Constructed at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Northern California, the Oroville Facilities are located on the Feather River in Butte County and are also known as FERC Project No. 2100 or P-2100.
The principal features of P-2100 include Oroville Dam and Reservoir as well as Edward Hyatt Powerplant, Thermalito Facilities, Feather River Fish Hatchery, and associated recreational, fish and wildlife preservation and enhancement facilities. The hydroelectric facilities of P-2100 have a combined license capacity of approximately 762 megawatts which produce an average of 2.2 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity each year.
RELICENSING OF P-2100
Oroville Dam and Lake
On February 11, 1957 the Department of Water Resources (DWR) was issued a 50-year license to construct and operate the Oroville Facilities (P-2100) in Butte County, California. The original license expired on January 31, 2007. During relicensing, a diverse group of agencies and stakeholders scoped issues, designed a $27 million suite of studies, reviewed reports, proposed measures, and discussed potential solutions for project impacts. Using relevant information from this effort, DWR filed an Application for New License with supporting environmental documentation on January 26, 2005. On March 26, 2006, DWR and an overwhelming majority of stakeholders successfully concluded negotiations and signed a Settlement Agreement that has been estimated to provide approximately $1 billion in environmental, recreational, cultural, and other benefits over a proposed 50-year new license term.
The Settlement Agreement was submitted as DWR's preferred alternative and became the focus of FERC's ongoing National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis. DWR, as lead agency under California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), followed with an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) with the Settlement Agreement as the preferred project. A summary of key activities and documents from relicensing are presented below.
The following additional actions have taken place since filing of the application for relicensing of the Oroville Facilities:
- February 1, 2007 – FERC issued notice authorizing continued project operations.
- May 18, 2007 – FERC issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement with recommended alternatives accepting most of the Settlement Agreement proposals.
- April 9, 2007 – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued the terrestrial Biological Opinion.
- November 20, 2007 – Effective date for DWR and PG&E Habitat Expansion Agreement.
- July 22, 2008 – DWR issued Final EIR.
- December 15, 2010 – State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) issued the Water Quality Certification pursuant to Section 401 of the Clean Water Act.
- Application for New License
- FERC's Notice of Acceptance of DWR's Application for New License
- Settlement Agreement and Explanatory Statement
- FERC's Authorization for Continued Operation
- Final Environmental Impact Report
- Final Environmental Impact Statement
- State Water Resources Control Board Water Quality Certification
- USFWS terrestrial Biological Opinion
- Habitat Expansion Coordination Agreement
- Habitat Expansion Agreement
- Amended Habitat Expansion Agreement
DWR anticipates that FERC will issue a new license order in 2013 pending issuance of the aquatic biological opinion from the National Marine Fisheries Service.
Lake Oroville is home to a wide variety of fish, and is regularly stocked by the California Department of Fish and Game. The lake's record-setting fishery provides anglers with a variety of catches such as crappie, catfish, rainbow and German brown trout, bluegill, and green sunfish. Noted for its bass (spotted, large-mouth and small-mouth, etc.) fishing, Lake Oroville is a popular spot for bass tournaments.