Project 2105 License Group (2105LG) Approved Meeting Summary – February 13, 2003
Call to order: Patti Kroen, Facilitator at 9 a.m.
PG&E updated the participants on an informal meeting that occurred between PG&E and Plumas County representatives on summer water levels at Lake Almanor. PG&E received and is considering their proposal and suggested it would come into this collaborative either through the Lake Almanor Water Level and Flow (LAWLAF) subcommittee for a modeling recommendation or directly to the larger 2105LG for discussion. PG&E noted that the informal meeting was for information exchange only and reiterated that decisions would be made by the 2105LG.
Participants discussed the revised draft protocol and since Eric Theiss was not in attendance, the Facilitator read a proposed change distributed via e-mail by Eric Theiss regarding the seven days allowed for participant review of meeting summaries. Eric suggested an open-ended comment period but the Facilitator pointed out that according to the protocol, participants could not distribute the summaries to their constituents until they are finalized. She also pointed out that with meetings scheduled at two-week intervals, the time available is short and since she made a commitment to prepare the summaries and distribute within the first seven days, the participants should be able to identify time during the next seven days to review them. The group acknowledged they all have individual time constraints that may force them to miss a deadline but reaffirmed their commitment to this process. The group agreed to leave the protocol language as drafted but agreed to receive revisions after seven days in the form of an amendment to the meeting summary if a participant felt it was necessary to revise a summary. The participants agreed to finalize the process protocol document without further changes.
· The group agreed to receive revisions to meeting summaries after the seven-day deadline in the form of an amendment to the meeting summary if a participant felt a revision was necessary.
· The participants agreed to finalize the process protocol document without further changes.
Recreation and Access Issues:
David Steindorf described the interest within the whitewater community for the Belden Reach of the North Fork Feather River, a reach considered unique in California for its ability to provide summer flows for whitewater recreation. He pointed out that the Belden Reach is longer then the Rock Creek and Cresta reaches, provides a broad range of experiences from beginner to advanced level and it has good access and facilities. He described needed flows between 600-800 cfs and added that the whitewater folks believe it would be more cost-effective for PG&E than utilizing Rock Creek-Cresta. He also indicated the whitewater community was in agreement that they would not request flows on the Seneca Reach. PG&E noted that the head is three times higher at Belden than at Cresta so their calculations suggest higher operational costs, not lower as suggested.
David identified the needs to address this issue as twofold: a flow agreement for all uses and removal of invasive non-native blackberries and other vegetation encroachment. LAWLAF has not discussed the non-native species but PG&E noted they do provide some shading and temperature benefit and may be bank stabilizing. DFG noted heavy angling use on the Belden Reach and requested that any proposal consider impacts to anglers and other ecological resources. The group also acknowledged that this is a flow issue that will likely need modeling and should be discussed within the LAWLAF subcommittee. Tom Jereb noted that PG&E could meet separately with the whitewater community but suggested the 2105LG was the best place to discuss this issue since multiple interests are represented at this table. American Whitewater agreed to prepare a proposal for discussion at the next 2105LG meeting.
Bill Dennison indicated three points he wanted to discuss relative to the recreation plan outlined in PG&E’s application as follows:
1. Alternative recreation sites: If the sites proposed in the recreation plan are eliminated due to environmental or cultural resource protection needs, alternative sites should be identified.
2. East side trail: Proposal for PG&E to construct trail on east side of Lake Almanor
3. Triggering process.
He also requested that PG&E confirm the adequacy of the road to Butt Valley Powerhouse that is used to access angling sites. PG&E will confirm.
Using large-scale maps of the separate recreation areas, participants discussed the existing facilities and PG&E’s proposed improvements and/or additions. The maps are included as Attachment 2 to this summary. Specific points of clarification by location are as follows:
Stover Ranch: Beavers that have a tendency to dam Stover Creek, resulting in some flooding may be an issue to address when adding parking and a trail to the area. PG&E is willing to provide an easement and parking lot and will partner with USFS in development of a trail here ultimately connecting to the existing USFS trail.
Stumpy Beach: Users note that the homeowners across the highway from this site consider this to be their private beach.
East shore Campground: PG&E reports no showstoppers and the site will undergo cultural review shortly.
Shoreline Access and campgrounds on southwest shore: PG&E described the desire to control access and create four sites that are close to the water. USFS noted that the use permit for the existing campground has expired and it would be best to not renew since the location is within the FERC boundary. USFS added that the beach improvements are going forward with a grant to the USFS.
Marvin Alexander noted the need for senior accessible fishing sites near Chester and asked if there was any way to provide water access near town. He is also concerned that there is little recreation accessible from town for kids and asked about the possibility of a swim beach. PG&E responded that the shallowness and resultant dramatic water level fluctuations near town precluded any beach facilities. It was noted that during high water years, kids swim at the pools created in the gravel pits at the end of 1st Avenue. Regarding senior accessible fishing platforms, USFS is improving the existing one at the Canyon Dam boat launch. PG&E thought that a new accessible fishing location was also included in the recently DFG installed Hamilton Branch fishing access. It was clarified that a new accessible restroom, not fishing access, was included in this new development. A potential location for another accessible fishing site is the jetties near the USFS campgrounds
PG&E described the walkway improvements on the outside of Caribou Powerhouse and indicated they would not be enclosing the walkway with an overhead structure but rather improving the railing for safety. Dave Steindorf was concerned that enclosing the walkway would be a hindrance to whitewater boaters who needed to carry their kayaks across the walkway. PG&E plans to maintain the exterior of Caribou Camp but it is currently economically infeasible to operate and maintain otherwise. PG&E has no plans to improve the Belden Rest Stop restroom at this time although they acknowledge the site is heavily used and prone to vandalism.
PG&E reported that the recreation plan as proposed would cost (in 2002 dollars) an estimated $23 million for capital improvements and $9 million for operations and maintenance over 30 years.
DFG indicated their interest in PG&E’s participation with the fish-stocking program at Lake Almanor. DFG noted the importance of fishing to the economy at Lake Almanor and pending budget cuts that may impact the State’s ability to continue the stocking program. PG&E agreed that the stocking program at Lake Almanor is very important but countered that they pay a significant amount of state taxes and stocking programs such as this are the types of programs those taxes should be supporting. PG&E feels they should not be expected to take on those costs for the state.
USFS asked for PG&E’s position on assistance with USFS capital improvements. Tom Jereb responded that if PG&E were to make improvements, they would expect to take over the facility and convert it to a PG&E recreational facility. However, PG&E sees the value in the current practice of multiple providers to meet the public needs. PG&E requested that USFS provide preliminary 4(e) conditions or concepts as soon as possible because if PG&E was going to be asked to take over some facilities, that could alter the current PG&E proposal. Mike Taylor responded that while the USFS has talked of PG&E taking over some facilities, they have no policy statement to that effect and would prefer that the collaborative agreement be reflected in the 4(e) conditions.
The group discussed proposed ADA improvements and PG&E clarified their intention to accomplish these improvements early based on observed need. PG&E indicated that partnering with USFS on an ADA compliant fishing access site is also possible.
John Mintz distributed a handout on triggers (included in the RRMP) and described discussions he had regarding suitable criteria to use before settling on one that was approved by the Umpqua FS and used in the North Umpqua FERC project in Oregon. This scheme has been reviewed favorably by Lassen FS with some minor revisions responding to different conditions at UNFF. He also provided a handout indicating the proposed phasing for each facility (Attachment 3). John explained that the triggers will look at public campgrounds only (PG&E and USFS) and noted that Almanor is getting close to trigger levels. Monitoring will occur annually from campground and host data collected for overnight and day use activities. The boat launch trigger is 25 acres/boat but it is unlikely to be reached due to the large expanse of lake surface area. PG&E also provided copies of Exhibit 1 from the RRMP describing estimated costs for proposed recreation measures.
Wayne Dyok suggested the group consider how to move forward in drafting an agreement and he suggested that PG&E could begin to pull together information from their application documents that summarize actions such as this trigger document while the other stakeholders can develop language for other ideas. The 2105LG agreed to use the Rock Creek Cresta settlement agreement as a model for development of this settlement agreement. The agreement will be sub-divided with issues of interest to FERC included in Section A, while resolution of non-jurisdictional issues will be included in Section B. Wayne Dyok will provide PG&E with an example.
Bill Dennison reviewed an easement agreement between PG&E and Plumas County and requested that PG&E construct a non-motorized trail on that easement along the east side of Lake Almanor. PG&E countered that they had provided Plumas County with the easement, foregoing considerable land value in the process, and that the County as part of the agreement had agreed to build and maintain the trail. The parties agreed to disagree on this issue.
The Facilitator asked for comments on the proposed Recreation Plan and on the triggers. All participants were in general agreement with the plan and comfortable with the triggers as described. USFS indicated their desire to keep the door open regarding potential partnering opportunities. PG&E noted that they have met with tribal interests regarding Mountain Meadows and are moving their proposed day-use facility from the east side to near Westwood.
The participants identified the following outstanding issues or information needs:
Ø Further exploration of opportunities downstream of Canyon Dam with link to FS facilities
Ø Additional information on monitoring at dispersed recreation sites
Ø Potential to accelerate phasing schedule for Catfish Beach
Ø Whitewater flow
Ø Alternative recreation site identification
Ø Consideration of additional facilities near Chester
Ø ADA fishing access
Ø Non-motorized trail
Ø Potential to extend bicycle trail to include west side of Butt Valley Reservoir
John Mintz agreed to distribute a copy of the Recreation Management Plan to all of the participants. (Note: the two documents distributed in the meeting that are contained in the RRMP will not be attached to this summary. Participants can refer to the RRMP to review these documents.)
q Action Item 6: PG&E will confirm adequacy of road to Butt Valley Powerhouse.
Due Date: March 2003
q Action Item 7: Wayne Dyok will provide PG&E with sample settlement agreement.
Due Date: February 28, 2003
q Action Item 8: John Mintz will provide copy of Recreation Management Plan to all participants.
Due Date: February 28, 2003
· The group agreed to use the Rock Creek Cresta settlement agreement as a model for development of this settlement agreement.
· PG&E and Plumas County agreed to disagree on who is responsible for constructing and maintaining a non-motorized trail along the east side of Lake Almanor.
Focus and Prioritize 2105LG Activities:
Participants agreed that the recreation/access discussion would continue at the February 28th 2105LG meeting and include additional proposals for consideration, including American Whitewater’s proposal. Safety issues such as the Memorandum of Understanding related to hazard signage currently under development between Plumas County and the Sheriff’s Department. The February 28th meeting will also include an update on LAWLAF Committee progress.
Water quality (including temperature) and erosion are scheduled for discussion at the March 13th, 2003 meeting after Prattville modeling is available (due in February). SWRCB and Plumas County are jointly responsible for leading the discussion on water quality and erosion. Scott Tu will provide additional intermediate flow analysis requested by USFS and an update on the physical model development. The participants agreed to consider holding the March meetings of 2105LG in Chester.
Marvin Alexander 2105 Comm.
Bill Dennison Plumas Co. Sup.
Jerry Duffy Dyer Mtn.
Wayne Dyok MWH
Christi Goodman Plumas Co.
Jane Goodwin USFS
Tom Jereb PG&E
Patti Kroen Kroen
Ken Kundargi DFG
John Mintz PG&E
Steve Robinson MMC
David Steindorf Chico Paddleheads/American Whitewater
Mike Taylor USFS
Harry Williamson NPS
Bill Zemke PG&E
(Provided as separate PDF file)