Reservoir Storage & Operations:
Water supply information provided by Sonoma Water (more info here).
PG&E Releases the Potter Valley Initial Draft Surrender Application & Decommissioning Plan
PG&E’s Initial Draft Surrender Application and Conceptual Decommissioning Plan (Surrender Application) for the Potter Valley Hydroelectric Project (FERC Project No. 77) is available for review and comment at the following website: http//pottervalleysurrenderproceeding.com. The initial draft can be accessed from the Documents page using the following password: PV_Surrender
The public comment period will be open until December 22, 2023. Formal comments must be submitted in writing via email to PVSurrender@pge.com or by mail to:
Senior Licensing Project Manager
12840 Bill Clark Way
Auburn, CA 95602
PG&E will address comments as appropriate before distribution of the Final Draft Surrender Application in June 2024.
The initial draft includes PG&E’s conceptual decommissioning plan and a third-party proposal for modifications of the former Cape Horn Dam site and Van Arsdale Diversion, as necessary, to construct a New Eel-Russian Facility. PG&E has not accepted the proposal at this time but is including it as an option for Cape Horn Dam. Proponents of the proposal include California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), California Trout, Humboldt County, Mendocino County Inland Water and Power Commission, the Round Valley Indian Tribes, Sonoma County Water Agency, and Trout Unlimited. A copy of the Proponent’s Proposal is available at: https://www.sonomawater.org/pvp
PG&E is soliciting comments from Tribes, regulatory agencies, and other interested parties on the Initial Draft Surrender Application that includes PG&E’s conceptual decommissioning plan and the Proponent’s proposal for Cape Horn Dam site and Van Arsdale Diversion.
The Initial Draft Surrender Application does not include an environmental analysis. The environmental analysis will be included in the Final Draft Surrender Application, which will be available for public review in June 2024.
Ukiah Daily Journal, 11/18/2023
Pacific Gas & Electric has released a draft of its plan to surrender the Potter Valley Project, a hydroelectric dam in Mendocino County which diverts water from the Eel River to the Russian River, and is currently collecting comments on the document, which includes a proposal from local entities seeking to continue those water diversions.
“We are very pleased that PG&E has acknowledged our proposal, and are looking forward to working together on the next steps,” said Janet Pauli, chair of the Mendocino County Inland Water and Power Commission on Friday, explaining that in the months since the proposal for a new Eel-Russian Facility replacing Cape Horn Dam was first submitted to PG&E in August by the IWPC, the Round Valley Indian Tribes and the Sonoma County Water Agency, more regional agencies have signed on to back the plan: the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Trout, Humboldt County, and Trout Unlimited.
“The yet-to-be designed facility would allow for ongoing water diversions through the Potter Valley Project’s tunnel between the Eel River and Russian River, while allowing for upstream and downstream fish migration to support larger efforts aimed at achieving naturally reproducing, self-sustaining and harvestable native anadromous fish populations,” was how the new passage was first described by the group, and Pauli said this week that two main options are still being considered: one involving a roughened channel and the other a pumping station.
In its draft proposal published on Nov. 17, PG&E notes that “The Regional Entity, a joint power authority, to be governed by a board comprised of the County of Sonoma, Sonoma County Water Agency, Mendocino County Inland Water and Power Commission, and the Round Valley Indian Tribes, will be responsible for modifications at the former Cape Horn Dam site and Van Arsdale Diversion, as necessary, to construct the New Eel-Russian Facility. To implement the Regional Entity’s proposed modifications, the Final Surrender Application would include a request to FERC to authorize the conveyance of property interests in various project assets and facilities, including the existing intake and fish screen facilities, the tunnel and flowline, and the powerhouse and outlet works in order that they might be modified. If either approach is included in the Final Surrender Application, the Regional Entity will seek federal authority to complete the Facility as expeditiously as practicable after deconstruction.”
The proposal can be read here: http://pottervalleysurrenderproceeding.com
The password for reading the documents is PV_Surrender, and the deadline to submit comments on the Initial Draft Surrender Application is Dec. 22, 2023. Comments should be submitted to Tony Gigliotti, Senior Licensing Project Manager, Power Generation, 12840 Bill Clark Way, Auburn, CA 95602, or via email: PVSurrender@pge.com
Read more on PG&E's Draft Surrender & Decommissioning Plan:
- Times Standard: PG&E releases potential plan for removal of Eel River dams 11/17/23
- Press Democrat: PG&E formalizes plan to eliminate Lake Pillsbury in Mendocino National Forest in landmark move, 11/17/23
- Cal Trout: PG&E Confirms Plan to Begin Full Removal of Eel River Dams, 11/17/23
- Mendo Fever: PG&E Unveils Surrender Plan for Potter Valley Project Sparking Debate on Water Diversion, Dam Removal, and Environmental Impact, 11/19/23
- Mendo Fever: Mendocino County Faces Economic Challenges in a Future without the Potter Valley project - Letter to the Editor, 11/20/23
- Congressmember Huffman's Statement on PG&E Plan to Remove Eel River Dams, Ensure Water Supply, 11/17/23
Russian River Water Forum
PG&E’s Draft Surrender Application and Conceptual Decommissioning Plan will be included on the agenda for the next Water Forum Planning Group meeting, which will take place on Thursday, December 7 in Ukiah (and via Zoom).
Stewarding California’s Wet Years
The Public Policy Institute of CA held an annual conference on November 14th with several expert panels. Read more and watch the video recordings here.
In the press:
- The Hill: US climate report offers dire outlook, with temperatures expected to cross key thresholds, 11/14/23
- CNN: Countries’ emissions plans put the world ‘wildly off track’ to contain global heating, UN assessment shows, 11/14/23
- Inside Climate News: US Regions Will Suffer a Stunning Variety of Climate-Caused Disasters, Report Finds, 11/16/23
- CalMatters: No place is safe: New national report on climate change details sweeping effects, 11/14/23
- Bloomberg: Water Is Now a Global Asset, and a Growing Threat, 11/15/23
- Ag Alert: Floodwaters on farms help boost aquifers, 11/15/23
- Western Farm Press: Flood-MAR: A water wave for orchards, 11/16/23
- CA Water Education Foundation: New Climate Report Shows Hazards of Drought to Human Health in the Southwest (various articles), 11/17/23
- The Hill: El Niño-induced wet winter could begin inundating California next month, 11/19/23