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Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS)


Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Sweetheart Lake Hydroelectric Project (P-13563-003)
Issued: May 31, 2016

Commission staff, in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, prepared a final environmental impact statement (EIS) for Juneau Hydropower, Inc.'s (Juneau Hydro) proposed 19.8-megawatt (MW) Sweetheart Lake Hydroelectric Project No. 13563-003. Juneau Hydro used the Alternative Licensing Process (ALP) and filed its application for an original license on May 29, 2014.

The project would be located on Sweetheart Lake and Sweetheart Creek in the City and Borough of Juneau, Alaska. The project would occupy 2,058.24 acres of federal lands within the Tongass National Forest, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service.

The primary issues associated with constructing and operating the project include: erosion and sedimentation; instream flows in Sweetheart Creek; fish entrainment; effects on fish habitat in Sweetheart Lake and Sweetheart Creek; maintaining a personal-use fishery for sockeye salmon; loss of vegetation, wetlands, and wildlife habitat; effects on marine mammals including the federally listed humpback whale and Western DPS Steller sea lion; effects on aesthetics; and protection of cultural resources.

Commission staff issued a draft EIS on October 29, 2015 that evaluated proposals made by Juneau Hydro and state and federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, and the public. This final EIS considers both oral and written comments on the draft EIS.

In the final EIS, Commission staff recommends the staff alternative, which consists of measures included in Juneau Hydroís proposal, as well as additional mandatory conditions and recommendations made by state and federal agencies, and some additional measures developed by staff.