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Environmental Impact Statements (EISs)

Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) evaluates relicensing of the 1,167-megawatt Hells Canyon Hydroelectric Project (P-1971-079) in Idaho and Oregon
Issued: August 31, 2007

The project is an existing, operating hydroelectric facility located on the Snake River in Washington and Adams Counties, Idaho, and Wallowa and Baker Counties, Oregon.  The project occupies approximately 5,640 acres of federal lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the U. S. Forest Service.  The project is licensed to Idaho Power Company (Idaho Power).

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

  1. Continuing to operate the project with no changes or enhancements (no-action alternative);

  2. Operating the project as proposed by Idaho Power (Idaho Power's proposal); and

  3. Operating the project as proposed by Idaho Power with additional or modified environmental measures (staff alternative).

Under the staff alternative, the project would be operated as proposed by Idaho Power, but with the following additional operational constraints:

  • Releases from the project to augment downstream flows for the purpose of enhancing juvenile fall Chinook salmon migration conditions;

  • Additional ramping restrictions during the fall Chinook rearing period;

  • Stricter reservoir refill targets after the flood control season; and

  • Warmwater fish spawning protection levels in Brownlee reservoir.

In addition to the foregoing operation-related measures, the staff alternative incorporates most of Idaho Power's proposed environmental measures, but with certain modifications. The staff alternative also includes 35 environmental measures additional to those proposed by Idaho Power.