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FERC prepares final EIS for 84.8-MW Bucks Creek Hydropower Project in California

Staff with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission have prepared a final environmental impact statement (EIS) for relicensing of the 84.8-MW Bucks Creek Hydropower Project (No. 619).

Pacific Gas and Electric Company and City of Santa Clara, California are co-applicants for the project. The co-applicants filed an application on Dec.12, 2016 (supplemented on May 22, 2018) for the project, located on Bucks, Grizzly, and Milk Ranch creeks in Plumas County, California. The project consists of the Bucks Creek and Grizzly developments and, as proposed, would occupy 1,316 acres of federal lands within the Plumas National Forest.

The primary issues associated with relicensing the project are:

  • The protection of aquatic habitats including stream flows, water temperature, and recruitment of spawning gravel and woody material;
  • The protection of special-status wildlife species from human disturbance;
  • The need for additional recreational opportunities and facilities in the project area; and
  • The protection of cultural resources.

In the final EIS, FERC staff recommended the staff alternative, which consists of measures included in the co-applicants’ proposal, as well as most of the mandatory conditions and recommendations made by state and federal agencies and non-governmental organizations, and some additional measures developed by the staff.