The Kilarc Project


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Kilarc Cow History

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Overview of the Kilarc-Cow Creek Project and Area History

The FERC license governing PG&E’s recent project operations was effective from February 1, 1980 to March 27, 2007 for less than 5 MW on 18.86 acres of federal lands and 168.27 acres of non-federal lands, including 117.36 acres owned by PG&E and 50.91 acres for which PG&E acquired project-related rights from other private owners.

Commercial electric power generation was initiated at the Kilarc Development in 1904 and at the Cow Creek Development in 1907. The South Cow Creek hydroelectric system was purchased by PG&E from the Northern California Power Company in 1919. PG&E upgraded the system with a new rock-filled, timber-crib diversion dam (1923-30), conversion to a semi-automatic facility (1930), installation of a new transformer (1957) and installation of new generators and conversion of the wood penstock to steel pipe (1983). Subsequently (1980s), new improvements included major modifications to the intake structure, inclusion of fish ladders, and automatic sluice gates.

Three historic cultural resource sites have been formally recorded within the Project area and identified in PG&E’s First Stage Consultation Document (June 2002, supporting PG&E’s March 2002 notice of intent to file an application for a new license, before reversing its decision in March 2005). One is a timber crib diversion dam on South Cow Creek (Cow Creek Development), and the other two are water conveyance ditches on Old Cow Creek (Kilarc Development).

KC LLC is aware that members of the local community may be interested in developing a museum of local history. KC LLC is interested in exploring such ideas and potential funding.

Area History

Gold was discovered in Shasta County in 1848, southwest of Redding, and copper was discovered in the County in the mid-1860s. By 1906, the Afterthought and Donkey Mines and the Ingot smelter were located within the Cow Creek Watershed. Natural resources in the form of abundant water and lumber, as well as good soil for growing grains and pastureland for cattle grazing, have permitted miners and recent arrivals to participate in ranching, farming, and the lumber industry when gold mining deposits were depleted and sulfur emissions from copper refining were deemed unacceptable. In the 1890s, industrialization of hydropower developed when small individually-owned power and light companies began developing urban electrical facilities.

The hydroelectric system was originally part of a series of small hydroelectric power generating plants constructed in 1900-1901 by San Francisco financier H.H. Noble. Initially the system was built to supply electricity for copper mining activities.

Owing to their steep gradients, the Pit and Fall Rivers were considered prime locations for hydropower generation. In the early 1900s, PG&E began purchasing the water rights and property of numerous local hydroelectric owners and construction began on a network of hydroelectric plants, tunnels, diversion dams, and transmission lines that would eventually provide power to the extensive area served by PG&E today.

When the Tehama Electric Power Company in Red Bluff was destroyed by fire, the Northern California Power Company was formed to meet the additional electricity supply needs of the burgeoning city of Red Bluff. This new corporation increased in size and significance with the construction of new hydroelectric systems and acquisition of small hydroelectric generation systems, including South Cow Creek.

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