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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 Some communications equipment at the site is outdated and unstable and needs to be replaced.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 Special Interest Area, which is managed by the USFS under the terms of the Siuslaw National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan as amended by the Northwest Forest Plan. 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. Links at the bottom of this webpage direct users to comments received during the scoping periods, and to a document that summarizes the concepts of the comments received. 

CURRENT STATUS:
BPA investigated the alternatives suggested during project scoping and performed engineering feasibility assessments to determine which alternatives would meet the Project need for reliable communications.  Three action alternatives are analyzed in detail in the draft EA. The draft EA describes alternatives, describes the existing resources in the Project area, analyzes the potential impacts of each alternative to human and natural resources, and identifies mitigation measures that would help avoid or minimize those impacts.
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.


BPA, USFS, and BLM are considering how to best distribute the draft EA for public review and comment.  BPA expects to distribute the draft EA during the summer of 2020 for public comment.  Because it will likely be inadvisable to hold a public meeting this summer, BPA is considering other ways to interact with the public and receive comments, such as virtual meetings. All comments received in the draft EA will be responded to in the final EA.  After the EA is finalized, BPA, USFS, and BLM will each make their final agency decisions. 

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


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
Summer 2020
Late 2020
Late 2020






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

 

DOCUMENTS:
Fact Sheet - BPA Communications Sites

SCOPING

Scoping Comment Summary


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)