Project 2105 License Group (2105LG) Meeting Summary
November 9, 2004
Call to order: Patti Kroen, Facilitator at 9:00 a.m.
Attendees: See Attachment 1 for list of attendees that signed in. The attendees introduced themselves and approved the meeting agenda with the understanding that Plumas County questions distributed by e-mail in advance of the meeting would be addressed during the discussion. The 2105LG agreed to approve the October 14, 2004 meeting summary as drafted.
Update on Sub-Committee Meeting: The FS reported back to the full 2105LG on the activities of the sub-committee, which was formed to brainstorm other possible options or combinations of alternatives to cool the water downstream of the project. The sub-committee identified three alternatives: 1) the Prattville Modification which should be fully evaluated through the CEQA process; 2) a ‘combo’ alternative that uses some combination of piping, re-operation, cooling towers, and/or vegetation management; and 3) a ‘compensation’ approach that involves watershed management outside of the project boundary. The third option may be included in the ‘combo’ alternative or may stand alone as off-site compensation. With these three alternatives in mind, the sub-committee focused on 2 and 3.
PG&E distributed a revised version of the evaluation document distributed at the October 14, 2004 2105LG meeting that includes evaluation of three more alternatives added at that meeting: piping Upper North Fork Feather River water above Caribou Powerhouse around Belden Forebay, piping Bucks Creek Powerhouse water to below Cresta Forebay, and enlargement of Round Valley Reservoir. PG&E noted that the conclusions in the document reflect PG&E’s analysis and do not necessarily represent the views of the sub-committee. The 2105LG reviewed the matrix started on flip charts at the last 2105LG meeting that lists the options and notes whether an option is technically feasible and what the likely benefits and public response might be. As the sub-committee discussed each option, they began to further refine the matrix to include technical needs, location options, and likely impacts to other resources. Many of the ‘boxes’ will be filled in with information developed through completion of a series of action items identified by the sub-committee. The sub-committee also recommended that several options by eliminated from further study and the 2105LG discussed the reasoning.
Wells were eliminated because the size of the aquifer needed to support the amount of pumping doesn’t exist in the canyon. Pumping Lake Oroville water upstream would require very high energy costs to move the water uphill, large pipelines, and involve water rights and existing contracts held by downstream users. Piping water from Bucks Lake powerhouse was eliminated due to the age of the pipeline and uncertainty of success, however piping peaking flows from Bucks tailrace to Cresta was discussed as potentially feasible although delivery would require crossing the river. This option remains on the list to evaluate further.
A new, large reservoir in the Sierra Nevada would be difficult to permit and the probability of obtaining additional storage water rights and other permits required to construct and operate a new reservoir is not likely. Additionally, the Humbug Valley, Indian Creek and Last Chance Creek locations are marginal for the size needed. The watershed is too small to support enlarging Round Valley Reservoir and the existing reservoir is too shallow to draft cold water from depth.
The 2105LG discussed the elimination process and a representative of the public asked why the Prattville modification could not be eliminated and also requested an explanation of why the temperatures need to be lowered. The SWRCB explained the FERC relicensing process and the Clean Water Act in general, and noted that the Board is compelled to evaluate the effects on aquatic resources of relicensing hydropower facilities and potential measures that could be included in a new license to improve aquatic systems as directed by the Basin Plan, a State regulation that designates beneficial uses for waters of the State. The Basin Plan designates the North Fork Feather River as cold fresh water habitat and currently the temperatures in the lower reaches are not low enough to support a cold water system. This evaluation occurs through a CEQA process that is initiated by the need for the hydropower licensee to obtain a 401 Water Quality Certificate from the SWRCB. The SWRCB confirmed that the Prattville modification would be evaluated through the CEQA process, which will include public scoping and a public review and comment period on the draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR).
The Facilitator reviewed the list of SUB-COMMITTEE ACTION ITEMS:
· Re-op modeling: PG&E will complete modeling to track temperatures downstream during July and August with altered releases from Caribou and Canyon facilities.
· Piping engineering: PG&E will have preliminary engineering estimates developed for piping alternatives with Yellow Creek piping the priority. Preliminary reconnaissance should be conducted on all three and the best option in combination with others should be further evaluated.
· ‘Red Clover’ data: Plumas County and DFG are gathering data from upstream watershed restoration activities including documented fishery benefits, modeling information, thermographic data, and potential river miles available and appropriate for attention.
· Refine the matrix: The Facilitator is refining the matrix and tracking information for the sub-committee. The matrix will be converted to an electronic format, updated with sub-committee-generated information and provided in advance of the next 2105LG meeting.
· Re-con cooling tower sites: The FS will conduct a field reconnaissance for cooling tower locations, including the East Branch, Yellow Creek.
· Review comments to FERC for other alternatives: PG&E reported that they had reviewed the comments submitted and posted to the FERC web site and found no suggestions for other alternatives.
The 2105LG discussed the time needed to complete the action items and agreed that all should be completed by mid-January. The sub-committee agreed to meet in Sacramento on January 19, 2005 and on February 8, 2005. The exact location will be forwarded when confirmed.
Update Continuing Studies and Additional Analysis: PG&E noted that additional information is being developed and added that they are currently finalizing a number of draft reports. PG&E distributed a conceptual feasibility assessment conducted by Black & Veatch that further refining the details and costs for mechanical cooling of water using towers. The assessment estimates a construction cost of $12-15 million per unit, not including specific construction constraints likely to be a factor in this location. The 2105LG discussed the interim report provided by Tom Payne & Associates describing the fishery resources in Lake Almanor.
ACTION ITEM: PG&E will distribute the draft report by Tom Payne and Associates to solicit comments and finalize.
ACTION ITEM: PG&E will provide a list of relevant reports, the status of each, a summary of the completed studies and PG&E’s position.
Next Steps – Next Meetings: The 2105LG agreed that an electronic calendar page on the web would be helpful to track when and where the next meetings will be held. The 2105LG agreed to the following meeting schedule:
January 26 Chico
February 16 Chico
January 19 Sacramento
February 8 Sacramento
ACTION ITEM: The Facilitator will work with Bob Lambert to add a meeting calendar to the 2105 Committee web site.
Attachment 1: List of Attendees
Bill Dennison Plumas County Supervisor
Wayne Dyok MWH
Christi Goodman Plumas County
Bob Hawkins USFS
Sharon Stohrer SWRCB
Tom Jereb PG&E
Lori Powers CDFG
Bruce McGurk PG&E
Lisa Randle PG&E
Mike Taylor USFS
Scott Tu PG&E
Eric Theiss* NOAA
Janet Walther PG&E
Bill Baber Property Owner at Lake Almanor
Vincent Sansone, M.D. Public
Alex Oehler Wally Herger’s office
Kristen Petersen Assemblyman Keene
Gary Mangin Property Owner at Lake Almanor
Patti Kroen Facilitator
* Via telephone