Corps seeks public input for hydropower report to Congress

Nov. 8: Updated information has been highlighted in blue.

The Portland District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will gather the public’s perspective and opinions on the future of hydropower across the Corps’ Willamette Valley system of dams during three listening sessions – one in-person and two virtual.

The Corps will record public input for inclusion in a report to Congress.

The Water Resources Development Act of 2022 directed the Portland District to complete a report to Congress containing information on a determination of federal interest in, and to identify the effects of, removing hydropower production as a purpose – in whole or in part – from the Corps’ Willamette Valley system of dams.

The dams serve multiple purposes in addition to hydropower production, such as flood risk management, irrigation and recreation.

“We look forward to collecting the public’s input as we prepare this report,” said Hugh Kim, the project manager for the disposition report. “This is an opportunity for the public to contribute to decisions to be made at the congressional level.”

The listening sessions will begin with a brief introduction by Corps officials. The remainder of the session will be dedicated to collecting input.

Verbal statements received during the listening sessions will be recorded and transcribed for inclusion in the Report to Congress. Brief written statements during the listening sessions will also be accepted. For those unable to attend a listening session, an online submission form will accept written statements from Monday, Nov. 13 until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 17. Send an email on or after Nov. 13 to [email protected] for the link to the online submission form.

Virtual Listening Session #1: Monday, Nov. 13, 2023, from 2 to 4 p.m.

Virtual Listening Session #2: Monday, Nov. 13, 2023, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

In-Person Listening Session: Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Salem Public Library, Level 1, Loucks Auditorium, 585 Liberty St SE, Salem, OR 97301

The WRDA 2022 authorizes “much-needed investments in projects and programs of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers across the country.” This bipartisan legislation ensures timely congressional authorization of Corps studies and projects.

Specifically, the law says that the study should assess:

  • Whether and how discontinuing hydropower production at one or more of the eight dams would affect how those dams, other dams in the system, and the system as a whole would be operated for their other authorized purposes
  • How the costs of discontinuing hydropower would be apportioned
  • What impacts there would be on dam safety and compliance with the Endangered Species Act

The Corps held two information sessions in September, during which Corps experts discussed the purpose and key elements of the disposition report. Recordings of those sessions are available here: www.nwp.usace.army.mil/WRDA22-Report/.

Or read the Lebanon Local story at https://www.lebanonlocalnews.com/corps-studies-need-for-hydropower/.