone Project at Intake, Montana for the 
purpose of ecosystem restoration. Planning and construction of the 
Intake Project is a Reasonable and Prudent Alternative for the Corps in 
the 2003 Missouri River Amended Biological Opinion as amended by letter 
exchange in 2009, 2010, and 2013. The Reclamation Act/Newlands Act of 
1902 (Pub. L. 161) authorizes Reclamation to construct and maintain the 
facilities associated with the Lower Yellowstone Project, which 
includes actions or modifications necessary to comply with Federal law 
such as the ESA.
    Analysis in the Final EIS serves to support a decision on the 
selection of an alternative. Current and past project information and 
analyses can be accessed at: www.usbr.gov/gp/mtao/loweryellowstone.
    The Corps and Reclamation are joint lead Federal agencies for the 
NEPA analysis process and preparation of the Final EIS. The Corps is 
the administrative lead for NEPA compliance activities during the 
preparation of the Final EIS. State, Federal, and local agencies with 
specialized expertise or jurisdictional responsibilities are 
participating as cooperating agencies. Cooperating agencies include the 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Western Area Power Administration; 
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks; Montana Department of Natural 
Resources and Conservation; and the Lower Yellowstone Irrigation 
Project.
    The purpose of the Lower Yellowstone Intake Diversion Dam Fish 
Passage Project is to improve passage for the endangered pallid 
sturgeon while continuing the effective and viable operation of the 
Lower Yellowstone Project, and contribute to ecosystem restoration. The 
Final EIS discloses the analysis of six alternatives, including a No 
Action Alternative.
    The No Action Alternative would continue the ongoing operations, 
maintenance, and rehabilitation of the Lower Yellowstone Project 
including diversion up to 1,374 cubic feet per second (cfs) of water 
through the screened headworks; rocking of the weir as needed to 
continue diversions during low flow periods; routine maintenance of the 
headworks, weir, and irrigation distribution facilities and pumps; 
rehabilitation of the trolley; and associated activities to comply with 
state and Federal law.
    The Rock Ramp Alternative includes abandonment of the existing weir 
in place; construction of a new concrete weir and shallow sloped rock 
ramp to improve instream fish passage; maintenance of the new weir and 
rock ramp, continued diversion up to 1,374 cfs through the screened 
headworks; and continued operation and maintenance of the irrigation 
distribution facilities and supplemental pumps.
    The Bypass Channel Alternative (Preferred Alternative) includes 
abandonment of the existing weir in place; construction of a new 
concrete weir; construction, operation, and maintenance of a two-mile 
long bypass channel for fish passage around the weir; placement of fill 
in the upstream portion of existing side channel for stabilization; 
continued diversion up to 1,374 cfs through the screened headworks; and 
continued operation and maintenance of the irrigation distribution 
facilities and supplemental pumps.
    The Modified Side Channel Alternative includes operation, 
maintenance, and rehabilitation of the existing weir and trolley; 
construction, operation, and maintenance of a 4.5-mile long bypass 
channel created by modifying the existing high-flow channel for fish 
passage around the weir; continued diversion up to 1,374 cfs through 
the screened headworks; construction, operation, and maintenance of an 
access bridge spanning the high-flow bypass channel; and continued 
operation and maintenance of the irrigation distribution facilities and 
supplemental pumps.
    The Multiple Pump Alternative includes the construction, operation, 
and maintenance of 5 screened surface pumping stations; removal of the 
existing weir; improved power infrastructure to increase capacity; land 
acquisition as necessary for power infrastructure and pump stations; 
continued diversion up to 1,374 cfs through the screened headworks and 
pumps as needed; and continued operation and maintenance of the 
irrigation distribution facilities and supplemental pumps.
    The Multiple Pumps with Conservation Measures Alternative includes 
the construction, operation, and maintenance of seven pumping stations 
each with six Ranney Wells (total of 42 Ranney Wells); removal of

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the existing weir; construction, operation, and maintenance of wind 
turbines and infrastructure to provide power to pumping stations; land 
acquisition as necessary for power infrastructure and pump stations; 
diversion up to 608 cfs through the screened headworks or by pumping 
depending upon river flow; reconstruction of the Main Canal; 
installation of water conservation measures such as conversion of flood 
irrigation to sprinkler, lining canals, and piping laterals; and 
continued operation and maintenance of the irrigation distribution 
facilities and supplemental pumps.
    A Notice of Availability for the Draft EIS was published in the 
Federal Register on June 3, 2016 (81 FR 35754). The comment period for 
the Draft EIS ended on July 28, 2016. Public meetings on the Draft EIS 
were held on Tuesday, June 28, 2016, from 5:30 to 9 p.m., in Sidney, 
MT; Wednesday, June 29, 2016, from 5:30 to 9 p.m., in Glendive, MT; and 
Thursday, June 30, 2016, from 5:30 to 9 p.m., in Billings, MT. The 
Final EIS contains responses to all comments received and reflects 
comments and any additional information received during the review 
period.
    Copies of the Final EIS are available for public review at the 
following locations:
    1. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1616 Capitol Ave., Omaha, NE 
68102.
    2. Bureau of Reclamation, Great Plains Region, 2021 4th Avenue 
North, Billings, MT 59101.
    3. Bureau of Reclamation, Montana Area Office, 2900 4th Avenue 
North, #303, Billings, MT 59101.
    4. Sidney Public Library, 121 3rd Avenue NW., Sidney, MT 59270.
    5. Glendive Public Library, 200 S. Kendrick Avenue, Glendive, MT 
59330.
    6. Billings Public Library, 510 N. Broadway, Billings, MT 59101.

Public Disclosure Statement

    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or any 
other personal identifying information in any communication, you should 
be aware that your entire communication--including your personal 
identifying information--may be made publicly available at any time. 
While you can request in your communication to withhold your personal 
identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we 
will be able to do so.

John W. Henderson,
Colonel, Corps of Engineers, District Commander.
Michael J. Ryan,
Regional Director, Great Plains Region, Bureau of Reclamation.
[FR Doc. 2016-25375 Filed 10-20-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3720-58-P