June 26, 2021
The Washington State Department of Ecology is starting its draft environmental statement (EIS) on Eightmile Lake dam.
Here is its June 24 email announcement:
Thank you for participating in the Eightmile Dam Environmental Impact Scoping Process this winter. We had roughly 100 participants attend the public scoping meetings and received 4,894 comments during the 47-day scoping period. Most comments were related to water issues, construction methods, impacts on the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in general, and the EIS Scope and SEPA process. Detailed results can be viewed in the Scoping Summary Report at https://apps.ecology.wa.gov/publications/SummaryPages/2112008.html.
Your comments and participation have resulted in two major updates to the process as outlined below.
First, your comments informed the creation of a third alternative with a spillway elevation of 4,667, which is similar to Alternative 1 but without the water level control gates. Additionally, the no action alternative, which serves as the baseline condition against which the Action Alternatives are compared against, has been outlined more fully for clarity. You can view more details on all alternatives and construction options at https://ecology.wa.gov/eightmile.
Second, many of you indicated interest in a joint NEPA/SEPA process between Washington Department of Ecology and the Okanogan-Wenatchee Forest Service staff when evaluating the impacts to Eightmile Lake. Following discussions this spring, the Forest Service will continue to work with us through the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, and will conduct the level of analysis that is appropriate for the level of decision that is needed by the Forest Service according to agency regulations at 36 CFR 220.4(a).
We have begun work on the draft Environmental Impact Statement which is anticipated to be released for comment in Fall 2021. Public comment will be sought during public meetings, online commenting, and through mail-in commenting. Following review of comments on the Draft EIS, Ecology will revise the EIS and issue a Final EIS that incorporates all the comments received on the Draft EIS. This is expected to occur in early 2022.
If this email was forwarded to you, please make sure to visit the Eightmile Lake Rebuild and Restoration website to sign up for future notifications. The project website is the best place to find updated project information and has a new Frequently Asked Questions section answering many of the questions received during the scoping period. Thank you for your participation in this process.
Office of Columbia River
Washington Department of Ecology