Bureau of Reclamation releases final EIS on Truckee Canal project

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Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter

The Bureau of Reclamation on Friday released its final Environmental Impact Statement for its proposed project to line the Truckee Canal.

Publication of the final EIS begins the minimum 30-day “wait period,” in which agencies are generally required to wait 30 days before making a final decision on a proposed action.

Fernley City Manager Daphne Hooper said the City will be reviewing the document next week and determine its next steps.

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The TCID canal was constructed in 1905. It originates at the Derby Diversion Dam on the Truckee River and ends at Lahontan Reservoir. On January 5, 2008, the canal’s north bank breached during a storm, causing flooding and damage to approximately 590 properties in Fernley. TCID repaired the breach in February 200, and the canal reopened in March 2008. Until long-term repairs are made, the canal is required to operate at a lower stage of water to reduce risk.

In its draft EIS, the Bureau of Reclamation identifies five alternatives to repair the canal, and chose as its preferred alternative the lining of 12.7 miles of the canal with a full geomembrane liner, covered with concrete.

While that would repair any damage to the canal’s banks and likely prevent any future repeat of the 2008 flood, the City’s concern is that it would eliminate its groundwater supply.

The City, which relies on recharge of the underground water supply through seepage from the canal, is fighting the proposal, saying the loss of recharge of the groundwater would cause domestic wells to go dry and reduce the City’s domestic water supply.

The final EIS is available at https://www.usbr.gov/mp/nepa/nepa_project_details.php?Project_ID=25717.

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