PROJECT DESCRIPTION

Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) proposes to provide funding to the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation to enhance fish and wildlife habitat on about a 275-acre area along a one-mile stretch of the Umatilla River (between river miles 48.7 and 49.7) and along Birch Creek (river mile 0.0 to 0.3) at its confluence with the Umatilla River, near the town of Rieth, in Umatilla County, Oregon.

Project activities would include modification or removal of most of the US Army Corps of Engineers’ certified Pendleton 2-A levee as well as artificial berms to restore natural hydrology and reactivate the historic floodplain. The project would include options to maintain the current level of flood protection provided by the existing levee through a new levee or additional reinforcements to Birch Creek Road.

Fish and wildlife habitat enhancement activities would include realigning Birch Creek’s main channel to its historic meander, realigning the Umatilla River into the floodplain areas previously restricted by the levee, and excavating side channels and wetland areas along both Birch Creek and the Umatilla River to improve secondary channel and floodplain interactions to benefit fish and wildlife. In addition, the project would include options to remove existing livestock infrastructure and relocate buildings at the site.

ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW

To understand the potential environmental impacts of this proposal, BPA may prepare an environmental assessment (EA) following the procedures of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). If BPA determines that an EA should be prepared, the EA would analyze the project, as well as a no-action alternative in which Bonneville would not fund the project and it would not be implemented. The EA would also describe anticipated impacts to natural and human resources and will identify mitigation measures to help avoid or minimize impacts. The US Army Corps of Engineers is a cooperating agency in the preparation of the EA to support its Rivers and Harbors Act Section 408 permit decision for proposed modifications to the Pendleton 2-A levee. During the EA 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         September 19, 2022 to October 19, 2022
Scoping public meeting         October 4, 2022 in Pendleton, Oregon
Draft EA comment period (if warranted) Winter 2023
Final EA (if warranted) Spring 2023
Finding of No Significant Impact (if warranted) Spring 2023
If decision to build, construction start Summer/Fall 2023

CURRENT STATUS

BPA has concluded scoping and the comment period closed on October 19, 2022. BPA is now considering comments to help determine if an Environmental Assessment is warranted and the issues that should be addressed in the environmental review. 

CONTACT

For environmental information, contact:
Jeff Maslow   Toll-free: 800-622-4519
Senior Environmental Protection Specialist Direct line: 503-230-3928
Bonneville Power Administration – EC-4  Email: jjmaslow@bpa.gov 
PO Box 3621
Portland, Oregon 97208-3621

For project information, contact:
Tim Ludington  Toll-free: 800-622-4519
Fish and Wildlife Project Manager Direct line: 503-308-0551
Bonneville Power Administration – EWM-4  Email: tsludington@bpa.gov 
PO Box 3621
Portland, Oregon 97208-3621  

 

DOCUMENTS

SCOPING
Scoping comments received
Public meeting materials
Public meeting project-area slideshow 
Public Letter  (09/19/2022)
Project Map  (09/19/2022)
Comment Form  (09/19/2022)