CSPA and a coalition of fishing and conservation groups have filed extensive comments on the Proposed Study Plan for the relicensing of the Don Pedro hydroelectric project on the Tuolumne River. The comments by “Conservation Groups” call for modification of many studies proposed by Turlock Irrigation District and Modesto Irrigation District. The comments also propose the addition of studies relating to downstream fisheries, and the addition of studies to examine fish passage past Don Pedro Dam and Reservoir and the Districts’ La Grange Dam just downstream.
In addition to expanding and improving the studies relating to fisheries, the Conservation Groups recommend substantial expansion of the Socioeconomics study proposed by the Districts. As proposed, the Socioeconomics study is heavily biased, largely limited to quantifying the benefits of the current project and potential costs of increased flow in the lower Tuolumne River. Conservation Groups recommend changes that include quantifying the costs of insufficient flows in the Tuolumne River, the benefits of improving the ecosystem, and opportunities to reduce or eliminate the social and economic costs of environmental improvements.
CSPA and the Water and Power Law Group in Berkeley were the principal authors of the comments on the Proposed Study Plan.
The relicensing of the Don Pedro Project is one of several major proceedings before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in which CSPA is playing a major leadership role. CSPA is also playing a leading role in relicensings that include the DeSabla – Centerville Project on Butte Creek, the Merced River Project on the Merced River, and the Yuba-Bear/Drum Spaulding Project in the Yuba and Bear River watersheds. At present, CSPA is engaged at some level in advocacy on 17 hydroelectric projects in California.