The environmental analysis for the installation of a snowpack telemetry site (SNOTEL) in the upper Elwha drainage has been completed and a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) was approved on November 16 by National Park Service Pacific West Regional Director Jon Jarvis.
The environmental assessment (EA) was released in August for public review and comment. The EA analyzed three action alternatives for the installation of a SNOTEL, including the no action alternative. The selected alternative is the installation of a full SNOTEL on Buckinghorse Ridge in the upper Elwha River drainage.
The effort to provide accurate snow and precipitation measurements and improve daily runoff forecasts for the Elwha and Dungeness Rivers stems from a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)-funded proposal by the North Olympic Peninsula Resource Conservation & Development Council. This council is a private, non-profit group committed to natural resource conservation and comprised of water users on the North Olympic Peninsula. The council includes city and county governments, tribes, ports, conservation districts, public utility departments and economic development council members.
SNOTEL data will be used to verify modeling efforts which use remote sensing techniques, such as satellite imagery to estimate daily snowpack and river runoff.
* indicates the current step in the planning process
Step 1. Define purpose and need
Step 2. Conduct external scoping
Step 3. Develop preliminary alternatives
Step 4. Refine alternatives
Step 5. Identify environmental impacts and select alternative
Step 6. Prepare environmental assessment
Step 7. 30 day public review of environmental assessment
Step 8. Analyze public comments
Step 9. Prepare decision document
Step 10. Decision Document Approved by Regional Director
Step 11. Notify public of decision *
Step 12. Implement selected action or alternative
Park crews plan to install the SNOTEL in late fall, weather permitting. If conditions make installation impossible in 2007, the site will be installed in late summer 2008. The installation will require 2 to 3 days.
Both the EA and FONSI are available on this website. For more information or to request a printed copy of the FONSI, please call the park at (360) 565-3004.