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Draft Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement

Public Review Period for Draft Feasibility Report & Environmental Impact Statement

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Skokomish Indian Tribe and Mason County are seeking public comments on the Draft Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement for the Skokomish River Basin Ecosystem Restoration Study.

The 45-day public comment period is from February 21 to April 7. This document is available for viewing online by accessing the links to the left. A paper copy is available at the Timberland Public Library in Shelton, Wash.

A public information meeting is scheduled to discuss the proposal for Federal action and the alternatives considered as a result of the Ecosystem Restoration Study.  Meeting details:

            Thursday, March 20, 2014
            Mason County Public Works Building
            100 W. Public Works Drive
            Shelton, WA

            5:00 - 6:00 p.m.: Open House
            6:00 - 6:30 p.m.: Presentation & Project Updates
            6:30 - 8:00 p.m.: Question & Answer Session

Comments on the Draft Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement may be submitted by email, at the upcoming public meeting, or in written form.

Comments will be accepted via email to: Skokomish@usace.army.mil

Mailed comments regarding the proposed plan must be postmarked by April 7, 2014, and sent to:

Ms. Nancy C. Gleason
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
CENWS-EN-ER
P.O. Box 3755
Seattle, Washington 98124-3755       

 

Study Overview

General Investigation Study Purpose
The purpose of the Skokomish River Basin General Investigation (GI) feasibility study is to evaluate significant ecosystem degradation in the Skokomish River Basin; to formulate, evaluate, and screen potential solutions to these problems; and to recommend a series of actions and projects that have a federal interest and are supported by a local entity willing to provide the necessary items of local cooperation. There is a strong, united effort by federal, state, and local agencies as well as the Skokomish Indian Tribe for restoration of the Skokomish River Basin. Mason County and the Skokomish Indian Tribe are the cost-sharing, non-federal sponsors of the feasibility study.

Study Status
The Skokomish River General Investigation Study is moving forward with significant momentum. The study team has developed conceptual designs and cost estimates for an array of alternatives identified in early planning activities. Additional analysis and evaluation has led the team to identify a Tentatively Selected Plan (TSP), which is the recommended plan that will be carried forward for further design and ultimately be recommended for construction.

Of the 60 potential restoration sites identified in early planning activities, the study team carried forward a final array of alternatives to be considered during the latest analysis, including the following: 
        1. Dredging the mainstem Skokomish River 
        2. Removing the car body levee near the confluence

Each alternative also has smaller restoration projects associated with it (e.g., levee setbacks, placement of large woody debris, tributary or side channel restorations, etc.) that, when combined, create a comprehensive restoration plan.

Preliminary maps identifying these two primary alternatives are posted under the “Links” sidebar on the left of this page.

The study team has also completed the Draft Feasibility Report / Environmental Impact Statement. This document will be released for public review in February 2014.

Tentatively Selected Plan
The Tentatively Selected Plan (TSP) includes one “base” plan and seven restoration “increments.” The “base” and “increments” are all restoration projects proposed in the study; combined together they form a suite of projects called the TSP. Projects included in the TSP are: 
        • Base #3: Car Body Levee Removal 
        • Increment #35: Upstream Large Woody Debris Installation 
        • Increment #9: Side Channel Reconnection 
        • Increment #37: Grange Levee Setback 
        • Increment #28: River Mile 9 Levee Setback 
        • Increment #39: Hunter Creek Mouth Restoration 
        • Increment #40: Hunter Creek Tributary Restoration 
        • Increment #43: Weaver Creek Tributary Restoration 

The TSP restores an estimated 330 acres of spawning, rearing, and refuge habitats. The estimated total project cost of the TSP is $41 million.

Schedule
The Draft Feasibility Report / Environmental Impact Statement will undergo numerous rounds of review in the coming months, including public review scheduled to begin in February 2014.

In addition, the study team will gather data (ground survey, hydrologic modeling, and soils samples for geotechnical and chemical analysis) and develop feasibility-level designs for the recommended plan. Cost estimates will be updated based on the feasibility-level design and real estate team members will continue coordination with affected landowners to secure rights-of-way or discuss the need for acquisition or easements.

The Feasibility Report / Environmental Impact Statement will be finalized after completion of feasibility-level designs and reviews are complete, scheduled for 2015.

About the Skokomish River

The Skokomish River Basin is located on Hood Canal, a natural fjord-like arm of the Puget Sound and water of national significance. The Skokomish River is the largest source of freshwater to Hood Canal as it flows into Annas Bay and of critical importance in the overall health of Hood Canal. Environmental degradation can be seen throughout the Skokomish River Basin including a loss of natural ecosystem structures, functions, and processes necessary to support critical fish and wildlife habitat. The degradation of riverine and estuarine habitat has resulted in the listing of four anadromous fish species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) (Chinook salmon, chum salmon, steelhead, and bull trout) that utilize the river as their primary habitat. The impaired ecosystem has adversely affected riverine, wetland and estuarine habitats that are critical to these and other listed species.