Oroville Facilities Hydroelectric Project

Feather River, California.

Project Profile & Licensee

FERC Project No. 2100 is located on the Feather River, Butte County, California. The 762 megawatt (MW) Project is owned by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and is a key component of the State Water Project. The Project includes the Oroville Wildlife Recreation Area, numerous other recreation facilities around the Project Area, and three main Project Developments: Oroville, Thermalito, and the Feather River Fish Hatchery (FRFH):

Oroville: Oroville Dam, containing the Hyatt Pumping & Generation Plant (H-PGP) (645 MW) is located at the confluence of the South Fork, Middle Fork, and North Fork Feather rivers, and forms Lake Oroville. The H-PGP discharges into Thermalito Diversion Pool.

Thermalito: Thermalito Dam/Diversion Pool, Power Canal and Thermalito Dam PGP (3 MW, TD-PGP); Thermalito Forebay/Dam, Thermalito Forebay Dam’s PGP (114 MW, TF-PGP), and Thermalito Afterbay and Dam. The H-PGP, TD-PGP, and TF-PGP can all generate power in either direction: (1) by gravity flow or; (2) by pumping water back into Lake Oroville (H-PGP), Diversion Pool (TD-PGP), or into the Forebay (TF-PGP), and then letting it gravity flow down through the PGPs.

FRFH: Fish Barrier Dam, which directs anadromous fish into the FRFH and its appurtenant facilities.

Federally Threatened - Listed Species/ Species of Concern

  1. The distinct population segment (DPS) of California Central Valley (CV) steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and its critical habitat;
  2. The evolutionarily significant unit (ESU) of spring-run Chinook salmon (O. tshawytscha) and its critical habitat;
  3. The DPS of North American green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris) and its critical habitat; and
  4. The ESU of CV fall-run Chinook salmon (O. tshawytscha) [Species of Concern].

The limit of anadromy is at the Fish Barrier Dam.

FERC Relicensing Status

Integrated Licensing Process since 2003. DWR filed its Final License Application in 2005. DWR, NMFS, and parties to the relicensing signed a Settlement Agreement (SA) in March 2006. FERC incorporated the SA into its Final EIS in May 2007. In addition, a “Habitat Expansion Agreement” (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” (DWR/P-2100 & PG&Es Poe/P-2107, Rock-Creek Cresta/P-1962, and Upper NF Feather/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. The State water Resources Control Board issued its Section 401 Water Quality Certification in 2010. NMFS is currently working on its Biological Opinion for the Project. However, per the HEA, 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.


Project relicensing information can be found at http://www.water.ca.gov/orovillerelicensing/ Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, FERC eLibrary: Dockets P-2100 and P-1962/P-2105/P-2107.