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Water resource management plan meetings coming up later this month

YAKIMA - The Bureau of Reclamation and Washington State Department of Ecology’s Office of Columbia River will conduct joint public scoping meetings this month for two environmental impact statements — one for the proposed Cle Elum Pool raise, and one for the Kachess Reservoir inactive storage and Keechelus-to-Kachess conveyance projects — three components of the Yakima River Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan under the Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Project.

The combined open houses/scoping meetings will be held from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., and from 5 to 7 p.m. on the following dates and locations:

• Nov. 20, 2013 - Yakima Area Arboretum, 1401 Arboretum Way, Yakima

• Nov. 21, 2013 - U.S. Forest Service Cle Elum Ranger District, 803 W. 2nd Street, Cle Elum

Ecology is joint lead with Reclamation in the preparation of the environmental impact statements, and they will satisfy the requirements of both the National Environmental Policy Act and the Washington State Environmental Policy Act.

The scoping meetings will give the public and agencies the opportunity to identify issues and concerns associated with the proposed projects and to identify other potential alternatives that could be considered in the environmental impact statements.

The integrated plan includes seven elements. They include fish passage at existing reservoirs; structural and operational changes to existing facilities; new or expanded storage reservoirs; groundwater storage; habitat/watershed protection and enhancement; enhanced water conservation; and market-based reallocation of water resources.

Additional information about these efforts can be found at: http://www.usbr.gov/pn/programs/yrbwep/index.html.

The draft environmental impact statements are expected to be issued in the summer of 2014, followed by an opportunity for public and agency review and comment. The final environmental impact statements are anticipated to be completed in the spring of 2015.

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