Dams and Hydropower

All dams in the Yuba watershed were given a 50-year license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in the 1960’s. Now, those dams are in the relicensing process and SYRCL has unique and substantial opportunities to advocate for river restoration. These new licenses will provide enhanced stream flows, more natural flow fluctuations, passage of wood and sediment for habitat, and recreational enhancements on sections along the South Yuba River, Middle Yuba River, and Canyon Creek.

For links to the websites for these projects, information on their relicensing process, and a map of their hydrologic effects in the Yuba River Watershed, go to the Hydropower webpage at the Yuba River Watershed Information System.

SYRCL Defends the Clean Water Act Section 401

Section 401 Water Quality Certification is getting attacked at a local and national level. Check out how SYRCL as Yuba River Waterkeeper and as a member of the Hydropower Reform Coalition is defending the Clean Water Act. Read more

Yuba-Bear and Drum-Spaulding Projects

Current FERC licenses for the YBDS projects expired on April 30, 2013. The terms of the new licenses will be in place for 30 or more years. The YBDS relicensing is a ground breaking opportunity to better balance the demands on the Yuba, Bear, and North Fork American Rivers with their ecological, economic, and social health at the forefront. Read more

Yuba River Development Project

The Yuba River Development Project is owned and operated by the Yuba Water Agency. Located on the Yuba river, Middle Yuba, and Oregon Creek in Yuba County and generates up to 361.9 megawatts of power. In May 2018, FERC released their Draft Environmental Impact Report that received 215 individual letters requesting better protections for Yuba Salmon and the Yuba River. Read more

Army Corps Feasibility Study

Englebright Dam and Daguerre Point Dam are owned and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. SYRCL’s advocacy work has led to a $3M study process called the Yuba River Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Study. The study is an important opportunity to formalize a federal interest in projects to improve fish passage and fish habitat. Read more

Hydropower Reform Coalition

SYRCL’s important work on hydropower and dams is generously supported by the Hydropower Reform Coalition (HRC). The HRC, founded in 1997, is a coalition of national, statewide and local river conservation and recreation organizations that work to protect, enhance, and restore California rivers impacted by federally-regulated hydropower dams. Read more

Hydropower Projects

The Yuba River watershed includes five hydropower projects that impound water behind dams, alter natural streamflows, and divert water to unnatural streamcourses. Each of the hydropower projects is licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The three largest projects are currently in the process of relicensing. Operating in the upper portions of the Middle Yuba and South Yuba sub-basins, the interwoven projects of the Nevada Irrigation District (NID) and PG&E are undergoing relicensing in conjunction. Read more