US Army Corps of Engineers
Northwestern Division

Update on Alternatives Development

Columbia River System Operations EIS
Published April 18, 2019
Columbia River System Operations logo. In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, and Bonneville Power Administration, referred to as the Action Agencies, intend to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) on the Columbia River System operations and configurations for 14 federal projects in the interior Columbia Basin.

Columbia River System Operations logo. In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, and Bonneville Power Administration, referred to as the Action Agencies, intend to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) on the Columbia River System operations and configurations for 14 federal projects in the interior Columbia Basin.

As introduced in the Summer 2018 newsletter, the CRSO EIS team of co-lead agencies are working to identify a reasonable range of alternatives that would undergo an analysis to understand the impacts of the measures in these alternatives. The team went through several iterations to develop specific actions (measures) that can be taken to address a study objective. These measures are combined to become components of alternatives. Collectively, a suite of measures can address a single study objective, such as improving fish survival, or be combined to meet multiple study objectives.

 

The team combined measures to develop single-focused alternatives and integrated the measures of different objectives to create multiple-objective alternatives. An initial collection of 13 preliminary alternatives (both single-focused and multiple-objective) were refined into four multiple-objective alternatives that are designed to meet the purpose and need and multiple study objectives. Including the No Action alternative, these five alternatives represent a wide range of actions that the co-lead agencies will study for implementation and evaluate and compare the alternatives’ potential impacts on affected resources.

Following this analysis, potential mitigation measures will be identified. A discussion of the reasonable range of alternatives, including the impacts analysis will be available in the draft EIS.

Definitions

Objectives:  describe the results the EIS is trying to achieve (the “why”).

Measures:  actions at a specific location to achieve a desired effect (the “how”). One measure may be used to achieve multiple objectives and may be used at multiple locations. Measures are generally combined to develop alternatives. 

Alternatives:  a combination of measures, that when implemented together, would meet one or more objectives.