That sucks. It doesn't say exactly how much of the water they expect to divert through the pipeline....but any is too much. Flows are already too fickle on the Salt, and the North Fork White is a major tributary. This is very unfortunate.
This isn't a done deal - this is for the preliminary engineering work that is necessary to proceed to a draft EIS. There will be public review of the draft EIS, and then required responses to comments and a final EIS. So we'll surely be hearing more about this.
It is a done deal because Congress authorized it. Federal agencies- BuRec, FERC, etc. don't have the discretion to say no. It will go through the NEPA process and some mitigation measures will be put in place, but the project will happen. 8400 acre feet is not huge (Roosevelt Lake can impound nearly 3 million acre feet), but any way you look at it its a diversion on a river that doesn't have enough water as it is.
This seems to be on track as it already has Congressional approval. The NEPA work will be done under the control of the successful contractor. What authority has control over a shoddily done EIS? Yes, It is a small dam when compared to other reclamation projects but; In a thin water year it will affect boatable flow. The associated water distribution pipelines will add considerable effluent into a handful of pristine Salt River tribs including Cibecue Creek. Whats next, damn the East Fork, Black River? It is a horrible precedence.
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