Project 2105 License Group (2105LG) Approved Meeting Summary – September 17, 2003
Call to order: Patti Kroen, Facilitator at 10:00 a.m.
Attendees: See Attachment 1 for list of attendees. Participants approved the September 17, 2003 meeting agenda after clarifying that September 17 is Wednesday. The meeting summary for the September 11th meeting was not available for review.
The FS clarified that their intention is to use the appropriate agreement language crafted in the settlement as their 4(e) conditions. Bob Baiocchi requested clarification on the intervenor status of a stakeholder that signs the settlement agreement. The 2105LG looked to the Rock Creek-Cresta settlement language as an example and noted it was silent on the issue of intervention.
Discussion on LAWLAF Modeling and Seneca Flows:
Bruce reviewed the results of his further analysis on Lake Almanor operations. He identified the water year type language as originating in the Rock Creek-Cresta settlement but with a modification to start the determination process earlier in January and continue adjusting each month until May. The water year type is based on inflow to Lake Oroville. The 2105LG discussed the relationship between the County May 31 checkpoint and LAWLAF’s June 30 date. Bruce explained that PG&E’s operation is focused on end of June peak and the May point used is an interpolation because the County did not supply one for that date.
The 2105LG received handouts showing the operational guidelines and end-of-month storage and elevation curves for the current proposals – revision 6 from PG&E, and revised exceedance curves prepared by Robert Hughes (Attachments 2, 3, and 4 respectively). Bruce noted the correction for carryover conditions and added that a 700,000 acre-foot carryover has been PG&E’s practice, after learning from experience that this is the level needed to make the summer 950,000 acre-feet target in all but very wet years. On screen, he showed the results of applying the LAWLAF and County curves to historic water years. Plumas County questioned how the LAWLAF lake levels were developed. Mike Taylor explained that the levels were considered an important attribute by LAWLAF and the values were backed into by looking at what flows would be needed to meet temperature requirements downstream and Western Canal commitments. Plumas County noted that their proposal could provide colder water but PG&E pointed out that there is a power generation loss associated with the higher lake levels. Mike Taylor pointed out that LAWLAF had adjusted their original pulse flow proposal and dry year values and Tom Jereb added that every proposal being considered is higher than current operations. Bob Baiocchi expressed concern over mud flat exposure during dry conditions and Bruce pointed out that the California climate tends to be either wet or critically dry with very few years falling into the normal and dry categories.
The 2105LG discussed several attributes included on the summary ‘pink sheet’ distributed at the September 11th 2105LG meeting including the role of large woody debris in the system. Alder and smaller size material dominate in this system with little opportunity for recruitment. The 1205LG discussed the subjective nature of the information included on the summary table, the lack of weighting for any particular attribute, and the low relative importance of large woody debris in the Seneca reach. Mike Taylor noted that the 900-cfs pulse flow was based on a review of the incipient motion study and professional judgment to select a flow between the 700 and 2,000-cfs range that would mobilize the material desired. Eric Theiss noted his desire to try and manipulate attributes such as large woody debris when possible (e.g. anchoring large logs at appropriate locations within the reach) rather than waiting for natural processes to respond.
The 2105LG discussed the possibility for an adaptive management approach to the flow regime and PG&E stated their discomfort with this approach for instream flow provisions. It was noted that under existing conditions variation from year to year has been as great as 50% demonstrating the difficulty with tracking changes and drawing significant conclusions to drive real-time changes. Steven Schoenberg suggested gaging at the bottom of reaches and re-consideration of the criteria for dry years to improve the biological resources within Seneca. PG&E noted that the flows evaluated did not take into account accretion flows so the total at the bottom of the reach will be higher. Plumas County noted the difficulty in identifying the limiting factors for improvement. Plumas County does not support an adaptive approach to flow regime but is interested in some level of monitoring in the future. Tom Hunter distributed a chart (Attachment 5) showing lake elevations for May 31st and August 31st from 1971 to 2002 for comparison with the modeled elevations. He noted that the averages were split at 1986, marking the initiation of discussions between PG&E and Plumas County. SWRCB noted and the 2105LG agreed that there are some items that could use an adaptive management approach. Plumas County raised a concern over future temperature requirements impacting lake levels and expressed an interest in attaining a degree of certainty for this license. Robert Hughes provided revised exceedance curves based on the revision 6 values (Attachment 6).
PG&E distributed a revised Comparison of Total 33-year Flow Volumes (Attachment 6) and pointed out that it includes boating flows in Belden reach, reduces pulse flows and includes LAWLAF flows with a combined normal/wet (wet is the same as normal). PG&E also distributed proposed language for the flow and lake level sections (Attachment 7). The SWRCB, FS and CDFG discussed their concerns in caucus and agreed that there is value in maintaining the four water year types but could negotiate some flows in some winter-wet months. They would prefer to maintain March through June levels during normal years and can live with one pulse flow per month as indicated. They also see value in varying the pulse flow delivery frequency. PG&E will revise and re-run the modeling based on these suggestions and report back to the 2105LG tomorrow. Plumas County requested the model be adjusted to use a May 31 target date in place of the June 30 date. Tom Hunter will provide revised lake levels for Bruce to use during the modeling re-run. Mike Meinz reminded the group that LAWLAF did a balancing act and was satisfied that the recommendations would meet the needs of each season. He added that based on his multi-decade experience, biological systems in Sierra streams start entering a holding pattern in the fall. The flow discussion will be continued at tomorrow’s (September 18th) 2105LG meeting.
Dissolved Oxygen Presentation and Discussion:
Scott Tu introduced consultants Russ Brown and Anne Huber who described their efforts to model the dissolved oxygen (DO) within Lake Almanor. Russ noted that DO tends to follow temperature to the bottom of the lake where DO decreases to zero. He described the CE QUAL W2 model that will look at both temperature and DO as it simulates heating, stratification, mixing, algae growth, and settling within the lake under modifications to Prattville intake. He added that wind speed is an important variable in determining what DO levels will be and he described the MITEMP model that has been used to model temperatures in Lake Almanor.
Russ described initial study results that show after a month (July) of summer curtain operation, the thermocline drops about 5 feet. At the end of August, the thermocline drop from the existing level would be approximately 10 feet but the water column would drop like a stack of pancakes with a lower one removed: the stack simply moves down but doesn’t compress. In a dry year, the study shows that water temperatures are not reduced as much because the thermocline is near the bottom of the curtain at which point the curtain is less effective. Russ added that the DO appears to be going into the sediment at the bottom and the DO levels at Almanor appear to drop more quickly than expected. The study shows a fairly minor change in the DO levels with operation of the Prattville curtain. The mixed zone appears to deepen, acting to increase the depth of acceptable DO levels for aquatic life. The warm layer will not be warmer, just thicker. Springs within the lake provide added localized benefit that will not be affected by the curtain operation. The curtain may also assist in alleviating the odor problem that develops when iron and manganese enter the anoxic water at release.
Bob Baiocchi asked about the potential to affect pond smelt movement from Lake Almanor to Butt Valley Reservoir. PG&E is evaluating this potential effect and it will be considered in curtain operation. The DO modeling study should be completed in about a month.
Water Quality Monitoring Article Revisions:
PG&E distributed draft water quality monitoring language (Attachment 8) and results from Study 17A (Attachment 9) including water quality monitoring results under the California Toxics Rule (CTR). Elizabeth Frantz reviewed the study results for 2002 and 2003, which utilized the ultra clean technology that allows for much lower detection limits. The specific conductance standard was exceeded at a few stations, cadmium was exceeded at three sampling locations and the dissolved lead standard was exceeded at one location, however she noted the questionable value of this sample due to the improper storage and transport temperature prior to analysis. The DO standard was exceeded at three locations.
Elizabeth reviewed the proposed water quality monitoring language that addresses the findings from Study 17A in addition to describing fecal coliform monitoring, testing for silver, mercury and PCB in fish tissue, and water quality testing at Canyon Dam to monitor effectiveness of mitigation. Plumas County pointed out the difficulty in evaluating revisions to text that are not presented in redline/strikeout format and requested that any further revisions to text for review by the collaborative show how the document has been changed in an editing format. Tom Jereb pointed out that PG&E’s proposal focuses on those aspects of water quality that the licensee feels are project-related and thus their responsibility. Plumas County countered that several aspects of their monitoring plan that they feel are necessary are not included. The SWRCB supports a broader need for future monitoring. PG&E pointed out that they have agreed to provide Plumas County with $20,000 per year above the funding they are proposing within the revised water quality monitoring article to be used for monitoring that could include whatever the County feels is necessary. The additional monitoring program would be memorialized in a Part B to the settlement agreement. PG&E is not comfortable with the inclusion of a broader monitoring program in the license conditions but would consider language in the settlement agreement. Bob Baiocchi suggested that PCB monitoring should occur annually.
PG&E distributed a draft water temperature and DO monitoring article for review and discussion at the next 2105LG meeting. Eric Theiss distributed proposed settlement article language dealing with fish passage from NOAA and Tom Jereb noted that without cost information, he would have difficulty evaluating the proposal. He added that PG&E expects FERC to include a Section 18 re-opener that PG&E would accept and therefore he is not comfortable with the proposed language.
The 2105LG decided to continue the discussion of draft articles at the next meeting scheduled for September 18th. The Facilitator will e-mail electronic versions of the Flow, temperature/DO, and water quality monitoring articles to the 2105LG. The September 18th 2105LG meeting will be held at the Chico PG&E Rio Lindo office and begin at 9:00am.
q Action Item 65: Re-run the models using suggestions discussed at today’s meeting and provide revised lake level/flow article language (PG&E).
Due Date: September 18, 2003
q Action Item 66: Provide revised lake levels for Bruce to use during modeling re-runs (Tom Hunter)
Due Date: September 17, 2003.
q Action Item 67: E-mail electronic versions of the Flow, temperature/DO, and water quality monitoring articles to the 2105LG (Facilitator)
Due Date: September 17, 2003.
Upcoming 2105LG meeting dates and locations:
September 18 2105LG PG&E office, Rio Lindo, Chico, 9am-3:30pm
September 29 2105LG PG&E office, Rio Lindo, Chico, 9am-3:30pm
TBD: Whitewater Sub-Group
Bob Baiocchi Anglers Committee
Russ Brown Jones and Stokes
Bill Dennison Plumas County Supervisor
Wayne Dyok MWH
Robert Hughes CDFG
Anne Huber Jones and Stokes
Tom Hunter Plumas County
Tom Jereb PG&E
Brian Kempkes ACAAWWF
Patti Kroen Kroen
Bob Lambert 2105 Committee
Bruce McGurk PG&E
Mike Meinz CDFG
Lisa Randle PG&E
Stu Running PG&E
Steven Schoenberg* USFWS
Sharon Stohrer SWRCB
Mike Taylor USFS
Eric Theiss NOAA Fisheries
Scott Tu PG&E
Harry Williamson NPS
Bill Zemke PG&E
* Via telephone
Attachment 2: End of Month Storage and Elevation Graphics, revision 6 (Hardcopy available by request)
Attachment 3: Lake Level Concepts, Revision 6 (Hardcopy available on request)
Attachment 4: Exceedance curves for revised proposals (hardcopy available on reques
Attachment 5: Lake Level summary and averages (hardcopy available on request)
Attachment 6: Comparison of Total 33-Year Flow Volumes, Revision 6 (hardcopy available on request)
Attachment 7: Stream Flow Management Article (hardcopy available on request)
Attachment 8: Water Quality Monitoring Article(Hardcopy available on request)
Attachment 9: Study 17A: Supplemental California Toxics Rule (CTR) Water Quality Monitoring Results(Hardcopy available on request)
Article Water Temperature and Dissolved Oxygen Monitoring
1.1 The intent of this article is to monitor the water temperatures and dissolved oxygen levels of Lake Almanor, Butt Valley Reservoir, and the Upper North Fork Feather River to protect the beneficial uses of the NFFR for cold freshwater habitat.
2.0 Water Temperature Study and Monitoring Plan
Within three months after acceptance of a new license, and after the affirmative determination of the Ecological Resource Committee of FERC 1962 (ERC) and Forest Service (FS) pertaining to the construction of any Prattville Intake Modifications (per Settlement Agreement’s Appendix A, Section I.2, of FERC 1962 license, issued on October 24, 2001), the Licensee shall
2.1 Complete a water temperature assessment study to provide the best scientific information available to address the watershed water temperatures in the Upper North Fork Feather River, from below Canyon Dam to above Belden Powerhouse in the stream reach and from Lake Almanor to Butt Valley Reservoir in the large impoundment area. The information shall include but not be limited to the analyses of: 1) selective temperature withdrawal from Lake Almanor through a modified Prattville intake structure with optimization in operation that will identify the habitat improvement and/or impact to the lake and the downstream stream reaches, 2) modification of Butt Valley Reservoir configurations, including any potential device to minimize reservoir entrance mixing effect, selective withdrawal through a modified Caribou No. 2 intake structure in combination with the Caribou No.1 intake, 3) seasonal re-operation of the Canyon Dam variable outlet tower to draw from the low-level intake only during critical summer months, 4) proper timing of utilization of the Prattville Intake Modification device to help conserve the cold water, 5) operation of “submerged wall concept” to skim top warm water during non-critical months to conserve cold water, and 6) alternative combinations of these measures. The study shall evaluate the controllable factors related to the protection of cold freshwater habitat in the Upper NFFR watershed. The study shall reveal expectation of coldwater depletion rates for the various operational scenarios, and shall provide prediction under different environmental conditions to meeting the 20 degrees Celsius daily average water temperature condition in the stream reach.
2.2 Complete a dissolved oxygen model assessment study to provide the best scientific information to address any potential impact associated with any Prattville Intake Modifications, as determined by ERC, following the final operational scenarios described above in 2.1. The study area shall include both Lake Almanor and Butt Valley Reservoir and stream reach up to a distance that the dissolved oxygen level can meet or exceed the regulatory criteria.
2.3 File a water-temperature monitoring plan that will verify the expected changes of water temperatures and dissolved oxygen levels in the lake/reservoir and the downstream stream reaches in the Upper North Fork Feather River. The monitoring program will include an update of model comparison to the available data, and if necessary, the model be fine tuned and used to evaluate the trend analysis of any potential measures and improvement for better cold-water management in the lakes and downstream stream reach. The water temperature monitoring, in connection with Water Temperature Monitoring Plan already established in Condition No. 4 of FERC 1962, shall be developed in consultation with the California State Water Resources Control Board, the U.S. Forest Service and the California Department of Fish and Game.
3.0 Water Temperature and Monitoring Plan Implementation
3.1 The Licensee shall continue the continuous temperature, meteorology and flow monitoring at a total of 48 stations, as agreed upon with Condition 4C in FERC 1962. This monitoring program consists of a network stations encompassing Lake Almanor, Butt Valley Reservoir, Upper NFFR and Rock Creek-Cresta. In addition, The Licensee shall monitor monthly dissolved oxygen parameter in Lake Almanor, Butt Valley Reservoir and downstream reach to the program. A telemetered temperature station shall be monitored at Butt Valley Powerhouse to provide real-time temperature data to monitor the performance of Prattville Intake Modification.
3.2 The Licensee shall continue to use and fine-tune the best available technology to predict the expected water temperature and dissolved oxygen levels. MITEMP model, modified to implement selectively withdrawal capability from the hydraulic model tests from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, will be used for water temperature prediction at Lake Almanor and Butt Valley Reservoir, respectively. SNTEMP models, each developed and tested by the Licensee for each individual reaches, will be used for water temperature prediction in the stream reach. The Licensee expects to apply the model, CE-QUAL-W2 model, a public domain model developed by the Corps of Engineers, to assess the Dissolved Oxygen prediction for Lake Almanor and Butt Valley Reservoir.
3.3 The monitoring shall continue for no less than five years after implementation of Prattville Intake Modification, or five years after a determination that Prattville Intake Modification will be ineffective and therefore should not be constructed. During the term of the New Project License, the monitoring and reporting requirements set forth herein may be reduced or terminated after it is demonstrated to the satisfaction of the appropriate resource agencies that suitable cold water habitat have been maintained and that mean daily water temperatures of 20 degrees Celsius or less have been and will be achieved, or that a given requirement is not necessary to determine whether this temperature/dissolved oxygen objectives will be met.
4.1 The Licensee shall submit the telemetered data at Butt Valley Powerhouse when the telemetered temperature data at Rock Creek and Cresta Gauging stations exceed 20 degrees Celsius for two consecutive days.
4.2 The Licensee shall submit the temperature data at five stations in the Upper NFFR to provide the similar short-term reports established in Condition 4C of FERC 1962, which a weekly (in dry or critically dry water years) to bi-weekly (in normal and wet water years) report at seven downstream monitoring sites for 9 out of the first 15 years. The four stations in the Upper NFFR include the temperature data at Butt Valley Powerhouse, Caribou 1 and Caribou 2 powerhouses, NFFR below Belden Dam, and NFFR above Belden Powerhouse.
4.3 The Licensee shall submit to FERC an annual Monitoring Report, in conjunction with Condition 4 requirement of FERC 1962, that includes all monitoring results for the prior year and analyzes the effectiveness of the control measures in maintaining suitable cold water fishery habitat in the lakes, and achieving mean daily temperatures of 20 degrees Celsius or less. The report shall be submitted no later than May 31 of each year. The Monitoring Report shall be prepared in consultation with the appropriate resource agencies.
4.4 Within five years of the date when the Commission approves the water temperature monitoring plan, the Licensee shall prepare a report that evaluates the temperature and dissolve oxygen levels have been or will be achieved in the Upper North Fork Feather, and if not, whether additional reasonable control measures, such as those in the Butt Valley Reservoir modification, are available for consideration. The report shall include recommendations for the implementation of any such measures.
Attachment 11: Proposed Settlement Articles – NOAA Fisheries (Hardcopy available on request)