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Corps seeks comments on John Day mitigation project

­­­­The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is seeking comments on a draft environmental assessment for the John Day Mitigation Project.

The Corps proposes to construct hatchery facilities to increase the production of fall Chinook salmon, as required by the federal Columbia River Power System Biological Opinion.

Spawning and rearing areas for fall Chinook were inundated when the Corps constructed The Dalles Dam in 1957 and John Day Dam in 1967. Congress authorized the John Day plan in 1978 to mitigate for losses in salmonid spawning and rearing habitat caused by construction of the dams.

That work is currently provided by a combination of adult egg take, incubation and juvenile rearing at several hatcheries on the Columbia River and its tributaries. About half of the mitigation fish are upriver bright fall Chinook, known as URBs, that are released above or just below McNary Dam. The remaining production is comprised of downriver stocks of fall Chinook, known as tules, and URBs that are released in the Bonneville reservoir and just below Bonneville Dam.

In order to meet plan goals, the Corps is proposing a combination of actions. These include expanding the Ringold Springs Hatchery for production and release of additional juvenile URBs, rearing and acclimating additional egg production at the Little White Salmon and Umatilla hatcheries and building a facility in Benton County, Wash., for smolt rearing, acclimation and release. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2016.

A 10-year research, monitoring and evaluation program will determine if production goals are being met and monitor the effects of the proposed JDMP modifications on ESA-listed species.

The draft environmental assessment is available online for public review and comment under the “Announcements” tab at http://www.nwp.usace.army.mil.

Questions or comments regarding the assessment should be directed to Carolyn Schneider, Environmental Resources Branch, telephone 541-298-6699, via email at Carolyn.B.

Schneider@usace.

army.mil, or mailed to the address below. Mailed comments regarding must be postmarked by April 25, 2013 and sent to:

District Engineer

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District

Attn: CENWP-PM-E/Carolyn Schneider

P.O. Box 2946

Portland, OR 97208-2946

Responses should refer to the public notice number CENWP-PM-E-13-06 and include the public notice title and date.

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