Eightmile Dam rebuild and restoration seeks input

Submitted by the Department of Ecology

picture 1 - Alpine Lakes Dam is damaged by spring run-off in 2018 Picture 2 - Crews work to complete temporary repairs Picture 3 - Native American fishing platforms on Icicle Creek by the Leavenworth Fish Hatchery
Environmental review is set to begin on plans to repair and restore Eightmile Lake Dam in the Icicle Creek watershed. As a result of flood damage and erosion caused by impacts of the Jack Creek Fire in 2017, a state of emergency was declared, and the 90 year old dam was designated a high hazard and a threat to downstream residents and property.
The Icicle and Peshastin Irrigation Districts (IPID) made emergency repairs to the dam in the summer of 2018. Over the last couple years, IPID has worked with Ecology’s Dam Safety Office to develop options to restore and rebuild the dam to meet current safety standards.
Ecology is now accepting comments on what should be included in the scope of a full environmental impact statement (EIS) being prepared under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). The EIS will examine the potential environmental consequences of each proposed alternative to rebuild the dam.
Icicle Creek is a source of water for a variety of demands that sometimes go unmet. Stream flows support domestic water supply, agricultural irrigation, hatchery fish raised at the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery, natural aquatic habitat for wild fish, and recreation. Taken together, water needs in the subbasin are often greater than the available supply.
The Icicle Creek Work Group is embarking on a plan to be drought resilient and climate responsive to meet these various water needs now and in the future. 
The plan seeks to achieve 88 cubic feet per second of additional water to flows during average years and 58 cfs during drought years.
Water availability is extremely tight along Icicle Creek, where stream flows often fail to meet minimum adopted levels, especially in years of drought. This can lead to legal disputes, the interruption of irrigation water to users, and significant problems for fish habitat and passage, as well as threaten tribal fishing rights, and sustainable operation of the Leavenworth Natural Fish Hatchery.
In December 2012, Ecology’s Office of Columbia River and the Chelan County Natural Resource Department convened a workgroup, bringing local, state, and federal agencies, tribes, irrigation and agricultural interests, municipal/domestic water managers, and environmental organizations together to find solutions to these problems. In 2018, they formally adopted a long-term restoration plan, called the Icicle Strategy, that identifies projects to improve stream flows and water availability, and resolves habitat and fisheries issues. Elements of the Icicle Strategy include:
Alpine Lakes Reservoirs Optimization, Modernization, and Automation of outlet works and gate infrastructure at seven subbasin lakes.
Icicle-Peshastin Irrigation District Irrigation Efficiencies explores options to improve irrigation delivery and on farm efficiencies.
Cascade Orchards Irrigation Company Irrigation Efficiencies and Pump Exchange proposes to move the district's point of diversion downstream of the confluence with the Wenatchee River.
Domestic Conservation Efficiencies focuses on conservation projects in the City of Leavenworth and Chelan County.
Eightmile Lake Storage Restoration rebuilds the structurally-compromised Eightmile Lake dam to restore usable storage to the historical and permitted high water storage elevation
Tribal and Non-Tribal Fisheries ensures that projects and actions taken do not have negative effects on tribal fishery activity in the Icicle Creek Subbasin.
Habitat Protection and Enhancement identifies and implements stream restoration and protection projects such as riparian plantings, engineered log jams, and conservation easements to improve stream habitat and ecosystem health.
Instream Flow Rule Amendment modifies the instream flow rule’s interim domestic reservation of 0.1 cfs to a final level of 0.5 cfs.
Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery Conservation and Water Quality Improvements focuses on projects to reduce surface water use and improve access to groundwater.
Fish Passage improves passage by assessing and removing barriers, so fish have better access to healthy habitats.
Fish Screening upgrades fish screens on diversions to meet current standards.
Water Marketing creates an Icicle Water Market and seeds it with an initial 1,000 acre-feet of water for agriculture use in the Icicle Creek Subbasin and Wenatchee River Basins during shortages.
 
 Public comment period: The scoping comment period begins on Dec. 18, 2020, and runs through Feb. 1, 2021. Ecology is expanding the required 21 day scoping comment period to 45 days to promote interagency cooperation and public participation.
Submitting a comment: You can submit a comment electronically, during a meeting, or by mail. Comments are weighted equally whether they are provided during a meeting, mailed, or submitted electronically. Those wishing to register a comment on line or attend one of the scheduled meetings need to do so through the Ecology website at https://ecology.wa.gov/About-us/Get-to-know-us/News/2020/Dec-18-Eightmil....
Mail a comment to: 
  Department of Ecology
  Central Regional Office
  Attn: Melissa Downes
  1250 West Alder Street
  Union Gap, WA 98903
Public meetings:
Due to the coronavirus epidemic, Gov. Jay Inslee directed state agencies to conduct public meetings remotely  We are asking participants to register in advance so that we can ensure that we have reserved enough slots with our online vendor for everyone.
Register for Wednesday, Jan. 13, 3-6 pm
Register for Thursday, Jan. 21, 5-8 pm 
 

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