Rock Creek-Cresta Hydroelectric Project

PG&E’s Hydroelectric Stairway of Power

North Fork Feather River, California.

Project(s) Profile & Licensee

FERC Project P-1962 is owned by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and is one of three PG&E FERC Projects that are located along the main stem North Fork Feather River (NFFR), upstream of the Oroville/P-2100 Project in Plumas and Butte counties, California. The three projects are operated as one system and known as PG&E’s “Stairway of Power” (7 dams/reservoirs and 8 powerhouses – 690.13 megawatts (MW)). The upper-most project is Upper North Fork (NF) Feather/P-2105 (362.3 MW), next is Rock Creek-Cresta/P-1962 (185 MW); and finally Poe/P-2107 (142.83 MW). There is a fourth PG&E development, not on the main stem, and not part of the “Stairway of Power” called Bucks Creek/P-619. The 85 MW P-619 Project encompasses Bucks, Grizzly, and Milk Ranch creeks in Plumas County, California, and discharges into the NFFR near the P-1962 Project.

The Rock Creek-Cresta/P-1962 Projects’ facilities are described below:

Rock Creek Dam/Reservoir on NFFR. Rock Creek Tunnel, into Penstock/Powerhouse (114 MW), into NFFR, and into Cresta Dam/Reservoir on NFFR. Cresta Tunnel, into Penstock/Powerhouse (71 MW), and discharges into Poe Reservoir (P-2107).

Federally Threatened - Listed Species/ Species of Concern

Currently, there are no anadromous fish in the NFFR Basin (upstream of OrovilleDam/P-2100). However, each of these projects and the P-2100 Project comprise the “Feather River Projects” and are subject to the “Habitat Expansion Agreement” (HEA) process as stated below.

FERC Relicensing Status

HEA Process: The HEA was signed between DWR, PG&E (the Licensees), NMFS, and other signatories in 2007 and amended in 2011. The HEA directed the Licensees to develop a “Habitat Expansion Plan” (HEP) elsewhere in the Sacramento River Basin in lieu of a NMFS Section 18 Fish Passage Prescription for the four “Feather River Projects” (P-2100 and PG&E’s three P-2107, P-1962, and P-2105). NMFS, pursuant to the HEA, reserved its fish passage authority in 2007 for all four Feather River Projects. The Licensees produced a HEP in 2010, but NMFS rejected it, per the criteria set out in the HEA, in 2014 and the HEA process is ongoing. However, if the Licensees fail to produce a HEP acceptable to NMFS and NMFS formerly determines that the HEA/HEP process has terminated, then NMFS would be allowed to prescribe Section 18 fish passage over the four Feather River Projects.

Traditional Licensing Process (since 1979): FERC incorporated a Settlement Agreement (September 2000) into its Final EA in May 2001. Section 401 Water Quality Certification was waived by FERC due to State Water Board’s inaction. FERC License issued in October 24, 2001 for 33 years.

Resources

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, FERC eLibrary: Docket P-1962.