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Environmental Impact Statements (EISs)

Final Environmental Impact Statement for Relicensing of the South Feather Power (Project No. 2088-068)
Issued: June 4, 2009

Commission staff prepared a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for relicensing of South Feather Water and Power Agency's (South Feather's) 117-megawatt South Feather Power Project, located on the South Fork Feather River, Lost Creek, and Slate Creek, in Butte, Yuba, and Plumas counties, California. The project generates an annual average of 498,972 MWh of electricity and occupies 1,977.12 acres of federal lands administered by the Plumas National Forest and 10.57 acres of federal lands administered by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

The project is a water supply/power project composed of four hydroelectric developments: Sly Creek, Woodleaf, Forbestown, and Kelly Ridge. South Feather proposes no capacity or operating changes, but does propose measures for the protection and enhancement of environmental resources including increased minimum flows, measures to improve aquatic habitat and protect sensitive species, and measures to maintain and enhance existing recreation opportunities and provide new whitewater boating opportunities.

In this FEIS, 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 as proposed by South Feather;
  • Operating the project as proposed by South Feather with additional or modified environmental measures (staff alternative); and
  • Staff alternative with conditions filed by the Departments of the Agriculture and Commerce.

The FEIS also addresses comments of agencies, NGOs and the public on the Draft EIS.

Based on our detailed analysis of the environmental benefits and costs associated with the three action alternatives considered in detail in the FEIS, we conclude that the best alternative for the South Feather Power Project would be to issue a new license consistent with the environmental measures specified in the Staff Alternative.