Project 2105 License Group (2105LG) Approved Meeting Summary – June 26, 2003
Call to order: Patti Kroen, Facilitator at 9:00 a.m.
Action Items – Review:
The Facilitator reviewed the progress on action items since the last 2105LG meeting. Action Item 5: The letter regarding an easement at Section 17 has not been sent. Tom Jereb updated the 2105LG on the status of the Hamilton Branch amendment in light of the proposed settlement, which is available on the company web site. He explained that the PUC, the company’s Board of Directors and the Bankruptcy Court must approve the proposed settlement before it is final however, he acknowledged that since comments on the amendment are due July 11, 2003, PG&E wanted to make a decision very soon on whether or not to file the amendment. He told the 2105LG to expect a decision early next week. The 2105LG will be notified as soon as a decision has been made.
Tom briefly described provisions in the proposed settlement agreement to create conservation easements over much of PG&E’s watershed lands. Janet Walther with PG&E clarified that these decisions would need to be approved by a governing board and go through the CPUC 851 filing process. Plumas County expressed concerns with such conservation easements due to potential inconsistencies with the County general plan and the potential effects on historical uses. USFS suggested that through relicensing, PG&E might need to delay the creation of any conservation easements on FERC 2105 project boundary lands until recreation decisions have been made. Tom Jereb confirmed that conservation easements would affect alternative recreation sites should any of those currently proposed prove to be unacceptable.
Action Item 28: The Facilitator reported that the Whitewater Task Force had met and scheduled another meeting for later in July. She distributed hard copies of the Thomas Payne and Associates Lake Almanor fishery study scope (Action Item 29) and PG&E’s letter response to the channel/access project both of which had been electronically distributed to the 2105LG earlier (Attachments 2 and 3). Tom Jereb noted that while PG&E did not support the marina as part of their recreation plan for FERC, if the County wanted to enter into a partnership with others to construct and operate the project, they could submit a proposal to PG&E for consideration.
Text Revisions to Shoreline Management Plan (SMP):
John Mintz with PG&E reviewed the proposed revisions to the SMP and the 2105LG discussed remaining issues related to the SMP as follows:
Permitting: Plumas County would prefer a one-stop permitting shop where shoreline landowners could obtain all necessary permits. PG&E is not capable of enforcing another entity’s permitting process but could establish a permit office where information on all of the permits required and the actual permit applications could be made available.
Removal of trees posing hazards: PG&E would prefer to continue following the existing plan. Currently, PG&E consults with California Fish and Game if a tree hazard is identified below the water line. Floating logs are handled on a case-by-case basis as PG&E is notified of the location. The County would prefer that PG&E coordinate more with other agencies and identify and remove hazards through a regularly scheduled program.
Enforcement: PG&E proposes to fund the sheriff for a ˝ time person for enforcement efforts. PG&E land staff would continue to enforce the SMP as they currently do. PG&E is also proposing a County ordinance to restrict vehicle use below 4500 feet except in designated areas.
Designation justification: CSPA proposes that within the shoreline designations, areas of high resource value such as spawning habitat or high value angling be identified and considered when justifying inclusion within a designation. Fish habitat mapping would help to protect high value habitats. Plumas County wants to avoid shoreline designations that raise property rights issues beyond the scope of relicensing.
Erosion: Plumas County and PG&E have agreed to disagree on the erosion issue.
The 2105LG discussed potential zoning conflicts within the project area and the need to either be consistent or explain any inconsistencies between the project and County zoning. Wayne Dyok suggested that it may be important to give general guidance in areas with high resource values and the FS added that if we get too detailed we run the risk of pre-empting another agency. John Mintz described the efforts by Plumas County staff and consultants to compare the SMP to the County General Plan and identify locations where the SMP is inconsistent with county zoning. He provided a map of Lake Almanor showing the proposed shoreline management zones and comments from Plumas County (Attachment 4) and the 2105LG discussed the following specific locations:
The Causeway: The 2105LG was comfortable with the conservation designation if it contains language that recognizes and allows existing uses to continue such as the non-motorized boat access in the causeway area.
From the Causeway to the Airport: The County prefers a recreation designation instead of conservation so that future potential development is not precluded. Christi Goodman will check with Plumas County Planning regarding any plans for airport runway expansion. Decision pending.
Airport and Proposed Marina Channel: The County prefers a recreation designation instead of conservation so that future development is not precluded. The group discussed how the designation could be amended to include specific language acknowledging that the County is interested in pursuing a marina in this area. Wayne Dyok added that the County is looking at a specific proposal and would like to keep the option of some recreational development at Chester open. The 2105LG supported inclusion of a recreation designation in the area with the understanding that language would be included regarding additional analysis necessary for any development proposal. The 2105LG suggested an amendment process to adjust designations in the future could be described and included in the SMP.
Bailey Creek: Plumas County has an interest in a recreation designation for the area to allow for potential future marina development. The 2105LG acknowledged that the western portion of the peninsula provides very high value fish habitat.
John Mintz clarified that the SMP does not include Butt Lake. By the July 31,2003 2105LG meeting, John will make the text revisions to the SMP; Christi Goodman will complete the map task and forward maps to John. PG&E will review zoning inconsistencies provided by Christi and provide comments via e-mail.
Text Revisions to Recreation Management Plan (RMP):
John Mintz will make the text revisions to the RMP but reminded the participants that further revisions may be necessary resulting from 4(e) conditions. Harry Williamson reminded the 2105LG that suggested language in the RMP related to whitewater flows needs to be revised because currently such flows are specifically excluded from consideration. Harry will provide suggested text revision indicating that whitewater flow is an issue under consideration.
Plumas County/PG&E MOU Hazard Marking Issue:
Two issues related to the Hazard Marking MOU remain unresolved:
Helicopter surveys: Wayne Dyok provided a reference to Project 2458 where the licensee committed to doing aerial maps as an alternative to marking hazards. At Lake Almanor, PG&E has agreed to mark hazards and prepare a map for public distribution but will not agree to scheduled aerial surveys in an MOU. PG&E added that if the helicopter was there for other activities, hazards might be identified during that other work.
Lighted buoys: PG&E has not found an example of a licensee providing this and is not willing to set a precedent at Lake Almanor that could become an expectation for the many other PG&E reservoirs.
PG&E suggested that development of a hazard-marking plan as a FERC condition may be a better alternative than to pursue the MOU any further and offered to draft a proposal. Bill Zemke will provide a draft plan to the 2105LG in advance of the next 2105LG meeting.
The 2105LG discussed the Thomas Payne scope of work and Jerry Mensch commented that he felt the use of the term ‘depletion’ was inappropriate and biased. Stu Running responded that the term was not used in any discussion with the public but was included on this internal scope of work only. Jerry was also concerned that the effort described in the scope is inconsistent with Project 1962 license. After some discussion to clarify the activities, the 2105LG supported better and earlier communication from PG&E to avoid future confusion and misinformation.
LAWLAF Presentation and Discussion:
Bruce McGurk lead a discussion of the LAWLAF subcommittee’s efforts and resulting proposal. His presentation is provided as Attachment 5 to this summary. He noted the group worked well together and focused on developing minimum flow levels on individual stream reaches, recognizing agency mandates, environmental conditions, and lake level considerations. LAWLAF first developed a set of attribute tables and rationale statements to help focus on the primary and secondary physical, biological, social and management drivers of the system. This tool assisted in the development of the monthly flow regime for each reach.
The subcommittee identified the need for a water balance model which PG&E built as an excel spreadsheet covering a 33-year period of record. A water temperature model was also developed. The water balance model tracks lake level, water volumes, and provides data for the water temperature model. LAWLAF identified a number of potential alternative flow regimes and began to bracket the range of options. They learned several lessons:
v Losses cannot be shared between power generation and lake level as previously suggested
v Water year type is useful for changing minimum streamflow but not a predictor of lake level
v Temperature and volume of water from Prattville overwhelms Seneca Flow at Belden
v East Branch temperature/volume can overwhelm Belden temperature/volume, especially in extreme years
Bruce explained that LAWLAF saw no reason to change current conditions in Lower Butt Creek and provided a specific rationale document (see Attachment 5). The recommendation is to leave the weir in place and develop and implement a monitoring plan to confirm continued high spawning use.
LAWLAF developed a Seneca Flow and Belden Flow schedule that meets biological goals a large percentage of the time while considering other drivers and attributes. The Belden Flow schedule is complicated by the addition of pulse flows in both winter and summer and the uncertainty of any potential temperature modification structure at Prattville.
Bruce described the Almanor management objectives as power generation, recreation, flood control, irrigation, and fish and wildlife habitat. He noted that the County and PG&E share an objective to have the reservoir as high as possible in the summer. The County identified 905,000 AF as an objective for Lake Almanor on September 15 while PG&E’s current guide is to peak Almanor around July 1. Tom Hunter said the County was supportive of the 75 csf proposed in the PG&E application and would need to see justification for any changes such as these due to the effect such changes would have on lake levels. He suggested clarifying language be developed to reflect the difference between the County’s target values and PG&E’s approach to set minimums for specific dates. Bruce agreed that clarification would be helpful and added that LAWLAF is concerned that the May 31 target is too early. The model shows that using those targets, emergency releases would have been required an additional seven years. On the other hand, if September storage is below 740,000 AF then downstream temperatures are impacted.
Bruce explained the power flow evaluation and reported that generation losses range from 3-10% depending on the scenario. High winter minimum streamflows appear to have relatively large impacts in terms of lost generation. He noted that LAWLAF effort was focused on the best flows to meet ecological and lake level objectives and the potential power loss was not considered a limiting factor.
Scott Tu presented the water temperature model that uses data from the water balance model to determine potential temperature changes within project waters from changes in flow releases. Lake Almanor and Butt Valley are modeled using a 1-dimensional model. The mass inflow-outflow balance rather than water year type drives Lake Almanor conditions. Results of his model indicate that the Prattville modification operated to optimize efficiency would keep Butt Valley water temperature levels below 20 degrees C under nearly all water year conditions for the flows modeled. Butt Valley temperatures approach 20 degrees C under low water conditions in September under the modified Prattville scenario. A question remains concerning the effect that removal of water from the cold band within the lake may have on lake turnover in the fall. Effects on DO are also important to review.
Results of the modeling for the Belden Reach indicate under median water conditions 20 degree C is exceeded in July and August with the existing Prattville intake. With the modified Prattville intake, the 20 degrees C temperature is not exceeded except under low water level conditions.
The 2105LG discussed the findings and agreed to review the information and provide comments for discussion at the next 2105LG meeting.
The Facilitator reminded participants that the next 2105LG meeting is scheduled for July 10, 2003 at the Rio Lindo Offices of PG&E in Chico. Several participants expressed a desire to re-schedule the July 10th meeting due to schedule conflicts. The Facilitator will poll the 2105LG by e-mail to determine if an alternate date can be arranged. If not, the 2105LG suggested the meeting be cancelled and agenda items moved to the following meeting scheduled for July 24th. The next 2105LG meeting agenda is expected to include final review of text revisions for the RMP and an update on the status of the SMP, and an in-depth discussion of LAWLAF recommendations. The Facilitator will confirm with Wayne Dyok his suggestion to include a discussion of the scoping document comments submitted by participants to FERC. PG&E confirmed that the boilerplate language to be used would closely follow Rock Creek-Cresta settlement agreement as a model.
The Facilitator suggested that the July 31st meeting would include an update and review of the document sections and assignments as follows:
Water Temperature Taylor/Stohrer
Lake Level Dyok
Rec Facilities Mintz
Water Quality Goodman
Flow Schedule LAWLAF
SMP/RMP Mintz/Plumas County
Boilerplate sections PG&E
She noted that the Whitewater flow subcommittee is scheduled to meet on July 16th and July 25th and expect to have recommendations for the July 31st 2105LG meeting. The LAWLAF subcommittee will meet prior to the July 24th meeting to discuss comments and prepare answers to questions submitted by the 2105LG.
q Action Item 34: PG&E will notify 2105LG as soon as decision has been made regarding the filing of Hamilton Branch Amendment.
Due Date: ASAP
q Action Item 35: Christi Goodman will check with Plumas County Planning regarding any plans for airport runway expansion.
Due Date: June 26, 2003.
q Action Item 36: John Mintz will make the text revisions to the SMP; Christi Goodman will complete the map task and forward maps to John. PG&E will review zoning inconsistencies provided by Christi and provide comments via e-mail. John Mintz will make the text revisions to the RMP.
Due Date: July 31, 2003.
q Action Item 37: Harry Williamson will provide suggested text revision indicating that whitewater flow is an issue under consideration for insertion in the RMP.
Due Date: July 31, 2003.
q Action Item 38: PG&E will develop a draft hazard-marking plan and distribute to 2105LG for review.
Due Date: July 24, 2003.
Upcoming 2105LG meeting dates and tentative locations:
July 10 Chico (NOTE: Facilitator will poll 2105LG participants for alternative dates)
July 24 Chico
July 31 Chester
Attachment 1: List of Attendees
Michael Condon USFS
Wayne Dyok* MWH
Christi Goodman Plumas County
Robert Hughes CDFG
Tom Hunter Plumas County
Tom Jereb PG&E
Patti Kroen Kroen
Bruce McGurk PG&E
Jerry Mensch CSPA
John Mintz PG&E
David Moller PG&E
Steve Robinson MMC
Stu Running PG&E
David Steindorf American Whitewater
Sharon Stohrer* SWRCB
Scott Tu PG&E
Janet Walther PG&E
Harry Williamson National Parks Service
Bill Zemke PG&E
Attachment 2: Thomas Payne Work Order Task
Thomas Payne Work Order Task
Lake Almanor Temperature Control Device Fishery Impact Analysis
1. Acquire and review existing PG&E fishery data
2. Acquire and review existing CDFG (and other agencies/fishery groups, as
appropriate) fishery data
3. Acquire and review literature on other similar temperature control devices
(TCD) (e.g., Lake Shasta, Whiskeytown, Lewiston, Tennessee Valley
4. Review results of PG&E’s water temperature model and dissolved oxygen
model for Lake Almanor (coordinate with S. Tu)
5. Review results of physical and mathematical models currently being
developed/proofed by the University of Iowa and Bechtel of the various
proposed TCDs for obtaining downstream cold water for the Rock Creek-
Cresta and Poe projects (coordinate with S. Tu)
6. Identify any potential impacts to fishery resources of Lake Almanor based on
the reviews conducted above and identify other reviews and/or studies that
may be needed to be conducted in order fully assess fishery resource impacts
from the depletion of cold water resources for downstream temperature control
in the Rock Creek-Cresta and Poe reaches of the North Fork Feather River
Attachment 3: PG&E letter response to Chester Marina Proposal (pdf file sent as separate file)
Attachment 4: Shoreline Management Zones (map available on request)
Attachment 5: LAWLAF Presentation (Set of three files provided separately)