The Department of Ecology is leading an environmental review called a programmatic environmental impact statement (EIS). Ecology is looking at different combinations of the proposed actions and evaluating their potential effects on people and the environment – both positive and negative. This review is being conducted in the framework of the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) and provides an opportunity for the public to contribute to decision-making.
A draft programmatic EIS was released September 29, 2016, followed by an opportunity for public and agency review and comment through November 14, 2016. Click here to view the draft Programmatic EIS and all comments received on the draft. We anticipate releasing the final programmatic EIS in 2017.
What Is SEPA?
The State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA, often pronounced “See-Puh”) is an environmental review process that provides a way to identify and study possible effects of a proposal on people and the environment. The process helps decision-makers and the public understand how a proposed action, like actions proposed for the Chehalis Basin Strategy, will affect people and the environment.
What Is a Programmatic EIS?
An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is a document that analyzes how different possible actions affect specific resources – for example, how a levee may impact plants, animals, people, and many other resources.
A “programmatic” EIS analyzes the effects of broader planning decisions or connected actions, instead of one specific project, as is the case for the Chehalis Basin Strategy. Ecology is developing the programmatic EIS to look at the effects of the proposed actions basin-wide, instead of how one individual project will impact one particular area. The programmatic EIS will assess program-level effects related to implementing an integrated flood damage reduction and aquatic species habitat restoration strategy in the Chehalis River Basin.
What Is Scoping?
Scoping was the first step in the EIS process, held September 18 through October 19, 2015, and included two public meetings and a 30-day scoping comment period. The purpose of scoping was to seek input from the public, agencies, tribes, and organizations on the Chehalis Basin Strategy, potential actions, and affected environment proposed to be discussed in the EIS. Ecology received 43 comments during the scoping process. Learn more about the alternatives in the EIS.
What is Next?
A draft programmatic EIS was released September 29, 2016, followed by an opportunity for public and agency review and comment through November 14, 2016. Click here to view the draft Programmatic EIS and all comments received on the draft. We anticipate releasing the final Programmatic EIS in 2017. Watch this site, and sign up for email updates about when the final EIS will be available.