Hydropower Licensing, Relicensing, and Compliance

FERC Licensing NEPA Support Services

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Louis Berger Group)
Meridian has been a contractor to the FERC since 1998, conducting over 25 NEPA environmental analyses for hydroelectric and hydrokinetic projects throughout the United States. Our work involves reviewing license applications and other applicant filings to ensure compliance with the FERC regulations and policies and preparing EISs and EAs. We address issues such as fish passage, instream flows, ramping rates, entrainment, reservoir fluctuation, bank stability, instream and riparian habitat quality, invasive plant management, wetlands and old-growth, wildlife movement and migration, listed species, grazing, and shoreline management.

Sunset Fish Passage and Energy Project

Snohomish County PUD
The Sunset Fish Passage and Energy Project is a proposed 30-MW run-of-river hydropower project on the South Fork of the Skykomish River. Meridian has been providing licensing services to the District for the project since 2012. Tasks have included preparing the Pre-Application Document; designing and conducting terrestrial resource studies, reviewing and commenting on technical reports, and participating in public meetings. Meridian's current assignment is to complete Exhibit E for inclusion in the Draft License Application.

Lewis River Hydroelectric Projects License Implementation

As a component of the Lewis River Project's Settlement Agreement and FERC License, Meridian developed a study plan and managed a comprehensive evaluation of bull trout habitat limiting factors in the tributaries to Lake Merwin and Swift Creek Reservoir; prepared a fish passage monitoring and evaluation plan designed to quantify collection efficiency, injury rates, and overall survival of juvenile and adult salmon and steelhead entering the Project surface collector and adult collection facility. Meridian managed the preparation of a survey design to determine the distribution, abundance, and spawn time of transported anadromous fish in the Upper Lewis River and conducted upper Lewis River spawning surveys. Meridian also conducted an assessment of existing water temperatures, fish, and aquatic macroinvertebrates in the Yale Project tailrace as a component of the Project's Section 401 certification, and is providing staff to operate the Swift Reservoir floating surface collector downstream migrant transport system, and Merwin Trap upstream migrant transport system. Meridian is also conducting salmon spawner distribution and abundance surveys in the lower Lewis River for coho and Spring Chinook.

Hancock Creek and Calligan Creek Hydroelectric Projects

Snohomish County PUD
Meridian assisted the District with preparation of draft license applications for two 6-MW run-of-river hydro projects in the Cascade foothills. Meridian's responsibilities included analysis of project effects on aquatic and terrestrial resources, recreation, land use, aesthetics, and cultural resources. Both projects were recently licensed and construction is set to begin in the fall of 2015.

Clackamas River Hydroelectric Project Compliance

Portland General Electric
The new operating license for these projects required PGE to rebuild 8 and develop 5 new campgrounds, day use areas and river access sites located primarily in the Mt. Hood National Forest. Working with landscape architects, Meridian performed environmental analyses of the effects of work at each of these sites over a multi-year period. These analyses met the NEPA requirements of the Forest Service and the FERC, addressing ESA listed plants and animals, as well as aesthetic, recreation and Wild and Scenic River effects. Protective measures were identified to minimize and mitigate construction effects.

Henry M. Jackson Hydroelectric Project Relicensing and Implementation

Snohomish County PUD
Meridian was the lead consultant for relicensing this 111.8-MW hydroelectric and municipal water supply project, advising the client on protection, mitigation and enhancement measures for the term of a new license, preparing the Preliminary License Proposal and the Final License Application, and completing biological assessments for both NMFS and USFWS. Since the project was licensed in 2011, we have continued to assist the District with implementing the license articles. Recent assignments include designing, installing, and operating a screw trap and training District staff in on-going monitoring methods; completing a water temperature conditioning evaluation and report, and conducting a ramping rate study to assess the adequacy of current downramping rates on four Sultan River side channels.

Freedom Hydroelectric Project

North Wasco County PUD
Meridian provided aquatic, terrestrial, permitting and FERC licensing services for this hydropower facility proposed within an existing fishway of The Dalles Dam on the mainstem Columbia River. Under the proposed license amendment, attraction flows for adult migrants would be used to generate electricity and improve upstream passage. Fish passage analyses by Meridian showed that improvements would be achieved with this installation, as did computation fluid dynamics evaluations by McMillen Engineering. Meridian also assessed project effects on wintering bald eagles, aesthetics, water quality and traditional tribal uses.

Cowlitz River Hydroelectric Project Relicensing and Implementation

Tacoma Power
Meridian staff have worked with Tacoma Power on this 462-MW, two-dam generating complex since 1996. As part of the relicensing process, our staff designed and conducted extensive fisheries and terrestrial resource studies, prepared technical reports, participated in agency consultation and public meetings, prepared a PDEA evaluating five relicensing alternatives, and completed a Biological Assessment addressing the effects of the preferred alternative. Since the license was issued, we have continued to assist Tacoma with implementation of the terms of the license and settlement agreement. Meridian coordinates a team of subcontractors, and our staff has provided technical services in evaluating fish collection and downstream passage options using floating and radio telemetry, developing a Fisheries and Hatchery Management Plan, and conducting surveys and mapping for large woody debris. Meridian is also assisting Tacoma with development of a license implementation manual to document compliance over time.