The Kilarc Project


Current Events

Project Approach Summary

Ideas for Discussion

Reference Materials


Kilarc Cow History

Community WEB Site

Related Sites and Contacts




    A 2008 Kilarc Reconstruction Alternative

The following is an ongoing brief discussion of where we are in putting together the Reconstruction Alternative for the Kilarc Hydropower and Fish Production Facility.  This plan is in opposition to PG&E demolition alternative decommissioning plan.  The Reconstruction Alternative is described in detail here.  PG&E's demolition alternative is currently distributed for comment.  It is called the Draft License Surrender Application (DSLA), and is available here.  Many supplemental documents are available in the documents section of this site. What follows here is a simplified discussion of the Davis Hydro Reconstruction Alternative.

In FERC Licensing, the design of a project is evaluated as a balance between environmental and power goals, with certain of the agencies, in this case National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) 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 some or all of the facilities as they are for another entity to use, or
  • removing or demolishing some or all of the project facilities.

The FERC responsibility under NEPA is the evaluation process to choose between various alternative plans.  In this case, there are presently basically three plans under discussion: our plan, The PG&E plan, and a new plan by a group put together by Steve Tetrick called the "The Tetrick Plan".   

PG&E has earlier chosen an alternative to demolish the facilities, and the Davis Hydro (DH) has proposed an alternative to Reconstruct the Kilarc part of the facilities as a joint green power steelhead production-spawning facility.  The Tetrick Plan, is similar to the Davis Hydro plan, but it keeps the South Cow Powerhouse operating to supply the Abbott Ditch users with water. The choice between three Alternatives Demolition and the Reconstruction Alternatives will be driven by the same considerations that would be used in licensing the construction of the same facilities if they were new.

The Kilarc Reconstruction

Under the DH reconstruction plan the facility will be operated differently, so that the headrace - also called the Kilarc Canal will be modified into a fish spawning ground, and a large percentage of the income from the project would be dedicated to a Foundation or Trust for fish resource enhancements in the area.  The Kilarc Foundation would have three objectives, to oversee the operation of the the fish production in the spawning beds, to conduct research as to what is the best was to help the fish, and to undertake the most cost effective habitat projects in the area to improve fish habitat.  The only direct relationship to the Hydro Operations would be as grantee.

The Reconstruction Alternative Objective

  • "To generate green power in a sustainable way that enhances the salmonids in the area - focusing on steelhead, and helps their numbers to recover?"

The basic reconstruction plan is based on the idea that about a third of the Kilarc canal (headrace) can be turned into a natural steelhead spawning ground with appropriate design and management.  This site will produce a large number of juvenile fish which will be released via a fish by-pass conduit to an existing small stream below the existing trash rack area of the project down to the Old Cow where significant juvenile and adult habitat exist.

Upstream migration will not be encouraged because the habitat available in the bypassed Old Cow Creek area is generally unsuitable for expansion of fish spawning or juvenile rearing due to the steep valley sides.   This difficulty is compounded by the difficulty upstream migration due to the many barriers to upstream migration in the Old Cow and a large resident population of non-migratory rainbow in the area from 60 years of stocking.

There are a number of changes that have to be made in the fish spawning habitat areas of the Kilarc canal.  The major engineering and management features include:

  • 6-8" of mixed pea/marble sized stream gravel over existing gravel-sand substrate
  • Channel modifications including pools/groins/boulders and various cover placed to provide habitat and energy variation within the channel.
  • Substrate monitoring an grooming to provide proper Oxygen and flow conditions. 
  • Woody debris controlled to prevent erosion,
  • Food production  - Primarily this will indirect via induced local production upstream
  • Overhanging vegetative cover along with some rock.
  • Screening at the downstream trash rack end of the canal to shuttle juvenile fish into the fish bypass and to reduce predation from resident fish in the forebay.
  • Flow modifications at night to permit upstream migration through conduits
  • Active genetic control to concentrate fish from a anadromous rich gene pool.
  • Disease and predator management all the way down to the Old Cow.

Using the canal as a spawning ground, this Alternative will produce and emit more naturally raised juvenile rainbow downstream from our nature-like spawning facility than would be produced from the bypass reach with more water it it. These fish will be of the best genetic stock available as determined by agency and staff biologists. Currently there is not yet any discussion what that genetic stock should be nor on what are the genetic objectives of the facility.  The choice of objectives between "more fish (CDFG)", "more anadromy (NMFS)", "more DPS/local fish (USFWS)", and "more heritage/ancestral fish" is not obvious.  These alleles may not have significant overlap, nor be independently fertile under current conditions.

The best use of the Kilarc facility is to produce green power and O. mykiss.  The primary reasons for this include:

  • Upstream migration is very difficult leaving the greatest contribution to anadromy that can be made is the production and downstream emission of pure strains of anadromous fish - if anadromy is the only goal selected.
  • the bypassed section has little spawning ground irrespective of flow.
  • the bypassed section has poor habitat expansion capabilities.
  • The bypassed section has a lot of rock bottom and little juveniler habitat.
  • Taking the hydropower water out of the canal and having it run further down the bypassed creek section, it is warmer below the powerhouse.  This has a negative effect on the extensive habitat lower in the Cow where habitat is limited by temperature.
  • External reasons to promote green power including reducing acid rains (incrementally hurting remote fish stocks of the same species) and delaying global warming.

Engineering and Operation Problems

  • Predation of juveniles by resident rainbow, brown trout, and birds
  • Screen design, management, and cleaning (we are also interested in designing more low-cost low maintenance diversions and screens for existing diversions around the state )
  • Natural food maximization for emergent fry,
  • Downstream passage and screening,
  • Optimal release point and timing if we do a store and release variation, and
  • Definition and source of the correct O. mykiss steelhead genotypes.

These are our current work.


This KC Web site will track DH progress in building this alternative plan.  This site will be used to the extent there is interest as a communications tool for all parties to communicate on this project. The intent at this point is to put copies of all relevant documents and communications on this site so all will have access to the review process as it goes along.  There are several ways the public can be heard.  The following are listed in increasing effectiveness and difficulty:

    • Contact us and forward any information and concerns in writing.
    • Suggest or provide habitat improvement opportunities.
    • Attend the meetings and let the agencies know how you feel on your issues. 
    • Be proactive within the FERC constrained timeline.
    • Contact your representatives and let them know your feelings.
    • Write the FERC and express in your own way your opinion.
    • Write us and the fisheries agencies letters discussing how we can enhance the fish habitat. 

Home     Contacts     Photos