Area gearing up for BOR meeting on Gooseberry
Area residents and officials are getting ready to meet the Bureau of Reclamation's Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) on the construction of a dam on Gooseberry Creek with a large turnout when the federal agency holds a comment session on the document in Price next week.
The SDEIS is a document that has been in the works for years, ever since the original EIS was done in the early 1990s. The BOR stated in a series of e-mails sent to media a couple of weeks ago that they did the study in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act. It was published in the Federal Register April 1. The document will be filed with the Environmental Protection Agency.
There is now a public review period that began with its release and will culminate on Tuesday, June 1, 2010.
Local water officials have been discussing the over 400 page document in meetings from one end of the county to the other. Some city councils are writing letters to the BOR as well as to the Utah Congressional delegation about the proposed project.
The Narrows Project SDEIS describes the effects of Reclamation issuing to the Sanpete Wathe release of this SDEIS does not imply either approval or denial of the Small Reclamation Projects Act loan application or the request for authorization to use withdrawn lands. If Reclamation approves the Small Reclamation Projects Act loan and right of use of federal lands in accordance with Reclamation law, and Congress appropriates the necessary funds, a supplemental water supply would be developed by SWCD.
The dam and its proposed reservoir has been a bone of contention between Carbon and Sanpete counties for more than 80 years. Many times during that period the approval for building the dam has either been thwarted by national events, by environmental concerns or by lawsuits. The water that flows from Gooseberry Creek ends up in Fish Creek and eventually drains into Scofield Reservoir. Local water officials fear if the dam is built it will take a lot of water away from Scofield, particularly in drought years. Scofield is the largest supply of water for all uses in central Carbon County where most of the population of the area lives.
Residents are invited to attend either of the public hearings or both. The hearings are comment driven only and the BOR says it will not respond to comments during the meetings. The first meeting will take place on Wednesday, April 28, 2010, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Manti City Hall, 50 S. Main Street, 2nd Floor in Manti.
The second meeting will take place on Thursday, April 29, 2010, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Price Civic Auditorium, 185 E. Main Street.
The hearings will be recorded by a court reporter and all hearing statements (oral and written) will become part of the public record for this SDEIS. In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, all comments (oral and written) are given full and equal consideration.
Comments may also be submitted until Tuesday, June 1, 2010 to: Bureau of Reclamation, Attention: Peter Crookston, PRO-774, 302 East 1860 South, Provo, Utah, 84606-7317; phone: 801-379-1152; facsimile: 801-379-1159; e-mail: narrowsSDEIS@usbr.gov . Please be aware that all personal identifying information (including name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, etc) provided as part of a comment, may be publicly available as part of the public record. Requests to withhold this information cannot be guaranteed.
The actual SDEIS document is available on Reclamation's Web site at: www.usbr.gov/uc/envdocs/index.html for public review.