FERC Issues Order Approving Tailrace Design Plan Under Article 406 re Copper Valley Electric Association, Inc. Under P-13124

Targeted News Service |

WASHINGTON, June 25 -- The U.S. Department of Energy's Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued the text of the following delegated order: Copper Valley Electric Association, Inc. Project No. 13124-012 ORDER APPROVING TAILRACE DESIGN PLAN UNDER ARTICLE 406 (Issued June 25, 2014) 1. On December 20, 2013, Cooper Valley Electric Association, Inc. (licensee) filed its Tailrace Design Plan pursuant to Article 406 of the August 1, 2013 Order Issuing Original License for the Allison Creek Hydroelectric Project (FERC No. 13124). The 6.5-megawatt project will be located on Allison Creek near the city of Valdez, Alaska. BACKGROUND AND LICENSE REQUIREMENTS 2. Article 406 requires the licensee, within 90 days of license issuance, to file for Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) approval, a Final Tailrace Design Plan that describes how the project will be designed to avoid the potential for adult salmonid injury in the project tailrace. The plan is required to include, but not be limited to, the following provisions: (a) a detailed description of the design of the tailrace; and (b) an implementation schedule for construction of the tailrace. LICENSEE'S PLAN 3. The purpose of the licensee's plan is to document both the temporary and permanent fish exclusion measures to protect fish in the project tailrace. The licensee states that two falls in the lower 0.6-mile stretch of Allison Creek have been classified as natural fish barriers to upstream anadromous migrants. The first natural falls occurs downstream of the proposed powerhouse location approximately 200 feet, excluding salmon from reaching the project. However, the licensee states that Dolly Varden have been documented up to the second falls, which is approximately 1,100 feet upstream of the proposed powerhouse location. As a result, the licensee's plan identifies fish exclusion measures in the powerhouse tailrace channel. 4. During construction of the powerhouse tailrace channel, a temporary cofferdam will be installed around the work area to exclude construction activities that may impact fish present in Allison Creek. Once the cofferdam is installed, fish salvage will be performed using dipnets and/or electroshock methods to remove fish from inside the cofferdam area. Any salvaged fish will be placed back into the creek, adjacent to the construction area. This temporary fish exclusion measures will be maintained during construction to ensure fish do not enter the in-water work area. Erosion and sediment control measures will be implemented according to the licensee's Erosion and Sediment Control Plan to ensure construction activities do not cause adverse effects on water quality in Allison Creek. Once construction is completed, the cofferdam will be removed and the area returned to pre-construction conditions. 5. Once project operation commences, water flowing through the powerhouse turbine will be conveyed back into Allison Creek via the tailrace channel. To prevent fish attraction into the tailrace channel immediately below the powerhouse, permanent fish exclusion measures will be implemented in the tailrace channel to prevent fish from accessing the channel or powerhouse. Accordingly, a permanent aluminum picket barrier consisting of 1-inch bar spacing will be installed at the outlet of the channel to prevent fish from swimming up the channel. The channel and picket barrier will be regularly monitored during project operation and any maintenance will be performed on an as-needed basis. 6. The licensee states that powerhouse and tailrace channel construction will occur over 2 construction seasons, spanning approximately 6 months each. The first construction season is scheduled to begin in late summer/fall of 2014 when Allison Creek will be temporarily diverted using the cofferdam to isolate the construction area from the tailrace. The second construction season is scheduled to occur during summer 2015 when tailrace work will be completed with installation of the picket barrier. AGENCY CONSULTATION 7. Article 406 requires the licensee to prepare its plan in consultation with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Marine Fisheries Service. The licensee states that a draft plan was provided to the resource agencies on March 8, 2013. Comments were received from the consulted agencies, which were included in the licensee's filing and incorporated into their filed plan. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION 8. The licensee plans to monitor the permanent fish exclusion measures and document any deficiencies and notify the resource agencies in the event of any fish injury or mortality. The licensee's proposed tailrace design and associated 1-inch bar spacing on the picket barrier should ensure exclusion of most fish, particularly Dolly Varden that may be present, from accessing the tailrace channel. Therefore, the licensee's Tailrace Design Plan pursuant to license Article 406 should be approved. The Director orders: (A) Copper Valley Electric Association, Inc.'s Tailrace Design Plan, filed December 20, 2013, pursuant to Article 406 of the August 1, 2013 Order Issuing Original License for the Allison Creek Hydroelectric Project, is approved. (B) This order constitutes final agency action. Any party may file a request for rehearing of this order within 30 days from the date of its issuance, as provided in section 313(a) of the Federal Power Act, 16 U.S.C. section 825l (2012), and the Commission's regulations at 18 C.F.R. section 385.713 (2013). The filing of a request for rehearing does not operate as a stay of the effective date of this order, or of any other date specified in this order. The licensee's failure to file a request for rehearing shall constitute acceptance of this order. Thomas J. LoVullo Chief, Aquatic Resources Branch Division of Hydropower Administration and Compliance TNS 18EstebanLiz-140626-30FurigayJane-4778295 30FurigayJane

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