Project 2105 License Group (2105LG) Approved Meeting Summary – October 23, 2003
Call to order: Patti Kroen, Facilitator at 8:50 a.m.
Attendees: See Attachment 1 for list of attendees. Participants approved the October 23, 2003 meeting agenda. Bill Dennison remarked that the 2105LG meetings must become more efficient and expressed concern that materials are not being distributed in advance of meetings so that participants can come prepared. The 2105LG agreed that their remaining time is short and considerable work needs to be completed.
Settlement Agreement Section Review and Resolution:
Wayne Dyok confirmed that comments had been sent from Plumas County to PG&E. PG&E had also received comments from Nancee Murray and Michael Condon. PG&E legal staff is reviewing the proposed revisions and will distribute the redline/strikeout version incorporating all of the proposed changes to the 2105LG for concurrence. Sharon Stohrer noted that she would need the nearly complete draft for SWRCB legal review and could not anticipate the length of time necessary to complete the review. Tom Jereb added that the current draft includes language that has been used in a recently approved license so he is hopeful it will meet the SWRCB needs.
Tom Jereb reported that the draft safety plan dated August 27, 2003 is with the Plumas County Sheriff and PG&E is awaiting comments. He distributed copies to the 2105LG (Attachment 2) and noted that PG&E does not intend for this to be in the settlement agreement but rather become part of the existing safety plan and new license articles. He recommended that certain liability issues be carefully considered by the potential signatories to the settlement agreement before recommending this be a part of the agreement. Bill Dennison reminded Tom to remove the references to Bucks Lake and stated that Plumas County agrees that this should not be a part of the settlement agreement. After discussion the 2105LG agreed that the Natural Hazard Safety Plan would be in the license but outside of the settlement agreement for the 2105 project.
Tom Jereb distributed a draft Wildlife Habitat Enhancement section (Attachment 3). The section describes development of a Wildlife Habitat Enhancement Plan focused on habitat protection and enhancement through the elimination of cattle and motorized vehicles from the lands on the northern shoreline from Last Chance Campground westward to the edge of the flood control channel south of Chester Airport. The effort would involve rehabilitating and completing fencing and barriers to prohibit access to the causeway area except on foot. Tom explained that the action would be complimented by a County ordinance precluding motorized vehicles below the 4500’ elevation (the FERC boundary). Plumas County agreed that the action is a good idea but cannot guarantee the enactment of a county ordinance and noted local resistance will need to be addressed with some public foot access provided for on-going hunting and bird watching activities. Jerry Mensch suggested that management by an ERC be included in this Plan and it should include Humbug Valley and Mountain Meadows protection. Tom Jereb responded that both areas suggested are outside of the project boundary and PG&E was not contemplating off-site enhancement measures.
The 2105LG discussed the funding available for the action and John Mintz noted that enforcement funding is covered in the Recreation Management Plan. Tom Jereb indicated that completion of the fencing could take several years to accomplish and he felt the dollar amount indicated ($20,000 initial cost and $5,000 annually) is appropriate. Plumas County asked for confirmation of the number and how it was determined. Jerry Mensch also questioned the amount set aside for maintenance and asked that the consultation language be broadened to include ‘other interested parties’. Tom Jereb asked how interested parties should be identified and noticed. Wayne Dyok suggested notification of meetings in the local newspapers in not always effective but seems to be the most common practice. Wayne added that California Waterfowl Association would likely be interested even though they have not been regular participants at the 2105LG. The 2105LG agreed to expand the consultation list to include other interested parties and specifically describe the completion of fencing as a measure designed to exclude motorized vehicles and cattle from the Project area. The Facilitator clarified that the revised draft language would be included in ‘Part A’ while other wildlife issues could be included in ‘Part B’. Tom Jereb will review fencing cost estimates for accuracy. The 2105LG agreed to review revised language for inclusion in Part A.
John Mintz reported that he had received no comments on the draft Land Use/Aesthetics section distributed to the 2105LG. He reviewed the components of the section covering vegetative screening and painting activities, spoil pile relocation, and dust control measures. Wayne Dyok questioned the timing for implementation and Tom Jereb agreed to revise that section. The 2105LG briefly discussed the potential efficiency in holding several of the meetings identified in various sections simultaneously but the general consensus was to keep them separately described in the sections and allow future participants to take advantage of overlap as desired.
The 2105LG discussed the future of the buildings at the Caribou facilities. Rehabilitation is very costly yet PG&E would like to maintain the right to use several of the buildings for continued project operations. The buildings are on FS lands under an existing use permit and Michael Condon noted that the fate of the buildings would be an administrative decision between the FS and PG&E relative to that permit and should not be included in the 2105 process. The FS would not likely support any plan to split the permit into two uses to accommodate public use and continued PG&E needs. The 2105LG discussed the potential to detail a process for evaluation and decision-making on the Caribou facilities as part of the settlement agreement and agreed that any references to the Caribou facilities would be in Part B. PG&E will propose revised language.
Water Quality Article Update:
Scott Tu reminded the 2105LG that PG&E provided a draft water quality article and the 2105 Committee provided a water quality monitoring plan article for review several meetings ago. He updated the 2105LG on a sub-committee meeting held October 20th where PG&E, SWRCB, RWQCB, DWR and Plumas County reviewed existing data, discussed PG&E responsibility, and identified additional water quality monitoring needs. Scott reported that some constituent levels exceeded regulatory standards but it is PG&E’s opinion that the source appears to be tributaries and not project-related. The 2105LG discussed responsibility and the effects of project operations and management on water quality and Sharon Stohrer briefly explained the SWRCB monitoring requirements and what the SWRCB and RWQCB consider to be the role of PG&E as steward of the Lake Almanor waters. She stated that the SWRCB is interested in both proposals, but will expect PG&E’s project-focused proposal to be significantly revised to include additional elements discussed 10/20/03, and that this PM&E will be proposed as an Article in Appendix A. The 2105 Committee’s lake-focused proposal may be revised, and is anticipated to supplement the monitoring that will be conducted under Article A, and should be included in Appendix B. A revised proposal is due to the sub-committee in advance of the November 10th meeting, and will expand the existing elements and add new elements requested by the SWRCB including a testing protocol similar to the on-going DWR program that will collect data on specific water quality parameters on a once-every 3-5 year cycle to allow for a trend analysis of Lake Almanor water quality changes throughout the life of the license. Sharon added that while PG&E can use data collected by DWR in this effort, they couldn’t rely on continued availability of that data from DWR nor bind a third party to data collection through this license; so, the continued monitoring of water quality on project-affected water bodies must be included within this license.
Wayne Dyok voiced support for Sharon’s approach regarding Appendix A but considers the Appendix B monitoring activities to be the licensee’s responsibility as well. While it may not be the licensee’s responsibility to mitigate, it should be a management responsibility to determine if problems exist in waters managed by the licensee and that determination would require that the licensee have a regular monitoring program. Tom Hunter requested clarification on the link between the water quality language in Appendix A and Appendix B. Sharon Stohrer has proposed expanded language for Appendix A and suggests that the Appendix B element would become a separate agreement with additional monitoring agreed to by PG&E and Plumas County and the funding sources designated for specific data collection to address the additional County monitoring needs. The water quality sub-committee will meet again on November 10th to review revised article language.
Water Temperature Article Update:
Scott Tu reminded the 2105LG that a water temperature article was distributed several meetings ago. He clarified that the electronic version forwarded to the Facilitator included revisions received from CDFG that were not included in the hard copy that was distributed. The Facilitator will forward the revised version to the 2105LG. Sharon Stohrer noted that the article only describes one piece of the elements SWRCB needs to see related to water temperature (see Attachment 4, 10/16/03 e-mail). She reminded the 2105LG of the connection to the Rock Creek-Cresta settlement agreement established by the Prattville intake modification option to meet temperature targets within both projects’ waters. The feasibility testing and a decision to construct are explicit within the Rock Creek-Cresta agreement while the commitment for construction and maintenance has been deferred by FERC in the Rock Creek-Cresta license, to be dealt with in the 2105 licensing effort; construction and maintenance of the anticipated Prattville modifications must be described in the 2105 license agreement. She outlined the SWRCB required elements as 1) construction and maintenance of the Prattville modification structure; 2) temperature monitoring using modified intake; and 3) measures to be taken in the event monitoring data suggests the modified intake is not successful in meeting temperature goals downstream. Sharon suggested that additional measures could possibly include the testing of incremental changes in flow, structural modifications at the Caribou II Intake, or other potential measures to attain cold water habitat in the downstream reaches of the NFFR. She explained that the Basin Plan clearly states that reasonable attainment is dependent on controllable factors, so it is possible that the monitoring could conclude that further temperature reductions are not feasible.
The 2105LG discussed when the information related to the University of Iowa study on the modified Prattville intake would be available and when a decision to construct would be made in relation to when the settlement agreement would be needed for this project. They also reviewed the timing of the SWRCB 401 Water Quality Certification. Sharon stated that the element related to construction and monitoring would need to be included, at a minimum, as a placeholder in the settlement agreement that is expected to provide a PM&E package for use by FERC as an alternative in its NEPA document. The NEPA document should include an analysis of the environmental effects of a proposed modification at the Prattville Intake. In the event that the NEPA disclosure document does not provide adequate analysis of this or other issues to allow for use of that NEPA document in lieu of a CEQA document here in California, PG&E may be required to pursue an independent CEQA document (EIR) on behalf of the SWRCB. A separate CEQA process (following the FERC NEPA process) would be completed through an MOU between PG&E and the SWRCB, and contracting with an approved consulting firm to develop the EIR after the UOI information is available. A 401 Certification cannot be issued until CEQA compliance has been met. This will occur after the 2105LG needs to submit a settlement agreement to FERC but before license issuance. Sharon stated that CEQA analysis and the subsequent issuance of a 401 Certification can not be completed until data is available to support the analysis of a specific project description that includes exactly what will be done at Prattville. Timing of 401 Certification issuance will not prevent the collaborative group from moving forward with completing a settlement agreement. PG&E will draft placeholder language for review at a meeting on November 14th.
US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Meeting:
Tom Jereb reported on a meeting between PG&E and FWS to help inform the FWS on 2105LG activities and provide information needed to assist in understanding and supporting the proposed flow language. Tom indicated that Steve Schoenberg was more comfortable with the collaborative-developed proposal and is currently working on the FWS 10(j) letter to FERC. Tom expects FWS to make some modifications to the flow proposal but does not anticipate FWS to oppose the flows developed by the 2105LG. Harry Williamson noted that comments from the National Parks Service are collated with comments from the FWS and avoiding biological impacts would take precedence over the provision of recreational opportunities. He suggested he would talk with FWS to coordinate NPS/FWS efforts. Plumas County will submit a letter to Steve that provides the basis for requesting certain water levels in Lake Almanor between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Maidu Cultural Center Proposal:
Kenny Holbrook described the proposal distributed at the previous 2105LG meeting to construct a Maidu cultural center. He explained that the Tasman Koyom Foundation is seeking land and financial support for construction of a cultural center to help create harmony between the Maidu people and local businesses and residents of the community. The existing museums are considered inadequate in telling the story of the Maidu people and the management at these locations appears to be exclusive of Maidu representation or input. Kenny suggested that a museum would be part of the proposed center that would also provide a location for the operation of various social programs to benefit the Maidu community. The FS expressed support for a cultural center and suggested the ‘B’ lots or the Old Almanor Inn as possible locations. Plumas County also voiced support for a Maidu facility. Tom Jereb asked for more specifics on the request and asked whom the Tasman Koyom Foundation represents. Kenny responded that he is not prepared at this time to specify a dollar request. He explained that there are four Maidu and four non-Maidu on the Foundation board. They have been working with Ferrell Cunningham and other Maidu in the area although they do not represent them. Tom asked if they have developed a business plan and suggested that the PG&E’s charitable contributions program would be a good place to receive help. Kenny noted that the Foundation has adequate money to prepare a business plan but they are seeking land first. He added that the Foundation felt the facilities could be constructed through grant funding and donations. Michael Condon agreed that other funding is available for this purpose and should be pursued and Bill Dennison suggested that since the reservoir covers Maidu land it should be considered a FERC issue. Tom Hunter suggested that Kenny continue his efforts to get all of the Maidu tribes involved for a combined project and Tom Jereb reiterated his support for Kenny to pursue funding through PG&E’s charitable contributions program.
Draft Recreation Management Article Review:
Tom Jereb reported that he had met with his management and must develop total costs for the relicensing before they will commit to increasing recreation amount. The 2105LG discussed the potential to increase the licensing term with a companion increase in the total recreation dollar commitment. Tom explained the need to provide costs for the remaining unresolved issues such as the ‘loose fish’ issues yet to be discussed by the LAWLAF sub-group. The 2105LG discussed the cost-cutting compromises totaling a reduction of approximately $3 million agreed to at the last meeting and John Mintz offered an additional option that would involve a private partnership to develop a campground at the Eastshore where PG&E would sell a portion of the site for private development and use the sale to fund the additional recreation requests. Harry Williamson clarified that the proposed recreation plan was agreed to earlier and was based on existing and proposed needs and Bill Dennison suggested that the additional recreation proposals should also be considered as needed. The 2105LG clarified that the total under consideration was now $24 + $5 million minus any savings through reduction strategies for recreation to ultimately be added to whatever costs come from other aspects of the settlement agreement, including Prattville modifications, ‘loose fish’ issues, etc. Wayne Dyok reminded the 2105LG that Harry Williamson had yet to review the revisions agreed to at the last meeting. John Mintz will revise the Draft Recreation Management Article language and charts from the last meeting to reflect changes agreed to at that meeting and suggestions from this one and distribute to the 2105LG for review.
Jerry Mensch withdrew his proposed wetland/riparian article from consideration within the Settlement Agreement process and informed the 2105LG of CSPA’s intention to place the item before FERC for ultimate consideration and resolution outside of the 2105LG process.
Angler Access in Seneca:
Jerry Mensch also withdrew his request for discussion of additional angler access in Seneca and the FS noted that the trail in the Seneca reach is their responsibility and should be discussed outside of the FERC process. Jerry informed the 2105LG of CSPA’s intention to place the item before FERC for ultimate consideration and resolution outside of the 2105LG process.
Mike Taylor suggested the 2105LG consider if a group is needed to provide continuing oversight for certain aspects of the 2105 project. He described an ad-hoc group that could meet annually. Tom Jereb noted that stand-alone groups are described for boating, wildlife, pulse flows, recreation/land use, lake level and water year type, water quality, and temperature issues and he would prefer those groups remain separate. The 2105LG agreed to keep the groups separate and allow the groups themselves to identify synergies if they exist and combine meetings if desired. Wayne Dyok offered to provide suggested language describing the intention to assure that all terms of the license are upheld to Tom Jereb for consideration.
PG&E agreed to consolidate the existing draft language for all sections into one document and provide to the 2105LG by November 17th for review in advance of their next meeting. The draft will incorporate latest revisions resulting from focus meetings on November 7th (fish), November 10th (water quality), and November 14th (temperature). The 2105LG agreed to add meetings on November 24 with an additional meeting on November 25th if appropriate. An additional meeting was scheduled for December 8th.
q Action Item 84: PG&E will distribute the redline/strikeout version of boilerplate language incorporating all of the proposed changes to the 2105LG for concurrence.
Due Date: November 24, 2003
q Action Item 85: PG&E will confirm how estimate was developed for fencing associated with wildlife Habitat Enhancement effort and revise section to incorporate suggestions from today’s meeting.
Due Date: November 24, 2003.
q Action Item 86: PG&E will revise Land Use/Aesthetics section to address timing concerns and include language to describe a process for addressing fate of Caribou facilities.
Due Date: November 24, 2003.
q Action Item 87: PG&E will revise water quality section and sub-committee will meet to address unresolved issues.
Due Date: November 10, 2003.
q Action Item 88: PG&E will draft placeholder water temperature language for review at a meeting on November 14th.
Due Date: November 14, 2003.
q Action Item 89: Harry Williamson will confer with FWS to coordinate comments on settlement agreement.
Due Date: November 24, 2003
q Action Item 90: John Mintz will revise the Recreation Management Plan and chart used at the last meeting to summarize various reductions agreed to by the 2105LG and distribute to the 2105LG for review.
Due Date: November 24, 2003.
q Action Item 91: Wayne Dyok will provide draft language to describe the individual oversight proposed and the intent to assure all terms of the license are upheld to PG&E for review.
Due Date: November 24, 2003.
q Action Item 92: PG&E will provide a consolidated document that includes all of the draft sections developed to date and will include recent revisions reflecting recommendations from sub-group meetings scheduled for November.
Due Date: November 17, 2003.
Upcoming meeting dates and locations:
November 7 LAWLAF Sacramento or Davis 9:00am-4:00pm.
November 10 Water Quality Location to be determined.
November 14 LAWLAF/Water Temperature Sacramento or Davis 9:00am-4:00pm.
November 24 2105LG Chico (location to be determined) 9:00am – 4:00pm.
November 25 2105LG Chico (location to be determined) 9:00am – 4:00pm.
December 8 2105LG Location to be determined 9:00am – 4:00pm.
Attachment 1: List of Attendees
Michael Condon USFS
Bill Dennison Plumas County Supervisor
Wayne Dyok MWH
Kenny Holbrook Tasman Koyom Foundation
Robert Hughes (phone) CDFG
Tom Hunter Plumas County
Tom Jereb PG&E
Patti Kroen Kroen
Jerry Mensch (phone) CSPA
John Mintz PG&E
Nancee Murray (phone) CDFG
Stu Running PG&E
Aaron Seandel 2105 Committee
Dave Steindorf Chico Paddleheads
Sharon Stohrer SWRCB
Mike Taylor USFS
Scott Tu PG&E
Charles White PG&E
Harry Williamson NPS
Attachment 2: Natural Hazard Safety Plan (Hardcopy available by request)
Attachment 3: Wildlife Habitat Enhancement Section (Hardcopy available on request