Trinity River Watershed Restoration Project – Programmatic Environmental Assessment


Additional Information:

The Bureau of Reclamation’s (Reclamation) Trinity River Restoration Program (TRRP or Program), US Forest Service’s Shasta-Trinity National Forest (Forest) and Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Redding Field Office are preparing a Programmatic Environmental Assessment[1] (PEA) to evaluate aquatic habitat restoration activities in the Trinity River watershed. The PEA analysis will focus on restoration activities that improve the quality and quantity of accessible cold-water aquatic habitat. As a programmatic analysis, project activities described below may require additional decisions, site-specific surveys, and consultation with associated regulatory agencies prior to implementation. Project activities would generally occur along roads and within areas designated as riparian reserves under the Northwest Forest Plan (1994), within the Trinity River watershed, in Trinity and Humboldt counties, California.

[1] “Programmatic” is defined by the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) as any broad or high-level NEPA review that assesses the environmental impacts of proposed policies, plans, programs, or projects for which subsequent actions will be implemented either based on the Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) or Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS).

Map of the Trinity River Watershed where restoration Activities may Occur.
Map of the Trinity River Watershed where restoration Activities may Occur.

Following the 2000 Record of Decision (ROD), the U.S. Department of Interior established TRRP to restore the fisheries of the Trinity River affected by dam construction and related diversions of the Trinity River Division of the Central Valley Project. Administered by Reclamation, the TRRP is a partnership of federal and state resource agencies, Tribes, and Trinity County. The Program works to restore the processes and attributes of a properly functioning river and watershed to support the recovery of diminished salmon and steelhead populations while retaining Trinity and Lewiston dams’ delivery of water and power to the Trinity River and California’s Central Valley.

One of TRRP’s primary objectives is to complete watershed restoration to recover aquatic and riparian habitat and improve water quality around tributary streams of the Trinity River. Proposed projects would restore hillslope hydrologic connectivity, reduce fine sediment input, increase water availability, support functioning habitat, and remove barriers to improve and connect aquatic habitat and restore ecological function.

Most of the land within the Trinity River watershed is managed by the US Forest Service and the BLM. Restoration activities that take place on federally managed lands must comply with federal environmental review and permitting requirements, including compliance with the Wilderness Act of 1964 for projects in designated wilderness areas, and with the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968 for projects impacting rivers designated as wild and scenic. The proposed project would provide broad programmatic environmental analyses under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) that would be required for site specific project authorizations.

Decision to Be Made

The Responsible Official for each federal agency will sign and issue a separate NEPA decision, specific to lands managed, funding, and/or areas of responsibility under their jurisdiction. The Responsible Officials will decide whether to implement the proposed action, implement an alternative action that meets the purpose and need, or take no action.

How to Participate

Watershed restoration activities at Mill Creek, during construction (top and middle) and after construction (bottom).
Watershed restoration activities at Mill Creek, during construction (top and middle) and after construction (bottom).

You are invited to participate in the Trinity River Watershed Restoration Project PEA by providing comments to us either during the public scoping period, or during a draft PEA review period. If you have information or analysis that you feel the agencies may not be aware of or feel you have issues (points of dispute, debate or disagreement) regarding the proposed activities, please send those comments in writing to the address listed below. The agencies will consider all issues brought forward and determine if the proposed action should be adjusted or other alternatives be developed.

Comments received through these processes, including names and addresses of those who comment, will be part of the public record for this proposed action. Comments submitted anonymously will be accepted and considered; however, anonymous comments will not allow the agencies to provide the commentor with subsequent environmental documents.

Please see the Anticipated Project Timeline (below) and associated files in the Additional Information box (above) for specifics on timing and process.

Project Information and Updates:

Updates will be posted to this web page.

Public Scoping:

  • November 4 – December 5, 2022

Public Scoping Meeting

  • Thursday, November 17, 2022

Draft PEA for public comment:

  • Fall 2023

Final PEA and Decision:

  • Winter 2023/24

Proposed implementation:

  • Watershed restoration projects would be implemented with site specific surveys and compliance for individual projects tiered to the PEA.