Project 2105 License Group (2105LG) Approved Meeting Summary
February 16, 2006
Call to order: Patti Kroen, Facilitator at 10:10 a.m.
Attendees, Agenda, and Past Meeting Summary: See Attachment 1 for list of attendees that signed in. The attendees introduced themselves and approved the meeting agenda. The Facilitator distributed copies of the draft November 18, 2005 meeting summary with suggested revisions. The 2105LG approved the summary as revised (Attachment 2).
Status of CEQA Work
The Facilitator reviewed communications she had with SWRCB representative regarding her future involvement with the 2105LG, noting that SWRCB staff resources are severely limited and their time is allocated between multiple, on-going licensing efforts. As conveyed to the 2105LG at the June 22, 2005 meeting, the SWRCB is now dedicating staff time toward the development of the CEQA document. The SWRCB participant asked the Facilitator to remind the 2105LG that her participation during 2105 negotiations was to help guide the group toward a settlement that might balance the resources and move toward compliance with the Clean Water Act and since the settlement phase has been completed, SWRCB staff is now directing her efforts toward the legal responsibilities of the agency.
Plumas County briefed the 2105LG on their recent meeting with the SWRCB attended by legislators and SWRCB members and staff. While the thermal curtain will be included in the CEQA review process, SWRCB acknowledged that no comments received during the scoping process advocated construction of the curtain. The CEQA consultant is currently evaluating more than the 24 alternatives evaluated by the 2105LG or FERC during their NEPA analysis and expects to narrow the list to 8 by the end of July. That list would then be further narrowed to 3 or 4 by December for full analysis in the document. The SWRCB consultant expects the CEQA process to be completed by December 2007. The SWRCB confirmed that they do have authority to choose the off-site, watershed restoration alternative originally introduced by the FS and submitted by the 2105LG during scoping, although on-site options will be considered first. Plumas County is preparing a follow-up letter to SWRCB staff, reiterating their concerns and priorities, such as the financial impact on the County from any further delay in license issuance. The SWRCB recognizes the public’s interest in this evaluation and is considering holding a public meeting in the Chester area in June or July to provide a status update to interested members of the public.
PG&E reminded the 2105LG that they have no direct contact with the SWRCB consultant preparing the CEQA document other than to review the budget and progress on general tasks, but reported that the budget is 50% spent and the tasks identified for completion appear to be on track. The SWRCB consultant is working with PG&E and Bechtel modeling staff to better understand MYTEMP and SNTEMP modeling so they can perform their own runs. The SWRCB consultant is examining variations of the alternatives evaluated by the 2105LG and may request a 2-D or 3-D model for Butt Valley Reservoir.
The 2105 Committee asked for a concise statement from the 2105LG for release to the public on this topic.
Action Item: The County will draft a statement confirming status of CEQA process and distribute to both the SWRCB and 2105LG for concurrence and release to the public.
The 2105LG briefly reviewed the scoping comment letters submitted to the SWRCB related to the CEQA document.
The FS reported that five filings were received in California and two in the Pacific Northwest related to their preliminary mandatory conditions for hydropower licenses and the FS is considering the possibility of either combining the hearings or resolving the issues quickly to avoid the costly hearing process. The FS has no budget to conduct the hearings, estimated to cost between $80,000-$150,000 so they hope to resolve the issues prior to holding hearings, which are currently expected to take place in March. PG&E added that some of their concerns focus on language in standard 4(e) conditions from the FS, such as a condition to ‘eradicate noxious weeds’, which PG&E feels is not possible. Requests for hearings were filed by PG&E on both projects 2105 and 2107. Both the FS and PG&E expressed an interest in resolving the issues raised in the request prior to conducting administrative hearings.
Update on Draft Revision to Federal Clean Water Act Section 303(d) Listing
PG&E provided copies of their letter sent to the SWRCB detailing PG&E’s comments on the SWRCB’s proposal to add portions of the Feather River to the list of “Water Quality Limited Segments for California” (Attachment 3). PG&E believes the proposed listing of the Feather River below Lake Almanor for mercury is based on an inaccurate interpretation of data provided by PG&E. PG&E believes that the proposed listing of the Feather River below Lake Almanor for failing to meet water temperature criteria is inappropriate because the criterion used was developed for streams in Oregon and Washington based on a paper known as the Sullivan document, which uses unpublished data and was not peer reviewed, utilizes a risk-based methodology that is unproven as a temperature criteria, and is overly stringent as compared to USEPA criterion of 24ºC. Please see the attachment for further details.
Plumas County considers this action by the SWRCB as a serious attempt to force more stringent temperature controls than are reasonable or attainable. The 2105LG discussed how temperature criteria are chosen and applied to western slope Sierra streams and suggested that an unimpaired stream such as the Middle Fork Feather River should be examined to determine an appropriate temperature target, rather than assigning a 21ºC target for all foothill watersheds. PG&E noted that the Association of California Water Agencies is involved in this issue, raising it to a statewide concern. Plumas County distributed a Notice of Public Hearing for the Triennial Review of the Water Quality Control Plan for the Sacramento and San Joaquin River Basins, to be held on either March 16 or 17 at the Regional Water Quality Control Board office in Rancho Cordova (Attachment 4).
FERC Approval of Marvin Alexander Beach Day Use Area
PG&E reported that on February 3, 2006 FERC approved the request to build the Marvin Alexander Beach Day Use Area. Construction will begin on August 1, should take approximately 60 days to complete, and will involve some vegetation removal, grading, sand placement, restroom installation, and trail construction for lake access. An earlier start may be possible, however construction is constrained by the location of an eagle nest in the vicinity. PG&E plans to hold a small groundbreaking ceremony in the spring and is coordinating with Marvin’s family on the specific date and on language to be inscribed on a commemorative plaque for the site.
PG&E Testing of Canyon Dam Outlet Tower Gates
PG&E described their efforts to test the flows through the Canyon Dam outlet tower described in the 2105 Settlement Agreement and reminded the 2105LG that PG&E engineers were concerned about vibration within the tower. A 12:1 model of the tower and tunnel were constructed and flows up to 2000 cfs were tested with sensitive vibration equipment mounted on both the dam and tunnel structure. PG&E reported that no vibration or other impacts of concern were found during testing and they feel confident that the releases as described in the 2105 Settlement Agreement can be accomplished. Recent repairs on the gate lift structures have been completed and provide additional comfort that the pulse flows can be released safely. PG&E added that seismic issues associated with the tower structure are being evaluated and may require some structural modifications to stiffen the tower but this will not affect the ability to make the releases as agreed.
Discussion of Potential Impacts on 2105 Settlement Agreement from ERC, Poe, and Oroville Fish Passage Decisions
The 2105LG briefly discussed activities within the ERC associated with the Rock Creek-Cresta license, Poe license activities, and fish passage decisions coming from the Oroville relicensing proceeding. The ERC did not make a recommendation regarding the thermal curtain and is awaiting the outcome of the CEQA analysis. The tentative Oroville fish passage decision resulted in NOAA temporarily withdrawing their fish passage prescriptions on the Feather River and focusing instead on other stream reaches (some outside of the Feather River watershed) where efforts to reintroduce anadromous fish species would likely be more successful.
Future Meeting Schedule – Next Steps
The 2105LG agreed to not schedule another meeting at this time, but to monitor the CEQA schedule and activities to determine when the 2105LG should meet again. The group agreed that the next meeting may be in the June/July timeframe, depending on whether the SWRCB decides to hold a meeting to update the public on the status of the CEQA process and whether the alternatives for evaluation have been identified by then.
Attachment 1: List of Attendees
Bill Dennison Plumas County (via telephone)
Wayne Dyok MWH
Richard Fording Property Owner at Lake Almanor
Lorena Gorbet MCDG
Tom Hunter Plumas County
Tom Jereb PG&E
Patti Kroen Facilitator
Aaron Seandel 2105 Committee
Fred Shanks Property Owner at Lake Almanor
Mike Taylor USFS
Sharon Thrall Lake Almanor District 3 Supervisor Candidate
Attachment 3 (Hard copy provided on request)
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING
TRIENNIAL REVIEW OF THE WATER QUALITY CONTROL PLAN FOR THE
SACRAMENTO RIVER AND SAN JOAQUIN RIVER BASINS
The Regional Water Quality Control Board, Central Valley Region (Water Board) will hold a public hearing to complete the Triennial Review of the Water Quality Control Plan for the Sacramento River and the San Joaquin River Basins (Basin Plan). The public hearing will be part of a regular meeting of the Water Board at the time and location noted below:
Date: 16 or 17 March 2006
Time: 8:30 am
Place: Regional Water Quality Control Board office
11020 Sun Center Drive, Suite 200 Rancho Cordova, CA 95670
On 18 March 2005, the Water Board conducted a workshop to receive comments from the public on issues that should be considered in the review of the Basin Plan and the priority that should be given to each issue. Based on comments received in writing and at the workshop, staff has prepared a workplan which summarizes the issues identified and presents staff recommendations for the priority for addressing them.
Interested persons may download the draft triennial review workplan and the response to the triennial review comments in PDF format from the Water Board’s Internet website at http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/centralvalley/available_documents/index.html under the heading Basin Plans. Copies of these documents can also be obtained by contacting or visiting the Water Board’s office at 11020 Sun Center Drive, #200, Rancho Cordova, California 95670-6114 weekdays between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
In order to be included in the written response to comments that is a part of the final administrative record, written comments should be submitted by 1 March 2006 to Ms. Betty Yee, Regional Water Quality Control Board, Central Valley Region, 11020 Sun Center Drive, #200, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670. At the hearing on either 16 or 17 of March 2006, staff will summarize the written comments and present a final recommendation for Water Board consideration. Interested persons will be provided the opportunity to present oral comments to the Water Board at the hearing, and are expected to orally summarize their written submittals. Oral testimony will be limited in time by the Board Chair.
Confirmation of the hearing date and any questions regarding the triennial review should be directed to Ms. Yee at (916) 464-4643 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The hearing facilities will be accessible to persons with disabilities. Individuals requiring special accommodations are requested to contact Ms. Janice Tanaka at (916) 464-4839 at least 5
working days prior to the meeting. TTY users may contact the California Relay Service at 1-800-735 2929 or voice line at 1-800-735-2922.
Please bring the above information to the attention of anyone you know who would be interested in this matter.
KENNETH LANDAU, Acting Executive Officer
25 January 2006