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Lemhi Valley River and Floodplain Restoration Projects (DOE/EA - 2133)

Lemhi County, Idaho
The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) has decided to provide funding for eight river and floodplain habitat restoration actions in the mainstem and tributaries of the Lemhi River in eastern Idaho designed to benefit fish species such as Chinook salmon, steelhead, and bull trout.  These actions include five mainstem and tributary river/stream restoration actions, two irrigation diversion relocations, and a culvert replacement as listed below. 
  • Lemhi Headwaters (river restoration)
  • Narrows Reach (river restoration)
  • Eagle Valley (river restoration)
  • Lemhi/Big Springs (river restoration)
  • L-58C (irrigation diversion relocation)
  • Canyon Creek Boundary (irrigation diversion relocation)
  • Hayden Creek (stream restoration)
  • Little Sawmill Culvert (culvert replacement)

These actions would be sponsored and managed by a number of entities, including the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG), Lemhi Regional Land Trust (LRLT), Lemhi Soil and Water Conservation District (LSWCD), and the Upper Salmon Basin Watershed Program of the State of Idaho’s Office of Species Conservation.

BPA also proposes to provide funding to the LSWCD for the Middle Eighteenmile and Canyon Creek Confluence projects. The projects would each restore channelized streams with no riparian habitat to recreate meandering streams with instream habitat elements (logs and brush), floodplain connection, and riparian vegetation along their banks.  Another project, the L-63 irrigation diversion weir removal, is proposed by the LRLT but awaits design finalization.  These projects are proposed for construction in 2021, and BPA has not yet made the decision to fund them.

To understand the potential environmental impacts of the projects, BPA prepared an environmental assessment (EA) following the procedures of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The EA analyzes the Lemhi Valley River and Floodplain Restoration Projects, as well as a No Action Alternative in which these projects would not be funded nor implemented. The EA describes anticipated impacts to natural and human resources and identifies mitigation measures to help avoid or minimize impacts. The draft EA was released for public review and comment in May 2020; comments were received on the draft EA from three entities. The EA analyzed eleven distinct projects, so a number of FONSIs are anticipated to be produced for various projects, or collections of projects, as they become ready for implementation.
The proposed schedule for the environmental review is as follows:
Scoping comment period                                                                 January 21 thru February 21, 2020
Draft EA available for public comment                                             March 23, 2020
Final EA                                                                                            Summer 2020
Finding of No Significant Impact (2020 projects)                              Summer 2020
Construction start                                                                           Summer 2020
Finding of No Significant Impact (2021 projects) (if warranted)        Spring/summer 2021

BPA has released its final EA and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for eight of the eleven projects. The FONSI includes a Mitigation Action Plan to help avoid or lessen potential impacts.  BPA has not yet made a funding decision for the Middle Eighteenmile, Canyon Creek Confluence, or the L-63 projects.

For environmental information, contact: 
Rob Shull
Toll-free: 800-622-4519
Environmental Protection Specialist
Direct line: 503-230-3962
CorSource Technology Group
Bonneville Power Administration – ECF-4
PO Box 3621
Portland, Oregon 97208-3621
Chad Hamel
Toll-free: 800-622-4519
Supervisory Environmental Protection Specialist
Direct line: 503-230-5564
Bonneville Power Administration – ECF-4
PO Box 3621
Portland, Oregon 97208-3621
 For project information, contact: 
Hannah Dondy-Kaplan
Toll-free: 800-622-4519
Fish and Wildlife Project Manager
Direct line: 503-230-4071
Bonneville Power Administration – EWM-4
PO Box 3621
Portland, Oregon 97208-3621
2020 Projects FONSI                         (06/18/2020)
2020 Projects Mitigation Action Plan    (June 2020)           

Final EA                                            (June 2020)              
Public Letter                                      (06/26/2020)
Comments received
Public Letter                                       (05/01/2020)
Draft EA                                              May 2020
Scoping comments received
Public Letter                                         (01/21/2020)
Project Map 
Comment Form