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Final Garrison Dam/Lake Sakakawea Surplus Water Report, Environmental Assessment available to public

Published July 19, 2012

OMAHA, Neb. — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced today that the Final Garrison Dam/Lake Sakakawea Surplus Water Report, dated March 2011 is available for public review.

The Final Report consists of two volumes and one addendum. Volume I contains the Final Surplus Water Report and Appendix A, the Final Environmental Assessment. Volume II contains Appendix B, which includes the Public and Agency Coordination Letters as well as copies of input received from Federal, Tribal, State and Local Interests. Addendum No. 1 modifies the final report to r eflect the policy direction regarding surplus water provided in Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works (ASA(CW)), Jo-Ellen Darcy’s memorandum dated May 8, 2012.  The Corps is also making available the signed Finding of No Significant Impact associated with the Final Environmental Assessment.

"The inclusion of the Addendum prior to the release of the final report was critical since it clarified the impacts of the policy direction received from the ASA," said Corps Project Manager Larry Janis. "We encourage the public to review these documents."

In the final report to the ASA(CW), the Corps determined that it can temporarily make 100,000 acre-feet of water (yield) available for municipal and industrial water supply users . This would provide M&I users with access for approximately 10 years. Darcy concurred with making this provisional use of surplus water available and directed the Corps to proceed with processing outstanding applications for access to the surplus water, and to enter into agreements for M&I use of that surplus water.

The ASA(CW) also directed the Corps to pursue notice and comment rulemaking in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act to establish a nationwide pricing policy for surplus water. The ASA(CW) directed the Corps not to charge for M&I surplus water withdrawals from Lake Sakakawea during a transitional period, pending the outcome of rulemaking.

In determining a new methodology, the Corps will develop a proposal and coordinate it through the administrative law rulemaking process used by executive agencies to promulgate formal rules. The process will allow the Corps to develop a new pricing model, inform the public about the recommended pricing methodology, and allow time for public comment and agency response to the proposal. It will also provide time for any revisions before a formal pricing model is set.

The administrative law rulemaking process is expected to last approximately 18 months. The new pricing policy will be formally announced as part of the rulemaking process.

To view the Final Report and accompanying documents, visit the Omaha District website.

Monique Farmer
Larry Janis

Release no. 20120719-001