[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 173 (Friday, September 6, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 54910-54911]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-21717]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Reclamation

[A10-1523-2000-229-00-0-1, 3205000]


Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement and 
Public Scoping Meetings for the White Mountain Apache Tribe Rural Water 
System Project, Arizona

AGENCY: Bureau of Reclamation, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent and public scoping meetings.

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SUMMARY: The Bureau of Reclamation, the lead Federal agency, and the 
Bureau of Indian Affairs and White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT), 
cooperating

[[Page 54911]]

agencies, are intending to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement 
(EIS) for the proposed WMAT Rural Water System. Pursuant to the WMAT 
Water Rights Quantification Act (Title III of the Claims Resolution Act 
of 2010), the United States Congress authorized and directed 
Reclamation to plan, design, and construct the WMAT Rural Water System 
to divert, store, and distribute water from the North Fork of the White 
River for the use and benefit of the WMAT. The proposed action would 
fulfill the Bureau of Reclamation's statutory mandate under the WMAT 
Water Rights Quantification Act. The Rural Water System would also 
serve the purpose of providing a long-term, dependable, and sustainable 
water supply for residents and businesses on the Fort Apache Indian 
Reservation.

DATES: Submit written comments on the scope of the EIS on or before 
October 28, 2013. Two scoping meetings will be held to solicit public 
input on the scope of the environmental document, alternatives, 
concerns, and issues to be addressed in the EIS.
    The scoping meetings dates are:
    1. Friday, September 20, 2013, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Cibecue, AZ.
    2. Saturday, September 21, 2013, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., Whiteriver, 
AZ.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Mr. John McGlothlen, Phoenix Area 
Office, Bureau of Reclamation, 6150 West Thunderbird Road, Glendale, 
Arizona, 85306-4001; or email jmcglothlen@usbr.gov.
    The public scoping meetings will be held at:
    1. Cibecue Complex--Feeding Center, 10 West 3rd North Cromwell 
Road, Cibecue, AZ.
    2. Whiteriver--Whiteriver Unified School District Office Training 
Room II, 963 South Chief Avenue, Whiteriver, AZ.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. John McGlothlen, 623-773-6256; 
jmcglothlen@usbr.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Pursuant to the National Environmental 
Policy Act (NEPA), the Bureau of Reclamation will prepare the EIS.

Background

    The WMAT Water Rights Quantification Agreement was confirmed by the 
United States Congress in the Claims Resolution Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 
111-291, Title III, 124 STAT 3064, 3073 [2010]). This Act authorized 
and directed the Bureau of Reclamation to construct the WMAT Rural 
Water System to divert, store, and distribute water from the North Fork 
of the White River to the WMAT. Section 304(c) of the Act designated 
Reclamation as the lead Federal agency with respect to ensuring 
compliance with applicable environmental laws and regulations 
associated with implementation of the WMAT Rural Water System.
    The proposed action would include construction and operation of the 
WMAT Rural Water System, including a dam and storage reservoir on the 
North Fork of the White River, water treatment facilities, and a 
distribution system (i.e., pipelines, pumping stations and water tanks) 
that would provide water to communities located on the Fort Apache 
Indian Reservation, including Whiteriver, Fort Apache, Canyon Day, 
Cedar Creek, Carrizo, and Cibecue. The construction of the Miner Flat 
Dam, a roller compacted concrete dam, would create a new reservoir 
called the Miner Flat Reservoir. Water from the Miner Flat Reservoir 
would be released to the North Fork of the White River, diverted from 
the stream channel upstream from the community of Whiteriver, and 
subsequently treated and conveyed via pipeline to Fort Apache Indian 
Reservation communities. Storage on the North Fork of the White River 
at Miner Flat Dam could provide multipurpose benefits, including 
domestic and commercial water supply, recreation, hydropower potential, 
limited flood control, irrigation, improved in-stream flows for 
riparian and aquatic habitat, and improved stream temperatures for 
production of trout at the Alchesay National Fish Hatchery.
    The WMAT would become the titled owner and operator of the 
completed water system after the Bureau of Reclamation completes 
construction, operates the new facilities for a period of three years, 
and provides technical assistance to WMAT on the operation and 
maintenance of the system. The proposed action would fulfill 
Reclamation's statutory mandate under the Act to plan, design, 
construct, operate and maintain the WMAT Rural Water System until the 
date on which title is transferred to the WMAT. For the WMAT, the 
purpose of the proposed action is to provide multi-purpose water uses, 
including a secure, safe and dependable, good-quality, fresh water 
supply for its communities and tribal members.
    Indian Trust Assets issues that are expected to be addressed in the 
EIS include water rights, trust lands, and resources associated with 
the Fort Apache Indian Reservation. The WMAT has full beneficial title, 
with legal title held by the United States, to 1.66 million acres of 
trust land within the Fort Apache Indian Reservation. The WMAT has 
retained all property rights related to its trust land, including the 
right to use water that underlies, borders and traverses it.

Special Assistance for Public Scoping Meetings

    If special assistance is required at the scoping meetings, please 
contact Ms. Jessie Haragara at 623-773-6251, or email at 
jharagara@usbr.gov. Please notify Ms. Haragara at least two weeks in 
advance of the meeting to enable the Bureau of Reclamation to secure 
the needed services. If a request cannot be honored, the requestor will 
be notified.

Public Disclosure

    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or 
other personal identifying information in our comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.

    Dated: August 29, 2013.
Terrance J. Fulp,
Regional Director, Lower Colorado Region.
[FR Doc. 2013-21717 Filed 9-5-13; 8:45 am]
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