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Environmental Impact Statements (EISs)

Draft Environmental Impact Statement for relicensing of the Oroville Facilities Project No. 2100-134
Issued: September 29, 2006

Commission staff prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for relicensing of California Department of Water Resources' (DWR) 762-megawatt Oroville Facilities, located on the Feather River in Butte County, California.

DWR proposes to relicense the Oroville Facilities in accordance with a comprehensive settlement agreement, filed March 24, 2006 . Under the proposal DWR would enhance habitats for coldwater fisheries in the Feather River and warm water fisheries in Lake Oroville, monitor water quality and bacteria levels at project waters for the benefit of both fisheries and visitors using the project ' s swimming areas, manage the Oroville Wildlife Area, upgrade existing recreation facilities and construct new facilities, monitor recreation use, and implement a Historic Properties Management Plan and specific measures to address conflicts between recreation use and the protection of cultural resources.

In this DEIS, Commission staff assessed the environmental and economic effects of:

  • Continuing to operate the project with no changes or enhancements (no-action alternative);
  • Operating the project in accordance with the settlement agreement as proposed by DWR (DWR's proposal); and
  • DWR's proposal with Staff modifications (Staff alternative).

We recommend that most of the terms of the settlement agreement be made conditions of the license to be issued for the Oroville Facilities , albeit with certain modifications. These modifications include recommendations that :

  • DWR finalize its Comprehensive Non-Motorized Trails Program to include more data collection to support final decisions on whether to change project trails to multiple use; and
  • DWR close the Foreman Creek recreation facility while it develops a cultural resource protection plan or close the site permanently if resources cannot be adequately protected .

Based on our detailed analysis of the environmental benefits and costs associated with the four alternatives considered in detail in this draft EIS, we conclude that the best alternative for the Oroville Facilities would be to issue a new license consistent with the environmental measures specified in the Staff alternative.

Comments must be filed by November 28, 2006 .

Comments on this DEIS can be eFiled.