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Corps Seeking Public Input On Detroit Dam Fish Passage, Temperature Control Scoping Process
Posted on Friday, December 08, 2017 (PST)

As it studies how to provide downstream passage and temperature control for juvenile fish at Detroit Dam on the North Santiam River in Oregon, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will hold two open house-style meetings to get public input.


The Corps is conducting an environmental review to aid in developing the fish passage project along with temperature control at the dam for Upper Willamette River chinook that are listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act.


This first step in the Corps’ National Environmental Policy Act review is to “scope” the extent of the issues to be addressed. The final product in the NEPA process will be an environmental impact statement for the project.


The Corps will take public comments through January 8 and evaluate the input from the public and others. It will incorporate the comments into a draft EIS, along with alternatives, a process the Corps anticipates completing by the Fall of 2018, according to Corps spokesperson Tom Conning.


The last step after a final EIS is approved is the Record of Decision. There is no date set for the ROD.


The Corps is hosting two meetings:

-- Thursday, Dec. 14 from 4-7 p.m. at the South Salem High School Library: 1910 Church St. SE, Salem, Ore. 97302

-- Tuesday, Dec. 19 from 4-7 p.m. at the Gates Fire Hall: 140 East Sorbin St., Gates, Ore. 97346


The meeting, the Corps says, will offer the public an opportunity to learn about Detroit Dam and its authorized purposes; current alternatives for downstream fish passage and temperature control; the Corps' and other interagency roles; the NEPA process; and submit written input on what to consider in the environmental review.


The purpose of this EIS is to analyze effects to the human environment, including aesthetic, historic, economic, social, etc. associated with the Corps' efforts to enhance juvenile passage for ESA-listed fish through Detroit Dam.


It will also analyze effects of modifying temperatures in the North Santiam and main stem Santiam rivers, below Detroit Dam, so that operational temperature targets are optimized for adult and juvenile salmonids, the Corps says.


The actions are part of the Corps’ implementation of NOAA Fisheries’ and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2008 Biological Opinions for the continued operations and maintenance of the Corps’ Willamette Valley Project.


As part of the preparation of the EIS, NEPA requires that there be an early and open process for determining the scope of the issues to be addressed. The Corps is seeking input on the Detroit Downstream Passage Project and the EIS from affected federal agencies, Native American tribes, state agencies, local governments and non-governmental organizations, stakeholders, and the public.


The Corps operates and maintains 13 multipurpose dams and reservoirs (including Detroit Dam and Lake) in the Willamette River Basin in Oregon, collectively referred to as the Willamette Valley Project (see


NOAA Fisheries released its 2008 BiOp “which identified the required actions to avoid jeopardizing the existence of ESA listed fish in the Willamette basin,” the Corps said on its project website at


The actions to avoid jeopardy include downstream fish passage at Detroit Dam and the minimization of water quality effects, temperature in particular, associated with operations of Detroit and Big Cliff dams, by making structure modifications or major operational changes.


The assessment and environmental review will determine:

--Current and forecasted conditions at and downstream of the Detroit Lake.

--Solutions for providing downstream fish passage and temperature control.

--Alternatives for constructing feasible solutions.

--Identification of a preferred plan and the actions necessary to implement the final plan in the coming years.


With this information, the Corps will organize the best options into a preferred plan for public discussion and comment.


The Corps will accept input on the project scoping through January 8, 2018:

--Comment online at

-- By Email to

-- By regular mail to Kelly Janes, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Attn: PM-E, PO Box 2946, Portland, OR 97208-2946

-- Or, written input can be given to any project staff at the December 2017 public meetings.


Also see:


--CBB, November 17, 2017, “Corps Seeks Comment On Willamette Valley Reservoir Storage Reallocation Draft Study,”


--CBB, November 3, 2017, “Conservation Groups Announce Intent To Sue Corps Over Willamette Chinook, Steelhead,”


--CBB, June 16, 2017, “Willamette BiOp For Fish: Four Subbasins Focus Of Corps’ Salmon Reintroduction Programs Above Dams,”


-- CBB, June 9, 2017, “Groups Sue Corps Over Upper Willamette Summer-Run Steelhead Hatchery Releases; Says Harm Wild Fish”


-- CBB, Sept. 23, 2016, “Trucking Spawning Salmon Above Willamette Dam Showing Success In Offspring Survival, Adult Returns”


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