South Feather Hydroelectric Project

South Fork Feather River, Lost, and Slate creeks, California.

Project Profile & Licensee

FERC Project No. 2088 is located on the South Fork Feather River (SFFR), Lost and Slate creeks, in Butte, Yuba, and Plumas counties, California. The 127.2 megawatt (MW) Project is owned and operated by the South Feather Water and Power Agency (Agency) and includes four developments:

Sly Creek: Little Grass Valley Dam on SFFR forms Little Grass Valley Reservoir. South Fork Dam on SFFR has South Fork Tunnel that diverts water from SFFR into Sly Creek Reservoir. Slate Creek Dam on Slate Creek (N. Yuba River) has Slate Creek Tunnel that diverts water into Sly Creek Reservoir. Sly Creek Dam on Lost Creek forms Syl Creek Reservoir, which has Sly Creek Penstock that delivers water into Sly Creek Powerhouse/Switchyard (13.2 MW). Both Reservoirs have recreation facilities.

Woodleaf: Lost Creek Dam on Lost Creek forms Lost Creek Reservoir. Woodleaf Tunnel delivers water from Lost Creek Reservoir into Woodleaf Penstock, which delivers water into Woodleaf Powerhouse/Switchyard (60 MW).

Forbestown: Forbestown Dam on SFFR forms Forbestown Impoundment. Forbestown Tunnel diverts water from Forbestown Impoundment into Forbestown Penstock and on into Forbestown Powerhouse/Switchyard (41 MW).

Kelly Ridge: Ponderosa Dam on SFFR forms Ponderosa Reservoir (spills into SFFR Arm of Lake Oroville of P-2100 Project). Ponderosa Tunnel diverts water from Ponderosa Reservoir into Miners Ranch Canal. Miners Ranch Canal (MRC) has siphons across McCabe and Powell creeks of Lake Oroville (P-2100), delivers water from Ponderosa Tunnel into Miners Ranch Tunnel, and delivers water into Miners Ranch Reservoir. Miners Ranch Dam on MRC forms Miners Ranch Reservoir. Kelly Ridge Tunnel diverts water from Miners Ranch Reservoir into Kelly Ridge Penstock and on into Kelly Ridge Powerhouse/Switchyard. This 13 MW powerhouse discharges just downstream of Oroville Dam.

Federally Threatened - Listed Species/ Species of Concern

There are no anadromous fish in the South Fork Feather River Basin (upstream of OrovilleDam/P-2100). Water from P-2088’s Kelly Ridge Development discharges directly into P-2100’s Thermalito Diversion Pool. The resulting water temperatures from P-2088 may affect the P-2100 Fish Hatchery Facilities and the following anadromous fish, found downstream in the P-2100 Project:

  1. The distinct population segment of California Central Valley (CV) steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss);
  2. The evolutionarily significant unit (ESU) of spring-run Chinook salmon (O. tshawytscha); and
  3. The ESU of CV fall-run Chinook salmon (O. tshawytscha) [Species of Concern].

The Agency and the California Department of Water Resources (DWR, owns P-2100) signed an operations agreement in October 2012 to resolve the above water temperature issues. The Agency and its P-2088 Project are also not party to the 2011 Habitat Expansion Agreement between DWR, NMFS, and other parties regarding the P-2100 and “Feather River Projects.”

FERC Relicensing Status

Traditional Licensing Process since 2003: The Agency filed its Final License Application in March 2007. NMFS reserved its Section 18 authority in April 2008. FERC issued its Final EIS in June 2009 and requested ESA consultation with NMFS. The State Water Resources Control Board is working on its Section 401 Water Quality Certification for the Project. NMFS is currently working on its Biological Opinion for the Project.


Project relicensing information can be found at Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, FERC eLibrary: Docket P-2088.