By Chris Shutes, CSPA FERC Projects Director
CSPA has filed comments on the third Draft 401 Water Quality Certification for the relicensing of the Oroville Facilities. The State Water Resources Control Board issued its third draft certification on July 2, 2010. A 401 Certification is required before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission can issue a new 30 to 50 year license for hydropower operations at Oroville Reservoir.
Since the first draft 401 was issued in June, 2009, the Department of Water Resources, which operates the project, and the State Water Contractors, who use the water stored in Oroville, have attempted to make the conditions in the 401 as vague, toothless and unenforceable as possible. They have attacked the authority of the Board procedurally and substantively.
CSPA praises the State Board for affirming and defending its authority, and for its stated goal of issuing a Certification with clear and enforceable requirements to protect fish and other aquatic values. CSPA criticizes the Board, however, for falling short of its stated goal. The comments by CSPA criticize the Board’s third draft 401 on points related to carryover storage, flow (including flows for the Delta), water temperature, hatchery impacts, and mitigation for lost habitat for anadromous fish.
Board consideration of the 401 for Oroville is scheduled for the Board’s October 5, 2010 meeting in Sacramento.