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Environmental Impact Statements (EISs)

Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Middle Fork American River Hydroelectric Project
Project No. 2079-069
Issued: February 22, 2013

Commission staff prepared a final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the relicensing of Placer County Water Agencys (PCWA) existing 223,753 kilowatt Middle Fork American River Hydroelectric Project (Mid Fork American Project). The project analyzed in the document is located on the Middle Fork of the American and Rubicon Rivers and Duncan and North and South Fork Long Canyon Creeks in Placer and El Dorado Counties, California. The project occupies 3,268 acres of federal lands administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Forest Service.

PCWA used the Integrated Licensing Process and filed the license application for the Mid Fork American Project on February 23, 2011. In its license application, PCWA proposed: (1) pulse and higher minimum instream flow releases to project reaches; (2) defined ramping rates; (3) scheduled whitewater boating releases; (4) measures to protect sensitive species; (5) measures to maintain and enhance project recreational opportunities; and (6) development and/or implementation of management and monitoring plans that cover a range of resources, including: (a) geomorphology; (b) water quality; (c) fisheries; (d) benthic macroinvertebrates; (e) vegetation; (f) wildlife; (g) recreation; (h) transportation (project roads); (i) fire prevention (j) cultural resources; and (k) aesthetic resources. On November 30, 2011, PCWA filed Alternative 1, which represents a complete project alternative. Although PCWA supports Alternative 1, it stated that it does not replace its licensing proposal. Commission staff evaluated PCWAs proposal, Alternative 1, recommendations made by state and federal agencies and non-governmental organizations, and comments on the draft EIS in the final EIS.

In the final EIS, Commission staff recommended the staff alternative, which consists of measures included in PCWAs proposal, as well as some of the mandatory conditions and recommendations made by state and federal agencies and non- governmental organizations, most of which are included in Alternative 1, and some additional measures developed by the staff.