Project 2105 License Group (2105LG) Meeting Summary
October 14, 2004
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 observed a moment of silent reflection honoring of Marvin Alexander. The 2105LG amended the agenda as requested by Plumas County to allow presentation of a County Board of Supervisors resolution related to the Prattville Curtain. The 2105LG discussed a revision requested by the 2105 Committee regarding effects of the temperature curtain and agreed that a sentence would be revised reflecting an understanding between the 2105 Committee and PG&E of additional stress to the existing temperature conditions within Lake Almanor that could be a consequence of curtain installation. The 2105LG agreed to approve the meeting summary with the sentence revision.
Evaluation of Alternatives to the Prattville Curtain: PG&E described and the 2105LG discussed six alternatives that were evaluated during consideration of possible actions to achieve downstream water temperature reductions. The alternatives were summarized in a document provided to the 2105LG in advance of the meeting and include mechanical cooling towers, well water, pumping Lake Oroville water upstream, piping Yellow Creek water, new reservoirs, and vegetation management and river shading. Please refer to Attachment 2 of this summary for details of these alternatives.
PG&E reported that the cooling towers were technically feasible but adequate space was not available at each dam. It was also noted that the visual impact could be significant. The 2105LG discussed the potential to use a manifold arrangement, potential to cool less water to a colder temperature and the potential to develop a cooling system within the powerhouse tailrace. The well water alternative was eliminated from further consideration by PG&E after investigating whether large capacity wells could be developed within the canyon and the low likelihood of locating an aquifer capable of supporting the amount of water that would be necessary. Pumping Lake Oroville water back up the canyon was eliminated due to water rights and right of way issues, high energy costs required to move the water uphill, and the size of the pipeline that would be needed. Piping Yellow Creek water would benefit water temperatures in the Rock Creek reach only and was eliminated due to significant environmental impacts associated with siting a three-mile long pipeline along Highway 70.
PG&E described an alternative that involves development of new large storage reservoirs that could potentially be used to augment cold water flows into the Feather River. Locations evaluated include Humbug Valley, Genesee Valley on Indian Creek, and Lost Chance Creek. While a new large reservoir could provide thermally stratified conditions, the probability of obtaining additional storage water rights and other permits required to construct and operate a new reservoir is not likely. The 2105LG discussed the potential to develop deep pit-type reservoirs at off-stream locations. PG&E has not evaluated such an option although noted that water rights issues would be similar. The last alternative discussed was the use of streamside vegetation management on the East Branch Feather River and its tributaries to promote additional shading to reduce water temperatures. PG&E noted that much of the land is privately owned and the stream orientation, coupled with the long transit time for waters to reach the Feather River make this alternative unlikely to result in the water temperatures reductions needed.
Some effective watershed efforts upstream of the projects were discussed and Leah Wills offered to provide data on local watershed efforts to adjust stream temperatures and channel morphology. The 2105LG discussed the potential to consider these types of upstream watershed activities as compensation mitigation in the event lowering water temperatures to the target 20 degrees C is determined to be unattainable.
While individually, each of the six alternatives evaluated were determined by PG&E to be individually infeasible or ineffective, the 2105LG discussed the potential to combine parts of selected alternatives to achieve the desired temperature reductions. A sub-group of the 2105LG agreed to meet in a ‘brainstorming’ session to further develop combining potential alternatives to the thermal curtain, including the potential to re-operate the projects. The sub-group will consist of representatives from FS, PG&E, Plumas County, SWRCB, and CDFG and will meet on November 5, 2004 at a location to be determined.
The 2105LG discussed the potential to change the Basin Plan designation and questioned the scientific data that was used to determine the appropriate designation. SWRCB noted that the information would be available by request from Region 5 and added the designation was made during the mid-1970s. The group also questioned what flexibility there is in implementing measures designed to meet Basin Plan targets. The SWRCB suggested that there is some flexibility in meeting objectives when the measures implemented require several years to be effective and such flexibility is more likely to occur than changing the Basin Plan designation.
‘20 Questions’ Answered: As agreed at the last 2105LG meeting, PG&E prepared answers for the questions and distributed the document prior to this meeting. Please refer to Attachment 3, parts 1 and 2 for details related to questions and answers provided. The 2105LG discussion focused on several topics of concern including Native American concerns with the potential for dredging activities to impact sacred sites and burial grounds currently submerged in the vicinity of the Prattville intake structure. The 2105LG also discussed Native American consultation requirements related to FERC projects. The United Maidu Nation distributed copies of a Mountain Maidu resolution signed by 10 Mountain Maidu groups, organizations and tribes opposing the installation of thermal curtains at Lake Almanor and Butt Valley Reservoir and support upstream restoration as a means to cool water in the Feather River (hard copy of resolution available on request). The 2105LG discussed the potential for the curtain to impact pond smelt entrainment, bass spawning grounds in Lake Almanor, and dissolved oxygen downstream.
Executive Summary of Modeling and Analysis: PG&E reviewed the Executive Summary document distributed in advance of the meeting (See Attachment 4, parts 1 and 2). The document reviews the studies conducted to assess the feasibility of obtaining colder water in the North Fork Feather River including hydraulic modeling, feasibility study, in-stream temperature studies and modeling, dissolved oxygen simulation, Lake Almanor fisheries study and suitability index development, and annual reports prepared by the Ecological Resources Committee associated with the Rock Creek-Cresta FERC Project No. 1962. Please refer to the document for details of these studies.
Resolution by Plumas County: Plumas County provided copies of a resolution passed by the Plumas County Board of Supervisors opposing any further consideration and construction of the proposed Prattville Intake thermal curtain (hard copy of resolution available on request). SWRCB acknowledged the position of Plumas County but noted that regardless of the resolution, the thermal curtain would be evaluated in the CEQA document that the SWRCB is required to prepare prior to making a decision on a 401 certification for the relicensing effort. Plumas County stated that the resolution did not affect their ability to continue participation in the collaborative process but rather clarified their position on the subject of the thermal curtain.
Continuing Studies and Additional Analysis: SWRCB identified information they are currently seeking including information related to the Butt Valley cold water pool and other ecological effects of the thermal curtain and expressed their interest in additional archeological information. PG&E noted that additional information is being developed regarding Butt Valley operations modeling, dissolved oxygen modeling and added that they are currently finalizing a number of draft reports. PG&E also agreed to provide aerial views of what the thermal curtains in Butt Valley reservoir would look like, similar to the simulated views for Lake Almanor with the thermal curtain in place.
Next Steps - Next Meeting:
The 2105LG agreed that the next meeting would be a sub-group meeting to brainstorm potential other alternatives to the Prattville curtain and would take place on November 5, 2004 at a location to be determined. The next 2105LG meeting is scheduled for November 9, 2004 in Sacramento and will focus on the results of the sub-group meeting. The location will be finalized and the 2105LG will be notified.
Attachment 1: List of Attendees
Dale Dawson* Butt Lake Anglers Association
Bill Dennison Plumas County Supervisor
Wayne Dyok MWH
Christi Goodman Plumas County
Bob Hawkins USFS
Sharon Stohrer SWRCB
Victoria Whitney SWRCB
Tom Jereb PG&E
Leah Wills FCR
Lori Powers CDFG
Lorena Gorbet United Maidu Nation
Bruce McGurk PG&E
Lisa Randle PG&E
Steve Robinson MMC
Stuart Running PG&E
Aaron Seandel 2105 Committee
Terry Simon-Jackson USFS
Mike Taylor USFS
Scott Tu PG&E
Janet Walther PG&E
Mike Wilhoit 2105 Committee
Patti Kroen Facilitator
* Via telephone
Attachment 2 - Evaluation of Alternatives to Provide Cooler Water to the North Fork Feather River
Attachment 3 Part 1 - Answers to 20 Questions
Attachment 3 Part 2 - Figures that Accompany Answers to 20 Questions
Attachment 4 Part 1 - Executive Summary
Attachment 4 Part 2 - Figures that Accompany Executive Summary