Spirit Lake Outflow Project at Gifford Pinchot National Forest

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Client: Gifford Pinchot National Forest
Time Period: 2021-Present
Staff: Ben Pogue, Dan Tormey, Emily Merickel
Service lines: Conservation, Water, Land
The USFS – Gifford Pinchot National Forest is conducting public participation prior to undergoing NEPA for the Spirit Lake Outflow Project, which would address the undersized and structurally insecure tunnel that serves as the only outlet to Spirit Lake.
The decisions made to address the tunnel could impact downstream communities as well as impact the ongoing rare and unique scientific research opportunities within the pumice plain of the National Monument. Catalyst is currently developing a Public Participation Plan to assist the USFS. As part of the plan, Catalyst is developing a comprehensive list of stakeholders who have previously been engaged in Spirit Lake planning efforts and will identify the “missing middle” stakeholders, those who have a relevant interest in the project but have not previously been engaged. Catalyst is summarizing stakeholder values and preferences and developing preliminary diagrams depicting their relationships, including a Venn diagram of issues, a nodal diagram of how parties are connected to one another, and risk register to categorize the probability and seriousness of various outcomes.
This project also involves the preparation of an Engineering Feasibility Study to develop and assess feasible outflow options for the routing of water from Spirit Lake. Catalyst’s role includes overseeing the engineering team, preparing communication materials, and engaging with stakeholders to explain and describe the various options and keep them updated on the process. Following selection of the proposed action, Catalyst will be responsible for hosting a pre-NEPA proposal development public meeting and two public scoping meetings.

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