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Environmental Impact Statements (EISs)

Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Upper Drum-Spaulding Hydroelectric Project (P-2310-173), Lower Drum Hydroelectric Project (P-14531-000), Creek Hydroelectric Project (P-14530-000), and Yuba-Bear (P-2266-096) Hydroelectric Project
Issued: December 19, 2014

Commission Staff prepared a final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the relicensing of Pacific Gas & Electric Companyís (PG&E) Upper Drum-Spaulding Hydroelectric Project No. 2310, Lower Drum Hydroelectric Project No. 14531, and Deer Creek Hydroelectric Project No. 14530, and Nevada Irrigation Districtís (NID) Yuba-Bear Hydroelectric Project No. 2266.

PG&E filed an application on April 12, 2011 for the Drum-Spaulding Project No. 2310, located within three primary river basins, the South Yuba River, Bear River, and North Fork of the North Fork American River, in Nevada and Placer Counties, California. The project consists of ten developments and occupies about 994 acres of federal lands, primarily administered by the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. PG&E subsequently amended its application to separate the Drum-Spaulding Project into three projects: the 146.1-megawatt (MW) Upper-Drum Spaulding Project consisting of five developments; 39.7-MW Lower Drum Project, consisting of four developments; and 5.7-MW Deer Creek Project, consisting of one development. PG&E proposes to retire Alta powerhouse unit 2, decreasing the installed capacity of the Upper Drum-Spaulding Project by 1 MW.

NID filed an application on April 15, 2011 for the Yuba-Bear Project, located within three major river basins, the Middle Yuba River, South Yuba River, and Bear River, in Sierra, Nevada, and Placer Counties, California. The project consists of four developments and occupies 1,540.8 acres administered by the Forest Service and 208.5 acres administered by BLM. NID proposes to increase the installed capacity of the project to 90.72 MW.

The primary issues associated with relicensing the projects are erosion control and restoration measures; flow regimes in project-affected reaches for aquatic resources; spill cessation schedules following high-flow periods to mimic natural conditions and for whitewater boating opportunities; protection of wildlife resources; recreation enhancements; and protection of cultural resources.

In the final EIS, Commission staff recommended the staff alternative, which consists of measures included in PG&Eís and NIDís proposals, as well as some of the mandatory conditions and recommendations made by state and federal agencies and non-governmental organizations, and some additional measures developed by the staff. The deadline to comment on the final EIS is February 9, 2015.