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Environmental Impact Statements (EISs)

Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Big Creek Projects Project No. 120-020, Project No. 67-113, Project No. 2175-014, and Project No. 2085-014
Issued: September 12, 2008

Commission staff prepared a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the relicensing of four existing hydroelectric projects that are part of Southern California Edison's (SCE's) 865-megawatt (MW) Big Creek Project. The Big Creek Projects analyzed in the document are located in the Upper San Joaquin River Watershed, in Fresno and Madera Counties, California

SCE filed a license application with the Commission for the Mammoth Pool Project on November 29, 2005 and filed applications for the other three projects on February 23, 2007. The projects occupy a total of about 6,870 acres of federal land administered by the Forest Service in Sierra National Forest.

SCE filed a comprehensive Offer of Settlement in February 2007 that set the terms of their proposed action. The Settlement Agreement includes a wide range of measures to enhance, mitigate and protect the resources affected by the continued operation of the Projects. Included are measures to raise instream flow releases from several dams and diversions, provide channel riparian maintenance flows, provide pre-spill whitewater flow releases, and eliminate some flow diversions through diversion decommissioning. In addition, SCE proposes to implement plans and monitoring to manage large woody debris, sediment, bald eagles, valley elderberry beetles and its habitat, vegetation and noxious weeds, cultural resources, visual resources, transportation, and recreation. The Recreation Management Plan provides funds to rehabilitate and build new recreation facilities and provide information to the public regarding project-related recreation.

In the draft EIS, Commission staff recommends the staff alternative, which consists of the proposed action, with some recommended changes to the proposed settlement articles.