Project 2105 License Group (2105LG) Meeting Summary
May 24, 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. The Facilitator distributed copies of the April 27, 2005 meeting summary as drafted with revisions suggested by participants included as redline/strikeout. The 2105LG reviewed the revisions and approved the summary with the suggested revisions. Plumas County informed the 2105LG that they had met with representatives of NOAA and FS to discuss the County’s interests and concerns with the proposed introduction of salmon to the Seneca Reach including potential impacts to fishing, mining, logging, and other recreation activities in the reach. Letters to FERC in response to NOAA’s proposal were not discussed during their meeting.
Adding Detail to Alternative D
Plumas County provided a summary of Alternative D, and distributed a document labeled ‘Final Draft The Potential for Upper Watershed Rehabilitation to Ameliorate or Mitigate Impairments to Cold Water Stream Temperatures and Cold Water Fisheries in the Mainstem of the North Fork Of the Feather River’ (Attachment 2) and the Facilitator provided the list of bullets developed by the sub group for review (Attachment 3). Plumas added that Alternative D would include recommendations contained in comments made by Bob Orange related to fishery regulatory enforcement. The 2105LG discussed the bullet points contained in the document’s executive summary. Plumas County has requested funding from the Rock Creek-Cresta ERC for the data archive task and reported a positive response to the request.
The 2105LG clarified that ‘re-studies’ means to perform a desktop evaluation of the restoration projects included on the table on page 24 within the Alternative D document, revisiting the individual project efforts and results to gauge effectiveness and determining if further actions are needed/desired. Plumas County indicated the focus of this effort would be the Red Clover project. The 2105LG discussed the need to expand the table and provide specific information on individual project location, detailed descriptions of actions taken, monitoring results, temperature benefits realized, benefits to other water quality parameters realized, and unit cost. This information will be useful for both the Licensee and SWRCB decision-makers in comparing alternatives. PG&E noted that actions that have proven to be successful should require less monitoring activities and we should learn from past lessons and evolving techniques to get the best return on money spent. PG&E and Plumas County will develop a draft table for consideration by the 2105LG.
Action Item: PG&E and Plumas County will develop a draft table as part of Alternative D to include specific information regarding individual projects including project location, detailed description of action taken, monitoring results, temperature benefits, benefits to other water quality parameters, and unit cost.
The 2105LG acknowledged that under CEQA, potential mitigation on-site must be fully explored before off-site mitigation is considered. A final revision of the document describing the 24 on-site alternatives for temperature moderation considered by the 2105LG is being prepared by PG&E and should be available to the 2105LG next month. The 2105LG discussed tributary fish passage to provide salmon access to available habitat and provide refuge from either high flow or high water temperature events in the mainstem channel and the role of the ERC in considering these actions on Rock Creek-Cresta. Spawning gravel locations in tributaries are documented in the literature but temperature parameters are not well defined. PG&E will distribute a summary report in June that will include the temperature modeling work, water quality and biological studies for the watershed including projects 2105, 1962, and 2107. The report will be provided to the 2105LG, the 1962 ERC and the 2107 collaborative simultaneously.
The 2105LG discussed how best to provide the information from the 2105LG to FERC and the SWRCB. The participants agreed that it would likely be difficult to get all of the original signatories to the April 2004 Settlement Agreement to sign an amendment to that Agreement. The group considered developing a broad statement, confirming that the 2105LG evaluated 24 proposed actions and recommending that Alternative D be considered for further evaluation as the 2105LG’s preferred alternative to address water temperature issues. PG&E noted that in addition to the water temperature modeling data, water quality and biological studies, the summary document that will be distributed in June would include PG&E’s conclusions regarding which alternative should be supported. The 2105LG agreed to revisit this topic at their next meeting, after reviewing the PG&E document. There was general support for a statement from the 2105LG, accompanied by supporting rationale and signed by as many supporters as willing. The statement may or may not include a preferred alternative but would include a statement of 2105LG opposition to the curtain (Alternative A).
CEQA Process Update
PG&E reported that the consultant has signed the contract and PG&E is expected to sign this week. Plumas County reiterated their disappointment at the delays associated with initiating the CEQA process and their desire that scoping be held in Chester during the summer when people are at Lake Almanor. PG&E and SWRCB have a kick off meeting scheduled with the consultant for June 6th and PG&E anticipates scoping to be held in either July or August however, PG&E noted that once the consultant is hired, they are directed by the SWRCB who will set the schedule. Plumas County reminded the 2105LG that the SWRCB promised Assemblyman Keene that a pre-evaluation process of the curtain alternative would be completed and if appropriate, the alternative eliminated from further review early in the CEQA process.
The Facilitator shared e-mail from Plumas County suggesting that the 2105LG remain intact until the completion of the Draft EIR. The 2105LG reviewed the list of unresolved issues included in the April 2004 Settlement Agreement. The participants agreed to disagree on the issue of shoreline erosion. PG&E will provide a written response to the question of water temperature effects from whitewater flow releases in the Belden Reach. The participants discussed the license term and whether the watershed projects should be licensed simultaneously (all North Fork Feather River project license expiration dates would be the same). The 2105LG agreed that the Settlement Agreement adequately describes the various participants’ opinion related to license term. The 2105LG discussed the angler trail access issue and PG&E re-stated their position that the action is not project-related so this issue remains unresolved. While Alternative D includes off-site mitigation in the form of riparian restoration, the wetland off-site mitigation proposal to mitigate for pre-project impacts remains unresolved.
The participants discussed the role of the 2105LG to provide information to the consultants and SWRCB during the CEQA process and agreed that a discussion on how best to interact with the consultant should be on the next meeting agenda. The participants discussed the various points during the CEQA process when input and comment is requested and it was suggested that we ask someone that is further along in the SWRCB 401 water quality certification process for advice. The 2105LG agreed to continue to meet through the Draft EIR process.
Future Meeting Schedule
The 2105LG agreed to review the new table for Alternative D and a Plumas County Alternative D Proposal with the goal of better defining the framework for an off-site restoration program to recommend to the SWRCB for consideration in the CEQA document as an alternative to on-site temperature modification actions. The group anticipates an update on the CEQA process and possible preliminary schedule at the next meeting. The group will also review the summary document prepared by PG&E at the July meeting. The group agreed that meetings would continue to be held in Chico.
The 2105LG agreed to the following meeting schedule:
June 22 Chico
July 18 Chico
August 24 Chico
September 22 Chico
PG&E had requested a cost estimate for one of the 24 temperature modification actions involving tapping into powerhouse water through adit tunnels and piping the water to a location downstream. PG&E distributed the Final Prefeasibility Level Sizing and Cost Estimate Summary Memorandum (Attachment 4) and explained that since the tunnels are necessary for emergency as well as maintenance access, the pipeline tapping through the adit plug would need to be buried. The estimated cost is $15 million to achieve approximately 0.5ºC benefits. This information will be included in the 24-Alternative Evaluation Summary being revised by PG&E.
Attachment 1: List of Attendees
Dawn Alvarez USFS
Wayne Dyok MWH
Christi Goodman Plumas County
Lorena Gorbet MCDG
Tom Hunter Plumas County
Tom Jereb PG&E
Dave Kimbrell Property Owner
Patti Kroen Facilitator
Bob Lambert 2105 Committee
Bruce McGurk PG&E
Stuart Running PG&E
Aaron Seandel 2105 Committee
Fred Shanks Property Owner at Lake Almanor
Terri Simon-Jackson USFS
David Steindorf American Whitewater
Mike Taylor USFS
Eric Theiss NOAA
Scott Tu PG&E