SCL to submit license application this fall
By Janelle Atyeo
SEATTLE – The Boundary Hydroelectric project area in north Pend Oreille County has been the subject of several studies during the past few years. Now project owners Seattle City Light have proposed a number of operational, environmental and recreation measures that these studies have spawned.
The ultimate goal is to meet the requirements of the project’s new 50-year license.
Seattle submitted the preliminary license proposal April 30, listing some of the proposed protection, mitigation and enhancement (PM&E) projects. Other such projects may come up as stakeholders talk through the results of the studies, field studies carried out in a two-year study program are now complete. An updated study report posted to the relicensing Web site summarizes their results.
“Things are going well” said , Barbara Greene, of the relicensing team. “We’re having good discussions, trying to reach an agreement on as much as, we can about what will be in the new license.”
In the preliminary license proposal Seattle proposes to continue operating Boundary Dam but to, formalize two measures the utility now takes on voluntarily. One such measure deals with water surface elevation from Memorial Day to Labor Day that benefits recreation, and the other involves sequencing the turbines to reduce total dissolved gases, which are harmful to fish.
SCL also proposes,a number of environmental measures for erosion control, flood management and fish habitat improvement An upstream fish passage project is part of the proposal. It would start with a temporary trap-and-haul system. Offsite tributary mitigation would include culvert replacement, riparian plantings and reducing: non-native brook trout in Sweet Creek. The proposal includes radio monitoring of northern pike and stocking up to 8,000 trout for recreational fishing.
A historic properties management plan involves three historic sites: Josephine Mine, the Pend Oreille Mine and Metals Co. powerhouse, and the Carl Harvey homestead ecological site, Seattle City Light would develop interpretative materials for display in the dam’s visitor center and the Cutter Theatre.
A number of projects are proposed under the recreation resource management plan: • In the forebay recreation area, enhancing the campground and day-use facilities, extending the boat launch, designating a swimming area with a buoy line, putting up interpretation and education signs, and constructing a trail from the forebay recreation, area, along the reservoir to a viewpoint of Peewee Falls; • Updating interpretive signs at the tailrace recreation area and machine hall visitor’s gallery; •Enhancing the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Boundary recreation area to accommodate boat-in camping; and • In Metaline Waterfront Park, replacing the existing boat launch and extending a boat ramp lane, providing adequate road access to the boat ramp, and improving parking.
Many of the projects are subject to a feasibility analysis. Other projects may be considered based on periodic monitoring.
Seattle City Light is using an integrated licensing process that involves early consultation with the stakeholders. SCL’s next filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the license application, will be submitted by Sept. 30. The current 50-year |license expires in 2011.