The Kilarc Project
An Initial Plan
At present, July 2007, PG&E has submitted, and had accepted, a schedule to surrender its hydroelectric license number 606 to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. We understand that for PG&E to be relieved of its responsibilities, PG&E's plan is to decommission the project features that it has operated and maintained.
The balance between environment and power production has changed since the project was licensed, so that PG&E has concluded that it will choose not to continue operation of the powerhouses and to dispose of the project in accordance with the required NEPA and CEQA procedures. For each of the facilities - the Old Cow and the South Cow, there are several basic choices for each project feature: Abandon it in place, change it to improve the environmental conditions it has changed, or in the extreme, remove it modifying the site to some standard acceptable to the "4-E" agencies. The process, as defined by the FERC, is identical to a licensing process.
• In Licensing, the construction of a project is evaluated as a balance between environmental and power goals, with certain of the agencies having over-riding "4-E" authority to impose any conditions they desire.
• In License surrender - here called by PG&E, Decommissioning, the choice is to abandon the project facilities leaving the facilities as they are, vis-a-vis the alternative of removing some or all of the project facilities.
The choice has to be driven by the same considerations that would be used in licensing the same facilities. To address this process asks whether the facilities could be operated differently so that they would enhance the fish habitat in the area. To that end, Davis Hydro has created a new company to recommission the facilities, if it turns out that a way can be found to operate the facilities in an environmentally friendly manner.
To address this objective, it may be necessary to abandon part of the generation at the South Cow powerhouse and associated project development and rebuild the South Cow as a major fish habitat for anadromous fish. Perhaps the old South Cow diversion channel could be buried and operated in a manner to meet the following objectives:
Perhaps the Old Cow could be evaluated as a source for the following:
We understand that the restoration of the fish habitat must benefit steelhead and salmon (anadromous fish that migrate to-from the ocean). This is the primary goal of the National Marine Fisheries Service, a goal shared by the California Department of Fish and Game along with their mission of providing recreational fish (trout) resources based primarily on the rainbow trout that do not migrate to the sea. To confuse this issue, the steelhead are the same fish genetically as the rainbow trout that are seeded in the area for recreational fishing.
KC LLC proposes to operate the Kilarc/Old Cow forebay part of the project much as it is today. In order to do that we want to put together a plan that protects and enhances the fish habitat better than the plan of removal. Likewise we might operate the South Cow powerhouse in a reduced capacity that does not interfere with fish spawning in the river to meet the Abbott ditch diversion requirements. To do this, we will work with local land owners to improve the habitat to offset any negative impact of the hydropower bypass on the fish populations.
Focus on the Fish
We are seeking ideas, from all people in the whole of the Cow Creek watershed and in particular individuals along the South and Old Cow Creeks, on what are the best ways to pursue necessary fishery enhancement while respecting human interests in the bordering lands, ditches, and water flows in general.
Discussion might consider the following points:
To date, the following general fish habitat enhancement ideas have been recommended for evaluation. By clicking on each item below, you will be directed to additional discussion pages, but remember as of today all ideas and pages are under construction.
The Kilarc Project A Summary
This project is to redevelop some of the hydro power facilities at Kilarc Cow Creek and at the South Cow Power House in a manner that enhances the fishery resources in the two areas. KCC believes that a recommissioning path can be defined that leaves some of the hydro power intact to generate green power.
The basic model we are proposing is to construct the best possible fish habitat and fishing opportunity in both areas.
The resources generated from the hydro could keep the Kilarc part of the project operating as it is. Resulting revenues would provide a permanent funding source and maintenance resources to maintain the fish habitat and fishing opportunities. The South Cow power house would be operated at a reduced capacity for the fish, but at a level sufficient to meet the needs of the Abbott and German ditch water rights holders. We are currently seeking ideas to accomplish fish habitat restoration, fish guidance (past dangers and to spawning grounds), habitat protection, up and down stream fish passage (especially at low flows), human recreation, and recreation resource preservation.