La Grange Hydroelectric Project

Tuolumne River, California.

Project Profile & Applicant

FERC Project No. 14581 is undergoing a new Licensing process, as FERC determined in December 2012 that the project was subject to FERC’s licensing jurisdiction under Part I of the Federal Power Act (FPA). The 4.75 megawatt (MW) Project is located at La Grange Dam on the Tuolumne River in Stanislaus and Tuolumne counties, California. The Project is jointly owned by the Turlock (TID) and Modesto (MoID) irrigation districts (Districts), although only TID owns and operates the Project’s Powerhouse. La Grange Dam provides head for consumptive water diversions into the Districts’ canal systems, for non-consumptive power generation, and acts as an Afterbay to the New Don Pedro/P-2299 FERC Project (also owned by the Districts). The P-2299 Project is proceeding through the Integrated Licensing Process (ILP) and its New Don Pedro Dam is about 2.3 miles upstream of La Grange Dam. Both projects are operated in a coordinated fashion by the Districts. The La Grange/P-14581 facilities are described below:

The District’s La Grange Dam on the Tuolumne River creates La Grange Reservoir. TID’s Water Intake, (South-side of Dam) delivers water through the TID Tunnel and into the TID Main Canal Forebay. Two Intakes in the TID Main Canal Forebay deliver water into two TID Penstocks, which feed into the TID Powerhouse. The TID Powerhouse is about 0.2 miles downstream of the Dam, contains two turbines (3.75 MW and 1 MW), and discharges from the South-bank into the Tuolumne River.

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), when determined by NOAA Fisheries to be present in the Tuolumne River;
  3. The DPS of North American green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris), when determined by NOAA Fisheries to be present in the Tuolumne River;
  4. The ESU of CV fall-run Chinook salmon (O. tshawytscha) [Species of Concern]; and
  5. Any resident rainbow trout (O. mykiss) (as this form may exhibit an anadromous lifestyle periodically). The limit of anadromy on the Tuolumne River is at La Grange Dam. Thus, NMFS has clear FPA Section 18 authority on this Project.

FERC Relicensing Status

New Licensing Process (FERC will determine): During the course of the P-2299 relicensing, NMFS noted that the La Grange Hydroelectric Project was not under FERC’s jurisdiction. NMFS argued that the Project was jurisdictional under Part I of the FPA. FERC agreed and ordered the Districts to seek a new License for the Project in December 2012. The Districts filed a PAD in January 2014 and requested the use of the Traditional Licensing Process (TLP). NMFS and Others argued for the use of the ILP in March 2014. FERC shall determine which process by April 2014. At that time FERC will reset an appropriate process schedule for comments on the PAD and study requests.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, FERC eLibrary, Docket P-14581.