The Public Utility District No. 2 of Grant County, Washington (Grant PUD) owns and operates two hydroelectric projects on the Columbia River in Washington State: Wanapum Dam and Priest Rapids Dam - Priest Rapids Hydroelectric Project FERC License No. 2114. On May 3, 2004, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS - then referred to as NOAA Fisheries) issued its Biological Opinion of the effects of the proposed action on listed species, in accordance with Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 as amended (16 USC 1531 et seq.), regarding the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC’s) proposed action amending Grant PUD’s existing license for the Priest Rapids Hydroelectric Project (Project) to authorize implementation of an Interim Protection Plan for listed anadromous salmonids. Subsequent to NOAA Fisheries’ issuance of the Biological Opinion and consistent with the requirements of the Biological Opinion and within the scope of its own agency jurisdiction under the Federal Power Act, on December 16, 2004, FERC issued an Order requiring Grant PUD to “implement NOAA Fisheries’ Reasonable and Prudent Alternative (Actions 1 through 25) and sections 12.2 and 12.3 of NOAA Fisheries’ Biological Opinion filed with the Commission on May 6, 2004….”In response to these requirements for downstream fish passage facilities, Grant PUD engaged in an extensive review of fish bypass concept designs to evaluate options available to increase the survival of smolts passing Wanapum Dam. Using a set of guiding principles related to the capture effectiveness, transport survival, construction costs, and construction feasibility of fish bypass options, the selection process resulted in the construction of the Wanapum Future Unit Fish Bypass (WFUFB) in early 2008. To evaluate fish responses to this newly-constructed fish bypass, in 2008 acoustically-tagged salmonid smolts were tracked as they approached and passed Wanapum Dam. The fish passage efficiency (FPE) and passage survival rate of three species of salmonid smolts that passed via the WFUFB were estimated.Data analysis of the acoustically-tagged smolts showed a FPE of 57%, 34% and 31% for steelhead, sockeye and yearling Chinook (respectfully) and a passage survival estimate of 100%, 95% and 96% for steelhead, sockeye and yearling Chinook (respectfully).
Modern day scientific hydroacoustic monitoring can provide an abundance of information about the aquatic species community and the impact of hydrokinetic technologies on that community in cost effective way, providing defendable long-term data sets. Scientific hydroacoustic monitoring technologies have been used for nearly three decades to assess the interactions between aquatic species and hydropower technologies
The relationship between stream flow and water temperature in the waters affected by Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E) DeSabla-Centerville Hydroelectric Project, FERC No. 803, (Project) was an important relicensing issue. The Project diverts cool water from the West Branch of the Feather River (WBFR) into Butte Creek, a stream that supports the largest population of spring-run Chinook salmon in California. Annually, PG&E and resource agencies develop a coordinated plan to maximize the cool water benefits in Butte Creek through changes in Project operations (e.g., timing and magnitude of releases from Project reservoirs). The development of a predictive stream temperature model, focusing on summer months (June through September) when high water temperatures can be a limiting factor, improved our ability to manage stream temperatures. The Army Corp of Engineers CE-QUAL-W2.v.3.2 (W2) was used for modeling the portion of the study area that is operationally adjusted to control temperatures in spring-run Chinook salmon summer holding habitat. W2 is a two-dimensional, laterally averaged, hydrodynamic, water temperature and water quality model. It was successfully used in this high gradient stream system by producing a hydro-dynamically equivalent model of the plunge-pool topographies typical of most of our study area. The model accommodated multiple waterbodies representing reservoirs and streams, multiple inflows and outflows, time-varying boundary conditions, and layer/segment addition and subtraction. W2 is a finite difference equation model that can compute water temperatures at sub-minute time intervals; as such it effectively modeled daily variations in water temperatures (i.e., daily minimums, means and maximums). We calibrated W2 with two years (2004, 2005) of summer water temperature data from stream, canal and reservoir locations, travel time (from dye studies) at four stream locations, and stream wetted width versus flow relationships from 22 instream flow transects. Error statistics indicated model calibration was successful in producing good to excellent performance across all metrics. Simulations were conducted using 2005 hydrology (above normal) and meteorology (hot) and 2001 hydrology (dry) combined with the hot 2005 meteorology. To investigate the effects of alternate operational scenarios on summer-time Butte Creek water temperatures a total of 32 simulations were conducted. Effectiveness of an alternative to manage water temperatures was determined by comparing a base case (reflecting current operations) with the alternative. Simulation results were then used by relicensing participants to develop instream flow recommendations.
Boundary Reservoir, on the Pend Oreille River, formed by Boundary Dam near the Canadian Border is located in a scenic valley of northeast Washington State. This reservoir is operated by Seattle City Light as a load-following facility for hydropower production. This historically low productivity reservoir is undergoing relicensing efforts and the potential production of periphyton, benthic macroinvertebrates (BMI), and macrophytes was assessed using habitat suitability indices (HSI). Specifically, the daily pool level fluctuation caused by project operations was studied to determine how various operations affected periphyton, BMI, and macrophyte production. This deep, high flow, and low retention time reservoir presented logistical difficulties in collection of data, and analysis of data to formulate HSI relationships. The HSI curves for periphyton, BMI, and macrophytes were developed using a multi-tiered approach. The first step was for provisional HSI curves to be developed from existing literature information and professional judgment. Next, site specific periphyton, BMI, and macrophyte data were collected at various locations and depths within the reservoir. These site-specific field data were used to create suitability values for physical habitat parameters using statistical programs. The final HSI curves were developed using both the provisional and site-specific curves and from input from relicensing participants.