On April 29, 2004 PG&E, on behalf of the 2105 Licensing Group,
filed with the FERC the April 22, 2004
Settlement Agreement and a
transmittal letter for Project 2105. This marks a significant milepost
in the Project 2105 licensing process. While not all issues are resolved
and not all participants signed the agreement, the 2105 Committee believes that
the Settlement Agreement achieves many of the 2105 Committee’s ultimate
goals for Lake Almanor and the Feather River downstream of the lake.
The agreement addresses Project 2105 reservoir lake levels,
stream flows below project dams, water quality monitoring, wildlife habitat
enhancement, and recreation enhancements. The issue of shoreline erosion
at Lake Almanor is not addressed1 in the
Settlement Agreement and remains an
unresolved issue. Boating and swimming safety on Lake Almanor is
addressed in a separate agreement.
It is assumed that the principles agreed to by the
in the Settlement Agreement will ultimately be incorporated into PG&E's new FERC
license for Project 2105.
Under the agreement, PG&E will be required to operate Lake
lake levels during the summer months. The agreed to minimum lake
levels represent a compromise reached by the Parties
and strike a balance between lake levels and required releases below Canyon Dam.
PG&E's technical studies indicate that the lake levels will, on average, be no
less than what has occurred over the past 20 years.
In Normal and Wet years, the lake will be no less than
elevation 4485 feet between June 1 and August 31. During Dry years, the
lake will be no less than 4483 feet on May 31 and no less than 4480 feet between
June 1 and August 31. In Critically Dry years, the lake will be no less
than 4482 feet on May 31 and no less than 4480 feet between June 1 and August
31. The type of water year
2(e.g. Dry or Normal) depends on the
predicted seasonal inflow into Lake Oroville and is defined as the
Water Year Type.
The minimum lake level may be temporarily reduced in the event
of 1) an
Multiple Dry Years or 3) a
Temporary Modification if, for example, substantial maintenance or repair
work is need on Project facilities.
The maximum lake level will continue to be 4494 feet.
PG&E will continue to
meet between March 15 and May 15 annually with a committee appointed by the
Plumas County Board of Supervisors.
Fish flows in the Seneca Reach and
Belden Reach will be significantly increased under the Settlement Agreement.
PG&E currently releases 35 cubic feet/second (cfs3)
year around into the Seneca Reach and, for the Belden Reach, PG&E releases 140
cfs from the last Saturday in April to Labor Day and 60 cfs for the rest of the
year. Under the agreement, the Seneca Reach fish flow will be increased to
60 cfs and 150 cfs depending on month and
Year Type. The average annual volume of fish flow released from
Lake Almanor into the Seneca Reach will change from 25,339 acre-feet to 64,431
acre-feet, an increase of 39,092 acre-feet
Fish flow in the Belden Reach will be increased to between
75 cfs and 235 cfs depending on the month and
Year Type. No current fish flows below Butt Valley Dam are required
and none are required under the agreement, however, PG&E will be prohibited in
reducing any leakage or other flows now occurring below the dam.
In January, February, and March of Wet
or Normal years, PG&E will be required to release
in both the Seneca and Belden Reaches for the purpose of improving and
preserving the aquatic conditions in each reach. The pulse flow releases
will result in river flows of about 1200 cfs for a period of 12 hours and will
in accordance with the Settlement Agreement
Within 6 months of issuance of the new
Project 2105 FERC license, PG&E will establish a "Recreation River Flow
Technical Review Group4" (TRG)
for the purpose of evaluating whether or not recreation river flows will be
established in the Belden Reach. If the TRG determines that the recreation
test flows should be conducted, and if the test flows are ultimately successful,
then PG&E will be required to
release 650 cfs or 750 cfs (depending on
Year Type) during the day on one or more weekend days during July, August,
September, and October.
The number of release days each year may be adjusted up or
down depending on how many boaters take advantage of the recreation flow
releases in the prior year. PG&E may postpone recreation flow releases in
the event of an
Water Quality Monitoring
PG&E will be required to
conduct ongoing water quality monitoring of project waters to ensure that water
quality standards are met and to identify any trends in water quality conditions
that may occur over time that may require remediation. The list of
constituents to be monitored includes metals, minerals, nutrients, and bacteria.
Within three months of issuance of the new Project 2105 FERC license PG&E must
develop plans to study and monitor:
PG&E must prepare an
annual water quality report and must consult with the State Water Regional
Control Board, the Regional Water Quality Control Board, and other
Water Quality Parties to analyze the annual water quality data. The
annual report will be reviewed and discussed in a discussion group
consisting of PG&E, aquatic resources management agencies and Water Quality
Parties between April 15 and April 28 each year.
Wildlife Habitat Enhancement
Within 12 months of issuance of the new Project
2105 FERC license PG&E will prepare a
Wildlife Habitat Enhancement Plan in consultation with the Forest Service,
Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Game, State Water
Resources Control Board, and Plumas County.
The Plan will be designed to protect a variety of
sensitive biological resources primarily through fencing and vehicle exclusion
measures. PG&E's initial investment will be limited to $20,000 (in 2005
dollars) and an ongoing annual maintenance cost of $5,000 (2004 dollars).
Within one year of issuance of the new Project 2105 FERC
license PG&E must make final the Draft UNFFR
Recreation Resource Management Plan ("RRMP") that was filed as part of
PG&E's Project 2105 FERC filing. The RRMP describes the development of
recreation facilities at both Lake Almanor and Butt Valley reservoir that
will be constructed over the next 13 years.
recreation facilities include new and refurbished camp sites, picnic
areas, beaches, and a boat launch. Camp sites will serve a variety of
uses including conventional campsites, RVs and group camping. Camping
facilities will be constructed or refurbished to current standards including
the Americans with Disability Accessibility Guidelines.
The PSEA Swim Beach at Pratville will be improved and named the "Marvin
Alexander Beach" after Marvin Alexander, an original founder of the Lake
Level Committee, longtime summer resident of Lake Almanor and a Project 2105
PG&E and the Forest Service ("FS")
will share the costs on a 40/60 basis for improvements to
FS-owned facilities at the Almanor Family Campground, Almanor Group
Campground, Almanor Amphitheater, Almanor Picnic Area, and Almanor Beach.
The improvements at these facilities will occur over an expected 13 year
period and will cost PG&E $5 million (in 2004 dollars).
PG&E will contribute matching funds up to a maximum of
$300,000 to Plumas County for construction of a non-motorized recreation trail
across lands owned by PG&E on the south side of Lake Almanor as a continuation
of the Lake Almanor Regional Trail to the East Shore Campground. The
county will repair and maintain the trail including any repairs for damages that
may be caused by PG&E raising and lowering the water in Lake Almanor.