Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
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[su_spoiler title=”September 10, 2012 – Preliminary License Proposal” open=”no”]
TO: Melanie Humphries, Susan Tompkins, Don Neal, and Joel Donovan
RE: Bartlett’s Ferry Preliminary License Proposal, FERC PROJECT NUMBER P-485-063
DATE: September 10, 2012
We are in the process of reviewing the Preliminary License Proposal as filed by Georgia Power in their July 17, 2012 transmittal to FERC.
In summary, for the new license term Georgia Power proposes to continue operating the Bartletts Ferry Project in a modified run-of-river mode to follow daily and weekly load demands for the generation of peaking power.
In addition, Georgia Power proposes the following environmental measures.
- Continue to operate the project reservoir within an elevation range of 517 to 521 ft PD 100 percent of the time and within an elevation range of 519 to 521 ft PD at least 85 percent of the time, excluding fall maintenance and system emergency drawdowns. In other words, Georgia Power would continue to operate the project reservoir between 519 and 521 PD about 97% of the time over extended periods (years) of operation, but in drought years the reservoir would fall below 519 PD up to 15 percent of the time. RiverWarden is currently working with GA Power to revise this wording on lake levels it is very confusing and was not stated this way at any public meetings.Operating within these ranges would protect and maintain the integrity of reservoir shorelines, minimize erosion and sedimentation, protect fish and aquatic resources using littoral-zone habitats, maintain wetlands and associated wildlife habitat, and maintain quality boating and recreational access.
- Consult with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GDNR) Wildlife Resources Division prior to any non-emergency drawdown outside of the 517-521 ft PD range and notify the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and FERC at least 10 days in advance.
- Continue to operate the Project to supplement flows over weekend periods to support the downstream Middle Chattahoochee Project minimum flow requirements in Columbus, Georgia. Supporting these requirements would continue to enhance aquatic resources in the Chattahoochee River downstream by maintaining adequate flow regimes, moderating fluctuations of Middle Chattahoochee reservoirs over the weekend, and protecting water supplies and assimilative capacity into the future for Columbus area communities in Alabama and Georgia.
- Install stoplogs at the west powerhouse intake structure in the forebay of the project reservoir during the months June through September to enhance summer dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations in the tailrace area. This would benefit water quality in the tailrace and downstream fisheries, aquatic resources, and recreational opportunities by supporting applicable water quality standards throughout the hottest months of the year.
- Conduct continuous DO monitoring and water temperature monitoring in the project tailrace area in the months June through September for 3 years following the installation of stoplogs at the west powerhouse to verify DO enhancements in the tailrace area.
- Install appropriate shoreline structural stabilization consisting of a combination of seawall and riprap along the shoreline at Po Boy Landing and the shoreline at Chattahoochee Valley Park to conserve soil resources, maintain shoreline recreational uses, reduce sedimentation and turbidity in adjacent waters, and enhance littoral-zone aquatic habitat.
- Construct, install, and maintain fish attracting structures in the project reservoir in coordination with GDNR, to include structures placed near project shoreline fishing sites and in boat-accessible areas, in order to enhance angling opportunities and ensure the persistence of a quality reservoir fishery.
- Implement an exotic invasive vegetation management plan for the Project, to address terrestrial exotic invasive plants on Georgia Power-owned lands within the project boundary at the six project recreation sites and on the Alabama side of the river downstream of Bartletts Ferry Dam, and to address aquatic exotic invasive plants within the project boundary in order to maintain operation of the Bartletts Ferry hydro units. Georgia Power will develop a brochure to help educate land owners regarding the benefits of, and best management practices for, reducing exotic invasive terrestrial vegetation.
- Implement a bald eagle management plan for the Project to conserve and protect active bald eagle nests and roost sites within the project boundary in partnership with GDNR. To avoid disturbing active nests of bald eagles on Georgia Power-owned lands within the project boundary, Georgia Power will implement current U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service national bald eagle management guidelines.
- Improve recreational fishing opportunities by providing for an earlier seasonal opening (beginning of March) of the boat ramp at Blanton Creek Park and enhance its recreation resources by improving water and electric infrastructure to support continued high quality outdoor recreation opportunities.
- Increase recreational access and improve recreation resources at Idle Hour Park by enhancing the overflow parking area across Mountain Drive and by replacing the existing wooden fishing pier with Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant aluminum floating fishing platform.
- Increase recreational access for canoes and kayaks on the Chattahoochee River by providing a portage route around Bartletts Ferry Dam in Alabama, including a dedicated take-out area at Po Boy Landing and signage along the shoulder of 1.2 miles of existing roads between Po Boy Landing and Sandy Point (on Goat Rock Reservoir).
- Increase recreational access and improve recreation resources at Chattahoochee Valley Park by installing the infrastructure needed (pave entrance road, install electric and water infrastructure) to support existing facilities and the addition of a comfort station, lighting, hiking trail, and boat dock.
- Continue to manage shorelines in accordance with Shoreline Management Guidelines for Georgia Power Lakes and to further promote the maintenance of vegetative buffers, water quality, and aquatic habitat around the reservoir by establishing and maintaining educational material related to such topics as shoreline vegetation, lawn care practices, pet wastes, and debris disposal.
- Implement a Historic Properties Management Plan through a Programmatic Agreement to assure the preservation and long-term management of archaeological sites and historic buildings and structures within the project boundary. Enhance public understanding of cultural resources in the project area by establishing and maintaining web-based educational material related to the history of the Project, the history of hydropower in the region, and the overall prehistoric and historic context of the area.
The deadline for public comments on Georgia Power’s Preliminary Licensing Proposal is October 14, 2012. We are continuing to review the document so that we may prepare a letter of comment on behalf of the Chattahoochee RiverWarden. We are also reviewing the document with an eye to helping the Lake Harding Homeowner’s Association prepare their letter of comment. In the meantime, thought you might want to have this basic summary to distribute to your members.
[su_spoiler title=”February 10, 2012 – Bartlett’s Ferry Dam Relicensing” open=”no”]
To: Lake Harding Homeowners, Columbus Boat Club and Other Interested Stakeholders
From: Lake Harding Association
Subject: Bartlett’s Ferry Dam Relicensing
Georgia Power is in the process of Relicensing Hydro Power Generation at Bartletts Ferry Dam with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). On April 13, 1978 FERC issued a new license to Georgia Power for hydropower operation that is set to expire on December 14, 2014. In 2008, Georgia Power began the relicensing project using FERC’s Integrated Licensing Procedure, a process that continues to ensure adequate resource protections.
Under the relicensing process, Georgia Power was required to submit studies regarding such issues as fish and aquatic resources, geology and soils, recreation and land use, and endangered species. Beginning in 2009, Georgia Power has given notice of and held public meetings regarding these studies.
Many rumors have recently circulated among homeowners regarding the impact that the relicensing procedure may have on lake levels. We want to take this opportunity to share with you what we currently know.
- Georgia Power is preparing to drop the lake eight feet-UNTRUE
- The whitewater project in Columbus, GA is going to cause lake levels to drop-UNTRUE
- Georgia Power does not care at what lake levels they operate as long as they are generating electricity-UNTRUE-the hydro power generation works best with a full lake
- The US Army Corps of Engineers is going to tell Georgia Power how to operate the lake-UNTRUE
- As part of the relicensing studies, Georgia Power was asked by FERC to develop an Operation and Drought Management Plan in order to assess the existing water storage in Lake Harding.
- In the Bartletts Ferry Operation and Drought Management Plan Study (March2011) submitted in response to this request, Georgia Power has stated that it proposes to continue operating Lake Harding and Bartletts Ferry Dam as it is currently operated.
- Regarding lake levels, Georgia Power has operated the lake at elevations of 518-521 feet above sea level 99.7% of the time except for maintenance draw downs. The normal daily fluctuation of Lake Harding is about 0.75 feet
Lake Harding’s Role in the Chattahoochee River Flow
- Lake Harding is a modified run-of-the river reservoir (i.e. inflow=outflow over 7 day period), not a water storage reservoir. It has only about 3.4% of the total water conservation storage on the Chattahoochee River. See Chart Below.
- Lake Lanier, West Point Lake, Lake George (Lake Eufaula) and Lake Seminole were built as federal water storage reservoirs with specific authorizations from the United States Congress using tax payers’ dollars. They have large water storage conservation pools for daily releases that are required by federal law.
- Unlike these four lakes, Lake Harding is NOT a federal water storage reservoir but was built instead with money from private investors for hydropower generation.
What is Next
- On March 6 and 7, 2012 Georgia Power will conduct Preliminary Licensing Proposal meetings. These meetings are not required by FERC’s Integrated Licensing Procedure but are being offered by Georgia Power for additional stakeholder education and input. The meeting schedule is attached.
- By July 17, 2012 Georgia Power will file their Preliminary Licensing Proposal with FERC.
- By October 15, 2012 Public Comments are due to FERC on the Preliminary License Proposal.
- By December 14, 2012 Georgia Power will file their license application. FERC has two years to issue the final license and operating parameters.
Need for Lake Harding’s Input
- For several years the City of LaGrange, West Point Lake Coalition and several other organizations have been exerting pressure on the Corps of Engineers, the State of Georgia and FERC regarding the operation of the dams in the Chattahoochee River system during times of drought, and in particular Lake Harding’s participation in water releases which could negatively impact lake levels.
- As homeowners and land owners, boat club members, fishermen, boaters, campers, homeowner association members, realtors and businesses just to name a few, the time has come for all of us (stakeholders) to begin working for the benefit of our lake. We can begin by making sure that the March 6-7, 2012 meeting is well attended by all Lake Harding stakeholders. We will keep you apprised of our efforts to coordinate an effective strategic plan to protect our lake, its levels, and the economic welfare of the region.
Tuesday March 6, 2012
- 9:00am EST (8:00am CST), Preliminary Licensing Proposal Discussion, Lunch Provided, Discussion Continuing as Necessary
- 7:00pm EST (6:00pm CST), Same Discussion as Above
Valley Sports Complex
130 Sportsplex Drive
Valley, Alabama 36854
Facility Contact:(334) 756-5281
Wednesday March 7, 2012
- 9:00am EST (8:00am CST), Preliminary Licensing Proposal Discussion, Lunch
Provided, Discussion Continuing as Necessary
- 7:00pm EST (6:00pm CST), Same Discussion as Above
Mountain Hill School
47 Mountain Hill Road
Fortson, Georgia 31808
Facility Contact: Nick Mirabella (706) 325-2982
- Relicensing Update
- Proposed Project Operations
- Proposed Enhancement Measures
- Water Resources
- Rare, Threatened, and Endangered Species
- Wildlife and Botanical Resources
- Wetlands, Riparian, and L:ittoral Habitat
- Fish and Aquatic Resources
- Recreation and Land Use/Management
- Geology and Soils
- Cultural Resources
- Wrap Up/Next Steps