Project 2105 License Group (2105LG) Approved Meeting Summary – September 29, 2003
Call to order: Patti Kroen, Facilitator at 9:00 a.m.
Action Item Review:
The Facilitator noted that the action items all relate to completion of draft articles for review and suggested that the 2105LG use the time to discuss the settlement language sections that have been developed.
Settlement Agreement Section Review and Resolution:
Wayne Dyok reported that the attorney hired by Plumas County has not completed his review of the boilerplate language distributed several months ago but expects to report back to the 2105LG at the next meeting.
Stream Flow Management Article
Mike Taylor reviewed the efforts of the Whitewater sub-group to arrive at a whitewater flow proposal that everyone could live with. He described a proposal evaluated during their last meeting to include up to two flows per month during the months of July, August, September and October during wet, normal and dry years with a cap of one flow per month during critically dry years. Dave Steindorf noted that the boating community agreed to forego the June whitewater flows to increase critically dry year flows in the river. Mike Meinz described the meeting as collaborative and the result something CDFG could live with after some clarification on criteria is added to the agreement. Steven Schoenberg was also more comfortable with the proposal after some clarification on his questions, however reserves agreement on the language at this time. PG&E distributed a draft Stream Flow, Recreation Flow, Reservoir Operation, and Water Year Type article for review (Attachment 2).
Mike Meinz suggested that additional language might be needed in the third paragraph under #3 to specifically identify information to be available from the Rock Creek-Cresta effort. PG&E noted that they had purposefully left the language very open in this document with reference to more specific information to be contained in the Rationale Document. Mike suggested adding the phrase “as outlined in the Rationale Document” to the end of the first sentence in Section A. The 2105LG agreed to this approach.
John Gangemi noted that recent experience on the Rock Creek-Cresta reach has shown that each of the local parties included in that settlement agreement bring ‘baggage’ to the meetings resulting in unproductive and confrontational meetings. He suggests that a peer review group undertake the TRG function for this settlement. Tom Jereb noted the cost of studies might increase with a peer review arrangement and Michael Condon added that the Forest Service (FS) feels a TRG is the best way to answer the non-scientific or social questions to arrive at a recommendation for the decision makers. Formation of a TRG remains an outstanding issue for American Whitewater.
Mike Meinz needs clear language that the recommendation for initiating or continuing flows is based on some criteria. Steven Schoenberg reminded the 2105LG that the FS had provided suggested criteria to be considered but PG&E pointed out that the criteria were left out of the document because they would need to be set by the decision makers (FS and SWRCB). The 2105LG discussed various options to describe how the TRG would arrive at a recommendation for whitewater flows and suggested the following be added to paragraph 3 (a) on page 5 “If based on the available information, there are no unacceptable impacts on sociological or ecological resources,” in front of “The TRG shall make a recommendation to proceed with test flows”.
The Facilitator reviewed the 2105LG desire to send an update to FERC on the status of the 2105LG collaborative and advised the group not to wordsmith the document too much but to focus on parts that they ‘couldn’t live with’. The 2105LG agreed to review the document from the beginning and identify heartburn issues. Sharon Stohrer expressed the need to have flexibility to change summer flows in the future if needed to meet cold water temperature criteria in the Belden Reach. She suggested inserting reference to a water temperature article and agreed to work with Bruce McGurk to develop language. Wayne Dyok will work on language to address timing of the modifications to allow for permitting within a specific time period. The 2105LG discussed the need to be able to alter pulse flows in the event fish spawning is occurring. Bruce McGurk will convert the language to a volume of water for pulse flows (total acre-feet rather than cubic feet per second) and the FS expressed interest in developing language that provides some flexibility to provide varied types of pulse flows. Steve Schoenberg questioned how the water from a cancelled pulse flow should be used and Mike Taylor suggested that with time, they should get better at scheduling them for the most benefit and not be forced to cancel any flows.
The 2105LG discussed ramping rates and Bruce McGurk suggested the numbers should be re-evaluated. Eric Theiss expressed general concern regarding the ramping rates and suggested NOAA Fisheries would discuss their concerns off-line with PG&E. Sharon Stohrer suggested that the discussion of ramping rates remain open to carefully consider water quality effects associated with rapid ramping rates. Bruce McGurk was tasked with evaluating stage levels and recommending appropriate ramping rates.
Wayne Dyok suggested that PG&E consider a monitoring program tied to the FERC Form 80 review to look at trends in fish population over time. Stu Running noted the wide variability in fish populations over multi-year cycles and suggested such frequency would represent a very large monitoring effort. Mike Meinz suggested that monitoring be conducted after 10-12 years and repeated under a cooperative arrangement every other year for a period of time. Tom Jereb agreed that it would be better to identify a monitoring program than to have FERC dictate one and suggested they would do fish and macroinvertebrate monitoring. Steve Schoenberg requested PG&E add the FWS to any consultation anticipated and also monitor mesohabitat changes. PG&E noted that their experience on Rock Creek-Cresta suggests a more focused and limited monitoring effort will be necessary for the 2105 license and is hopeful that a TRG will be able to identify clearly what information needs exist. Wayne Dyok and Stu Running will provide draft language for monitoring activities to a sub-group including Michael Condon or Mike Taylor, Steve Schoenberg, Eric Theiss, and Mike Meinz for review and inclusion in the rationale document.
The 2105LG discussed the recreation facilities needed by the FS to support whitewater flows and PG&E explained that they were proposing to provide a restroom and garbage facility at the boating put-in point but nothing at the take out location. The FS expressed concern with this limitation but agreed that the language belongs in the recreation management article and deferred discussion until that article is reviewed. Dave Steindorf noted that for safety, removal of the Gansner Bar fish barrier needs to be timed to occur before any test flows are initiated.
The 2105LG discussed the best days to schedule whitewater flows. The FS suggested an alternate weekend from the scheduled Rock Creek-Cresta flows but Dave Steindorf suggested that coordinating with the Rock Creek-Cresta days might spread the use out over a larger area within the canyon. If a shoulder day is used, the 2105LG discussed whether Friday or Monday would be better and finally agreed with the recommendation from Dave Steindorf to leave the language general and allow the TRG to exercise flexibility in scheduling flows. The 2105LG corrected errors on Table B related to the use triggers and discussed flow postponement options. John Gangemi suggested the postponement be tied to something that is more definite such as a Stage 2 alert and suggested the term ‘heat storm’ be replaced with ‘forecasted electrical emergency’. The 2105LG discussed how to re-schedule postponed flows and FWS suggested that due to the infrequency of occurrence for such emergencies, the flow should simply be foregone and not rescheduled since there is a likelihood of additional displacement for other user groups with rescheduling a flow event. The 2105LG agreed to defer the decision to the TRG.
Plumas County requested clarification on lake levels included in paragraph 2 (A) of the Reservoir Operation Section and PG&E offered to provide additional information on the ability to maintain water levels under various scenarios within the Rationale Document. PG&E will also consider if their working studies that document lake levels and flow values will be included in the Rationale Document. FWS is concerned that in multiple dry years the instream flows will be impacted. PG&E noted that minimum instream flows would likely be the last option to consider modifying but it needs to remain on the table as an option. Plumas County expressed concern regarding the notification process in the event PG&E intends to exercise their full water rights. PG&E will add language to address the annual meeting timing.
Eric Theiss made a statement that NOAA Fisheries would not support any of the settlement agreement because they are not getting anything that they want. He described the current conflict between NOAA and FERC regarding fish passage and watershed based evaluations and acknowledged that FERC responded to NOAA requests by indicating that they had adequate information and would not require PG&E to do additional studies. The 2105LG suggested that Eric’s issues are between NOAA and FERC and outside of this collaborative process but agreed to place Eric’s presentation on their next meeting agenda. Wayne Dyok asked if Eric would mind if he discussed this issue with NOAA upper management and Eric informed Wayne that he could do that. Eric also indicated he would only need a short period of time to make his presentation to the 2105LG.
PG&E distributed a draft letter addressed to FERC indicating the status of the collaborative negotiations (Attachment 3) and the intention of PG&E to compile and forward letters of support from members of the collaborative by October 15th. Sharon Stohrer noted that she would need to run the letter by her legal department but committed to doing so as soon as possible so that PG&E could meet the October 1 submittal deadline. Tom explained that the letter was intended to identify those stakeholders that have been participating in the collaborative process and indicate to FERC the progress made to date. He added that he hopes many participants will submit a letter indicating their level of support for the draft flow language. He added that stakeholders with outstanding flow-related issues could identify those issues in their letters as well.
Steve Schoenberg indicated the FWS would be submitting a draft vegetation management article for consideration and requested the topic be added to the next meeting agenda. He expects to expand on what is in the license application to include gravel bar actions.
Draft Recreation Management Article Review:
PG&E distributed a draft Recreation Facility Development Program (Attachment 4) and reported that the suggested revisions from the last meeting have not been incorporated, including the river access facilities suggested by the FS. PG&E clarified several issues related to the FS proposal including confirmation that the cap of $5 million over 10 years represents a 40% share in the total project and that PG&E is expected to takeover the facilities in 5 years. PG&E reported that they are working on the estimates to trim them so that half of the Eastshore campground can still be built within their budget. PG&E asked the 2105LG to review the recreation document and provide suggested revisions for the next meeting.
Bruce McGurk distributed revised settlement language based on changes made during the meeting today (Attachment 5) and PG&E indicated they would send the revised language with the draft cover letter as planned on October 1. The Facilitator reviewed the draft settlement language sections that will be reviewed at the next meeting including Recreation Management, Safety, Wildlife, Land Use and Aesthetics and the boilerplate language. She also included a short presentation by Eric Theiss to the agenda as requested. The 2105LG agreed to meet next on October 17, 2003 and begin at 8:30 am and extend to 4:00pm. The meeting will be held in Chico at the PG&E Rio Lindo Conference Room. An additional meeting was scheduled for October 23, 2003 with the location to be determined.
q Action Item 72: Wayne Dyok will draft language to address timing of needed modifications to allow for permitting within a specific time period.
Due Date: October 17, 2003
q Action Item 73: Bruce McGurk will convert the language to a volume of water for pulse flows (total acre-feet rather than cubic feet per second) and work with the FS to draft language that provides some flexibility to provide varied types of pulse flows.
Due Date: October 17, 2003.
q Action Item 74: Bruce McGurk will evaluate stage levels and recommend appropriate ramping rates.
Due Date: October 1, 2003.
q Action Item 75: Wayne Dyok and Stu Running will provide draft language for monitoring activities to a sub-group including Michael Condon or Mike Taylor, Steve Schoenberg, Eric Theiss, and Mike Meinz for review and inclusion in the Rationale Document.
Due Date: September 29, 2003.
q Action Item 76: 2105LG to review the recreation document and provide suggested revisions for the next meeting.
Due Date: October 17, 2003
Upcoming 2105LG meeting dates and locations:
October 17 2105LG PG&E office, Rio Lindo, Chico, 8:30am-4:00pm.
October 23 2105LG Location to be determined, 8:30am-4:00pm.
Michael Condon USFS
Bill Dennison Plumas County Supervisor
Wayne Dyok MWH
Robert Hughes CDFG
John Gangemi American Whitewater
Tom Jereb PG&E
Patti Kroen Kroen
Bob Lambert 2105 Committee
Bruce McGurk PG&E
Mike Meinz CDFG
Jerry Mensch CSPA
John Mintz PG&E
Sue Norman USFS
Stu Running PG&E
Steven Schoenberg USFWS
Aaron Seandel 2105 Committee
Dave Steindorf Chico Paddleheads
Sharon Stohrer SWRCB
Mike Taylor USFS
Eric Theiss NOAA Fisheries
Scott Tu PG&E
Mick Willhoit 2105 Committee
Harry Williamson NPS
Bill Zemke PG&E
Attachment 2: Draft Settlement Language for Flow, Lake Level and Operations revised 9/18/03 (Hardcopy available by request)
Attachment 3: Draft letter from PG&E to FERC (Hardcopy available on request)
Attachment 4: Recreation Resources – Facility Development Program, revised 9/19/03 (hardcopy available on request)
Attachment 5: Draft Settlement Language for Flow, Lake Level and Operations revised 9/29/03 (hardcopy available on request)