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Marys Peak BPA Communications Site Project (DOE/EA-2050)
Benton County, Oregon

PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) needs to maintain and upgrade the existing BPA communications site located at Marys Peak, approximately 15 miles southwest of Corvallis, in Benton County, Oregon. Some communications equipment at the site is outdated and unstable and needs to be replaced. The site needs a more reliable back-up power source due to potential power outages.

The BPA communications network is essential for the safety and reliability of BPA’s power transmission system. The existing Marys Peak BPA communications site provides for real-time voice communications, via VHF radio, between BPA’s dispatch and control centers and the BPA field crews working in the region. This communications network allows for critical information exchange during emergencies and safe and timely power restoration during outages.

The communications site is located on lands managed by the United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service (USFS), Central Coast Ranger District of the Siuslaw National Forest. The site is located within the Marys Peak Scenic Botanical Area, which is managed by the USFS under the terms of the Siuslaw National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan (USDA 1990) as amended by the Northwest Forest Plan (USDA USDI 1994). Accordingly, BPA is currently coordinating with the USFS concerning the project.  BPA is also coordinating with the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Northwest Oregon District and the City of Corvallis because some project activities could occur on lands administered by the BLM and City of Corvallis property.

In 2016, BPA initiated an environmental assessment (EA) process for the Project under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). During the initial Project scoping period held in the fall of 2016, BPA requested comments on the proposal and hosted a public meeting in Philomath, Oregon. BPA reviewed all those comments and based in part on the public’s input, BPA expanded its consideration of potential alternatives for the Project. An additional Project scoping period was held between January 8 and February 21, 2018, with a public meeting in Corvallis, Oregon on January 25, 2018.

CURRENT STATUS:
All comments received during both scoping periods, including those received at the public meetings, are posted in their entirety on the project's comment webpage (link below). BPA is currently investigating the alternatives suggested during the scoping periods and engineering feasibility assessments are being conducted to determine which alternatives would meet the Project need for reliable communications and thus be suitable for analysis in detail in the Project EA. The current alternatives, shared with the public during the additonal scoping period, include two communications sites between which the microwave radio waves pass. All of these alternatives use either Marys Peak or West Point Spur as one of the communications sites, and the BPA Albany Substation or the BPA Prospect Hill communications site as the other communications site (see the link to the map showing the alternatives below).

The following is a list of alternatives (shared with the public during the additional scoping period) that may be analyzed in detail in the EA:
     1. No Action (the communications sites would not be maintained or upgraded)
     2A. Marys Peak at Existing BPA Site – BPA Albany Substation
     2B. Marys Peak at Existing BPA Site – BPA Prospect Hill Site
     3A. Marys Peak Colocate at New USFS Site – BPA Albany Substation
     3B. Marys Peak Colocate at New USFS Site – BPA Prospect Hill Site
     4. West Point Spur Colocate at Existing Consumer’s Power, Inc. Site – BPA Prospect Hill Site
     5. West Point Spur Proposed New BPA Site – BPA Prospect Hill Site

The draft EA will describe alternatives, describe the existing resources in the Project area, analyze the potential impacts of each alternative to human and natural resources, and identify mitigation measures that would help avoid or minimize those impacts. The draft EA will be available for review and comment, and the final agency decision will be made after taking all comments into consideration. During the EA process, BPA is coordinating and consulting with tribes, federal, state and local agencies, landowners, and interest groups. Both the USFS and the BLM are participating as cooperating agencies on the EA.

This website will be updated with details about the draft EA public scoping period once the draft EA is avaialble for public review and comment.

SCHEDULE:
Initial scoping comment period
Initial public scoping meeting
Additional public scoping comment period
Additional public scoping meeeting
Draft EA available for public review and comment
Release Final EA to the public
NEPA Decisions
Any construction or operational changes that could result from the agency decisions could be implemented as early as the Spring of 2021.

CONTACT:
For project information, contact:
Benjamin Younce
Project Manager
Bonneville Power Administration - TEP-CSB-1
P.O. Box 61409
Vancouver WA  98666-1409
OR

Molly Kovaka
Project Manager
Flux Resources
Bonneville Power Administration - TEP-CSB-2
P.O. Box 61409
Vancouver, WA  98666-1409


For environmental process information, contact:
Kimberly St.Hilaire
Environmental Protection Specialist
Bonneville Power Administration - ECT-4
P.O. Box 3621
Portland, OR  97208-3621
OR

Becky Hill
Environmental Protection Specialist
Flux Resources
Bonneville Power Administration - ECT-4
P.O. Box 3621
Portland, Oregon 97208-3621


September 27 - December 2, 2016
November 9, 2016
January 8 - February 21, 2018
January 25, 2018
Late Fall 2019
Early Fall 2020
Late Fall 2020






Toll-free:
       800-622-4519
Direct line:    360-619-6276
Email:           bbyounce@bpa.gov

 

 

Toll-free:
       800-622-4519
Direct line:    360-619-6262
Email:           mckovaka@bpa.gov

 

 


Toll-free:
     800-622-4519
Direct line:  503-230-5361
Email:         krsthilaire@bpa.gov 




Toll-free: 
    800-622-4519
Direct line:  503-230-7312
Email:         rlhill-clark@bpa.gov

 

DOCUMENTS:
Fact Sheet - BPA Communications Sites

SCOPING
Additional Scoping Period (Jan. 8 to Feb. 21, 2018)
Additional Scoping comments received
Additional Public Scoping Meeting Handout    (01/23/2018)
Additional Public Scoping Letter                    (01/8/2018)
Alternatives Map                                         (01/8/2018)
Project Vicinity Map                                     (01/8/2018)
Alternatives Considered Map                        (01/8/2018)
Topography Map                                        (01/8/2018)
Current Comment Form                              (01/8/2018)

Initial Scoping Period (Sept. 27 to Dec 2, 2016)
Scoping comments received
Project Update Letter                                             (05/03/2017)
Public Letter                                              (09/27/2016)
Project Map                                               (08/25/2016)
Comment Form                                         (09/27/2016)