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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 Some communication equipment at the site is outdated and unstable and needs to be replaced.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 communication, via VHF radio, between BPA’s dispatch and control centers and the BPA field crews working in the region. This communication 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 comments and based in part on the public’s input, BPA expanded its consideration of potential alternatives for the Project.

CURRENT STATUS:

The initial public scoping comment period closed December 2, 2016. All comments received, including those received at the public meeting, are posted in their entirety on the project's comment webpage (link below). BPA investigated the alternatives suggested during the initial scoping period. Engineering feasibility assessments were 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. All alternatives include two communications sites between which the microwave radio waves passes. All 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 link to the map showing alternatives below).

The following alternatives will 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.
 
PUBLIC MEETING:
BPA opened an additional public scoping comment period from January 8 to February 21, 2018. BPA, USFS and BLM will host a public scoping meeting to share information about the Project:
 
Thursday January 25, 2018, 5:30pm to 7:30pm
Linus Pauling Middle School Auditorium, 1111 NW Cleveland Avenue, Corvallis, Oregon
 
BPA will provide an overview of the Project need, and the alternatives considered, including those eliminated from further consideration. The project overview presentation will begin at 6:00 p.m. The Project team will be available to answer questions and accept comments concerning the scope of the EA.
 
Please submit comments by February 21, 2018.  All comments will be posted in their entirety on the project website.  There are several ways to comment:
Mail:
Bonneville Power Administration
Public Affairs – DKE-7
P.O. Box 14428
Portland, OR  97291-4428
Toll-free:
FAX:
E-mail:
800-622-4519
503-230-4019
 

SCHEDULE:
Initial scoping comment period
Initial public scoping meeting
Additional public scoping comment period
Additonal public scoping meeeting
Draft EA available for public review and comment
Final EA
NEPA Decisions
Any construction or operational changes that could result from the agency decisions could be implemented as early as the summer of 2020.


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
Contract 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
Contract 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
Early 2019
Early 2020
Early 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:
Current Scoping Period (Jan. 8 to Feb. 21, 2018)
Additional Public Scoping Letter     (1/8/2018)
Alternatives Map                           (1/8/2018)
Project Vicinity Map                       (1/8/2018)
Alternatives Considered Map          (1/8/2018)
Topography Map                           (1/8/2018)
Current Comment Form                (1/8/2018)

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)