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Big Bear Falls Fish Passage Project (DOE/EA-2120)
Latah County, ID
The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) is proposing to fund Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG) to enhance passage for steelhead past Big Bear Falls, a natural bedrock waterfall on private land within the Potlatch Watershed in Idaho. Studies conducted by IDFG provide evidence that steelhead historically accessed the entire Big Bear Creek drainage. Over the last century, human-induced changes within the watershed have reduced the watershed’s ability to store water, making spring runoff more intense over shorter windows and limiting adult steelhead migration and passage around the falls. IDFG is proposing to modify the vertical profile of Big Bear Falls to create a series of jump pools that provide access to 20 kilometers of habitat above the falls that were historically accessible. Construction would occur in late Summer 2021.

To understand the potential environmental impacts of this proposal, BPA will prepare an environmental assessment (EA) following the procedures of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The EA will analyze the Big Bear Falls Fish Passage Project, as well as a no-action alternative in which no funding would be granted and no project construction would occur. The EA will describe anticipated impacts to natural and human resources and will identify mitigation measures to help avoid or minimize impacts.  During this process, BPA will work with landowners, tribes, Federal, state, and local agencies, and interest groups.

The proposed schedule for the environmental review is as follows:

​Scoping comment period
Draft EA available for public comment
Final EA
Finding of No Significant Impact (if warranted)
if decision to build, construction start
​July 22, 2019 - August 22, 2019
Winter 2020
Spring 2021
Spring 2021
Late Summer 2021

The public scoping period ended August 22, 2019. No comments were received. BPA is now in the process of preparing the draft EA.


For environmental information, contact:
Carolyn Sharp  
Environmental Protection Specialist
Bonneville Power Administration - ECF-4
PO Box 3621
Portland, OR 97208 -3621

Toll-free:  800-622-4519
Direct line:  503-230-5206


For project information, contact:
Matthew Schwartz
Project Manager
Bonneville Power Administration - EWM-4
PO Box 3621
Portland, OR 97208 -3621

Toll-free:  800-622-4519
Direct line:  503-230-4225


Scoping comments received
Public letter             (07/22/2019)
Project Map             (07/22/2019)
Comment Form        (07/22/2019)