By Mary Perea Carlson
The Bureau of Reclamation, on May 18, released the scoping summary as part of the National Environmental Policy Act process to determine whether proposed operating procedures have the potential to cause significant environmental impacts.
An environmental assessment was conducted in 2007, and was reinitiated in January 2012, to analyze the effects on the environment based on new information that has become available or changed since 2007.
Public meetings were held in El Paso, Texas, and Las Cruces, N.M., in April as part of the effort to gather public input. Reclamation is preparing a supplemental environmental assessment under NEPA. It will describe potential environmental impacts from implementation of proposed operating procedures of the Rio Grande Project. In general, the project area includes from Elephant Butte Dam to the county line between El Paso and Hudspeth counties.
These operating procedures calculate, account for, and sustainably manage Rio Grande Project irrigation water supply, releases, and deliveries.
The Rio Grande Project is authorized to deliver irrigation water to south-central New Mexico and west Texas and to deliver water to Mexico in accordance with an international treaty.
The summary is now available on Reclamation’s website at www.usbr.gov/uc/albuq/rm/RGP/index.html and at Reclamation’s El Paso and Albuquerque offices. It sets forth issues raised during the scoping process and describes the proposed scope of the environmental analyses to be included in the supplemental environmental assessment.
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.
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