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Final Environmental Impact Statements (FEISs)

Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Relicensing of the Martin Dam Hydroelectric Project No. 349
Issued: April 2, 2015

Commission staff prepared a final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the relicensing of the Alabama Power Company’s (Alabama Power) existing 182.5-megawatt Martin Dam Hydroelectric Project (Martin Dam Project). The Martin Dam Project is located on the Tallapoosa River in Tallapoosa, Coosa, and Elmore Counties, Alabama. The project occupies 1.39 acres of land administered by the Bureau of Land Management.

In the draft EIS, issued June 6, 2013, Commission staff evaluated proposals made by Alabama Power and proposals and recommendations made by state and federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, and the public. After receiving comments and oral testimony on the draft EIS, staff revised the document, as necessary, in this final EIS. The final EIS recommends licensing the project as proposed by Alabama Power, with modifications by staff.

To ensure that Lake Martin reaches its summer pool level by the end of May each year and to provide higher reservoir levels for recreation during the winter and fall, the final EIS recommends adopting Alabama Power's proposal to raise the winter flood pool by three feet and to implement a conditional fall extension of the summer flood control curve elevation from September 1 to October 15. To manage drought operations, the EIS recommends Alabama Power's proposal to adopt the Tallapoosa River portion of the Alabama Drought Response Operating Proposal, or ADROP, a regionally coordinated drought management plan.

Alabama Power also proposes to implement several non-operational, environmental measures including: (1) water quality maintenance and monitoring in the dam tailrace, (2) water quality monitoring in the impoundment, (3) a study of the distribution and abundance of American eels downstream of the project, (4) a new Wildlife Management Program, (5) a final Nuisance Aquatic Vegetation and Vector Control Management Program, (6) an updated Shoreline Management Plan (SMP), (7) an updated Recreation Plan, (8) modifications of the project boundary, (10) an updated Public Education and Outreach Plan, and (11) a new Historic Properties Management Plan.

The staff alternative does not include implementing a study of American eels in the Tallapoosa River downstream of the Martin Project, because of a lack of connection to the fish passage and dam operations. The staff alternative also does not include the proposal to remove 373.1 acres of land from the project boundary under the SMP because the lands still serve project purposes.