Public Notice, Bucks Creek Hydroelectric Project

Bucks Creek Hydroelectric Project

FERC Project No. 619

Pacific Gas and Electric Company

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on June 16, 2022, issued a new license to Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and the City of Santa Clara (City) for continued operation of the Bucks Creek Hydroelectric Project (Project). The Project is located in Plumas County, California on Bucks, Grizzly, and Milk Ranch creeks – tributaries of the North Fork Feather River. The new license has been issued for a period of 40 years, expiring in 2062. The 84.8-megawatt (MW) Project consists of two existing developments (Bucks Creek and Grizzly), which collectively include four reservoirs (Bucks Lake, Lower Bucks Lake, Three Lakes, and Grizzly Forebay), two powerhouses (Bucks Creek and Grizzly powerhouses), and support facilities and transmission facilities.

Recreation enhancement and construction

The Project includes recreation sites with numerous recreation facilities including campgrounds, day use areas, trails, and boat launches. To enhance recreation opportunities, the Project will include the improvements: (1) installing informational and directional signage, (2) replacing and adding site amenities, (3) reducing combustible vegetative materials, (4) constructing additional parking, (5) constructing and upgrading boat ramps/launches, (6) maintaining and improving trails, and (7) relocating and constructing additional campsites.

Reservoir elevation levels

To protect or enhance aquatic habitat and recreation access, the license restricts reservoir operations to maintain minimum pool elevations: 4,966 feet at Lower Bucks Lake; 6,050 feet at Lower Three Lakes (with seasonal summertime drawdown requirements); 4,303 feet at Grizzly Forebay; 5,080 feet at Bucks Lake in a Dry or Critically Dry water year type; and 5,100 feet at Bucks Lake in a Wet or Normal water year type, with the added seasonal drawdown limitations between June 1 and September 1 of no greater than 15 feet below the June 1 water surface elevation.

Fish stocking

To improve fishing opportunities, PG&E and the City will stock fish within Bucks Lake, Grizzly Forebay, and Lower Three Lakes.

Improve roads for recreational access

To maintain public access to recreation opportunities, PG&E and the City will implement a Transportation Management Plan that provides guidance for the rehabilitation and maintenance of project roads.

Minimum Water Releases

PG&E and the City will provide new flows at Project dams and diversions, including based on water-year types (i.e., Wet, Normal, Dry, Critically Dry):

  • Bucks Creek below Bucks Lake Dam;
  • Bucks Creek below Lower Bucks Lake Dam;
  • Grizzly Creek below Grizzly Forebay;
  • Milk Ranch Creek below Three Lakes;
  • Milk Ranch Creek at Milk Ranch Conduit Diversion No. 1; and
  • South Fork Grouse Hollow Creek at Milk Ranch Conduit Diversion No. 3.

Additionally, to enhance aquatic habitat and riparian resources, the new license allows unimpaired flow at two diverted tributaries during Wet water years, rather than seasonally diverting flows, and officially retires six original project diversions along the Milk Ranch Conduit. To enhance riparian and instream habitat, the License includes channel maintenance flows in Normal and Wet water years of 200 to 300 cfs into Bucks Creek from Lower Bucks Creek Dam, and 50 to 70 cfs in Grizzly Creek below Grizzly Forebay.

If you have any questions regarding the recreational aspects of the Bucks Creek Hydroelectric Project, please contact Jamie Visinoni, Senior License Coordinator, at (530) 215-6676 or [email protected], or Tony Gigliotti, Senior License Project Manager, at (925) 357-7120 or [email protected]