Project 2105 License Group (2105LG) Meeting Summary
March 28, 2005
Call to order: Patti Kroen, Facilitator at 10:00 a.m.
Attendees: See Attachment 1 for list of attendees that signed in. The attendees introduced themselves and approved the meeting agenda with minor additions to provide an update on the CEQA EIR process and overall schedule for the collaborative. The Facilitator distributed copies of the January 26, 2005 meeting summary as drafted with revisions suggested by PG&E and SWRCB included as redline/strikeout. The 2105LG reviewed the revisions and approved the summary with the revisions.
Benchmark Modeling: PG&E presented two documents provided in advance of the meeting (Attachments 2 and 3) containing modeling information for the high Seneca release gaming scenarios. The objective was to develop a benchmark for flow required through the Canyon Dam low-level gate that would meet 20ºC or less from Belden to the Poe Reach, assuming no generation at Butt Valley and Caribou powerhouses. PG&E described the five SNTEMP models developed under FERC licenses 2105, 1962, and 2107 and how each is linked through input and output. The benchmark scenario used a 325cfs Seneca release and PG&E described how the water temperature is affected by solar radiation, corresponding to increased travel time through the Rock Creek Reservoir. Generally, a 1.5ºC warming is predicted in Rock Creek Reservoir for the 325cfs high Seneca release scenario. With this shift under the gaming scenario, temperatures in Rock Creek and Cresta Reaches are still likely to remain below 20ºC but temperatures in the lower Poe Reach are likely to exceed 20ºC. PG&E noted that while not considered in this analysis, the downstream reservoirs would have the same warming effect and likely further raise water temperatures at the bottom of the Poe Reach.
Bechtel reviewed the results of their latest modeling efforts to determine temperature exceedences with variable Seneca flows and reduced flow from Butt Valley Powerhouse. The baseline exceedance, using flows from the 2004 Settlement Agreement and a target of 19ºC at Belden Dam was calculated as 18% in July and 0% in August. Using Canyon Dam releases of 200 and 400cfs for July and August, respectively the 19ºC Belden Dam target exceedance is 50% and 30% for July and August, respectively. These results do not assume any decrease in flows through any of the powerhouses.
Scenario Modeling Results: Bechtel provided a presentation (See Attachment 4 for details) describing the methodology and analysis for modeling high instream flow releases for Lake Almanor and Canyon Dam and high instream flow releases for Butt Valley Reservoir. The 2105LG reviewed and discussed the resulting temperature profiles for Lake Almanor and Butt Valley Reservoir. Bechtel concluded that the temperature profile structure in Lake Almanor is dominated by solar radiation and not overly sensitive to inflows and outflows while the temperature profiles in Butt Valley Reservoir are sensitive to inflow and outflow temperatures.
Bechtel was asked to determine a flow scenario needed to achieve 70% exceedance for the 19ºC Belden Dam target temperature. To achieve 70% exceedance at 19ºC in July with 200cfs released through Canyon Dam flows through Caribou 1 and 2 would need to be reduced by an additional 260cfs. To achieve 70% exceedance in August with 400cfs releases through Canyon Dam, the flows through Caribou 1 and 2 would be reduced by an additional 460cfs. The 2105LG discussed the potential implications of this scenario to Lake Almanor surface elevations, downstream water delivery contracts, and power production from the powerhouses in the system.
NOAA expressed interest in the amount of fish habitat available under the various scenarios and the potential for hydrogen sulfide to become an issue at various flows. PG&E described the habitat assessment conducted as part of the license application. No modeling of Butt Valley Reservoir habitat has been conducted. PG&E distributed charts depicting the weighted usable area (WUA) curves for rainbow trout juveniles and adults, sucker adults, and Sacramento pike minnow juveniles and adults modeled under baseline conditions and with a 325cfs release throughout the season.
NOAA Prescription Discussion
NOAA briefly described their modified prescription for Project 2105 filed with FERC March 11, 2005. The prescription includes trapping and hauling either adults (spring run salmon and steelhead) up from below Oroville Dam into the Seneca Reach or the placement of ‘certified disease free’ eggs or fry if disease becomes an issue. PG&E would be responsible for collecting both downstream migrating fry and surviving steelhead adults and transporting them downriver to a suitable release point. NOAA stated they did not expect the prescription to require any changes to the April 2004 Settlement Agreement however some fishing regulations would need to be changed and mining activity would be curtailed. NOAA added that other potential adult release points may be identified and could be outside the Project 2105 boundary but would not be upstream of Lake Almanor. NOAA would not consider these populations experimental under the Federal Power Act; however, NOAA is still considering whether these populations would be considered experimental populations under provisions of the Federal Endangered Species Act. NOAA stated that the standard 60-day review period under its Mandatory Conditions Review Policy had passed. NOAA’s policy does not specifically provide for further review and comment on the prescription; however, NOAA would still need to consider any substantial new information. Therefore, any comments on the modified prescription should be sent to FERC and can also be sent to NOAA.
Footprints for Chiller/Cooling Tower Options
PG&E distributed and discussed the latest version of the Evaluation of Alternatives to Provide Cooler Water in the North Fork Feather River, dated March 2005 (Attachment 5). The latest version includes further analysis of the costs for several of the alternatives including Yellow Creek piping. PG&E also distributed a Feasibility Study for the Yellow Creek diversion (Attachment 6). PG&E discussed the chiller/cooling tower footprint superimposed on potential sites within the Project area and distributed aerial photo footprints (Attachment 7).
Adit Water Option Unit Costs
Black and Veatch continue to develop cost estimates for the adit water option and the evaluation document will be updated when additional information becomes available.
Update on DWR 2005 Sampling Plan
Plumas County provided an update on the status of DWR’s water sampling plan. The DWR staff person responsible for the program has left the position and his replacement has not responded to requests for information related to the planned sampling program for 2005. Plumas County suspects that the sampling may not be funded by DWR for 2005 and is investigating other funding sources.
CEQA Process Update:
Plumas County expressed concern regarding the delays associated with initiating the CEQA process and the 2105LG discussed a general schedule. PG&E and the SWRCB have agreed on the consultant and expect contracts to be in place very soon. The consultant and SWRCB have not met to establish a schedule but the SWRCB desires a timely process that fully evaluates alternatives and includes data necessary to evaluate new ideas and options such as the recent NOAA prescription, which could require additional studies and reports not included in the license application or FERC EIS. The SWRCB anticipates scoping meeting to be held in early summer.
Next Steps – Next Meetings: The Facilitator reviewed the task to be completed by the subgroup and reminded the 2105LG that the subgroup would provide refined descriptions for the three alternatives developed to address temperature issues, including the curtain alternative. The subgroup will not attempt to analyze the alternatives since that is the task of the CEQA consultants.
Action Item: The SWRCB requested that the next meeting agenda include 1) discussion of additional information related to the footprint available for a cooling tower/chiller at the Belden Adit Tunnel (second location evaluated by USFS during reconnaissance visit) and 2) analysis of the 90% and 100% exceedance case for achieving 19ºC at both the upper end of the Belden Reach at the confluence with the East Branch and also at the Belden Powerhouse.
The 2105LG agreed to the following meeting schedule:
April 27 Chico
May 24 Chico
April 21 Sacramento
Attachment 1: List of Attendees
Bob Baiocchi Anglers Committee
Sol Cranfill Wally Herger
Bill Dennison Plumas County Supervisor
Wayne Dyok MWH
Christi Goodman Plumas County
Mary Lisa Lynch CDFG
Tom Hunter Plumas County
Bob Lambert 2105 Committee
Sharon Stohrer SWRCB
Tom Jereb PG&E
Lori Powers CDFG
Bruce McGurk PG&E
Brian Morris Butte County
Stuart Running PG&E
Aaron Seandel 2105 Committee
Mike Taylor USFS
Eric Theiss NOAA
Dan Hytrek NOAA
Dale Dawson Butt Lake Anglers Association
Scott Tu PG&E
Janet Walther PG&E
Paris Moor Property Owner at Lake Almanor
Robert Gallagher Property Owner at Lake Almanor
John Dandl Property Owner at Lake Almanor
Fred Shanks Property Owner at Lake Almanor
Don Bay Property Owner at Lake Almanor
Senarath Ekanayako Bechtel
Fred Locher Bechtel
Patti Kroen Facilitator
Note: Attachment 6 - Yellow Creek Diversion Cooling Water Pipeline Feasibility Study prepared by Black and Veatch is not posted due to size limitations