Reclamation Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Winter Interim Operations at Ririe Dam and Reservoir

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BOISE, Idaho - The Bureau of Reclamation has prepared a draft Environmental Assessment assessing the effects of a change in Ririe Reservoir winter drawdown for a 10-year interim period to improve refill reliability and increase water availability for irrigation without increasing downstream flood risk. The draft Environmental Assessment is being released today for a 30-day public comment period, ending October 6 and can be accessed at: Ririe Dam and Reservoir are located on Willow Creek about 15 miles northeast of Idaho Falls, Idaho.

The draft Environmental Assessment proposes to modify current Ririe Dam and Reservoir winter flood control operations to retain additional water storage without increasing downstream flood risk for a 10-year interim period. This would be accomplished by decreasing Ririe Reservoir winter drawdown that occurs in the fall of some years, resulting in more water held in the reservoir between November 1 and March 1.

Reclamation determined an Environmental Assessment is required under the National Environmental Policy Act in order to undertake this action. The draft Environmental Assessment evaluates the impacts of the proposed alternatives on the human population and the natural environment. This comment period follows public scoping meetings held in 2011 and 2013. Public input on the draft Environmental Assessment will assist Reclamation in making an informed decision.

The deadline for written comments is October 6. They can be sent to: Mr. Rich Jackson, Natural Resource Specialist, Bureau of Reclamation, Snake River Area Office, 230 Collins Road, Boise, ID 83702, or by email at

Ririe Dam, completed in 1977, is operated as one of seven federal storage facilities on the Snake and Henrys Fork rivers. It is a multi-purpose project that provides irrigation, flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at

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