Proposed hydro-power project on Yuba River draws scrutiny
Source: Laura Brown, The Union
River lovers, fishery biologists and conservation groups that have worked for years to improve salmon habitat on the lower Yuba River are troubled by a Canadian energy company’s proposal to build a “fish-friendly” hydro-power project adjacent to a dam that many want to see come down.
Archon Energy Ltd. has identified 50 stakeholders to its proposal for a clean-energy facility at Daguerre Point Dam in Yuba County.
On Oct. 22, during the first public meeting for the project, many raised concerns about the project’s timeline, unknown effects to irrigation diversions, recreation and endangered fish and pointed to a need for more environmental studies.
Nearly two-dozen people in support of the Nevada City-based advocacy group the South Yuba River Citizens League filled Yuba County’s Supervisors Chambers to hear details of the project and voice their opposition to it.
An application filed in July by Archon Energy Ltd. with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is incomplete in determining risks to three anadromous fish species listed under the federal Endangered Species Act, say fishery biologists.
“Yes, there are risks, and those will need to be evaluated. The details of the project are somewhat lacking. Our concerns are for anadromous fish species Spring Run Chinook (salmon), (Central Valley) Steelhead and green sturgeon, also Fall Chinook,” important to commercial and sport fisheries, said Gary Sprague, fish biologist with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries.
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