Dams and Hydropower

Challenging the Hydropower Clean Energy Future Act: SYRCL’s Perspective
|

Challenging the Hydropower Clean Energy Future Act: SYRCL’s Perspective

The South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) believes it is crucial to address environmental issues with transparency and a commitment to facts. That is why we question some of the assertions made by hydropower providers as to the environmental benefits of their product. 

In particular, we have some issues with the “science” behind their assertions and how that is behind the Hydropower Clean Energy Future Act (H.R. 4045). This legislation aims to increase clean, renewable hydropower resources in the United States, purportedly to combat climate change and improve environmental quality. However, we believe it’s essential to critically examine its language and intentions.

Victory for Environmental Protection: Clean Water Act Prevails in PG&E Hydropower Projects on Yuba and Bear Rivers
|

Victory for Environmental Protection: Clean Water Act Prevails in PG&E Hydropower Projects on Yuba and Bear Rivers

Marking the culmination of a multiyear struggle where Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) had sought to evade regulation of hydropower projects under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA) shared that on September 5, 2023, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an Order that reaffirms the California State Water Board’s authority to enforce a “water quality certification” for new hydropower licenses granted to projects such as the Upper Drum-Spaulding, Lower Drum, and Deer Creek hydroelectric ventures.

Understanding the Rhythms of Rivers: Exploring Natural Hydrographs and the Impact of Dams on Watersheds
| |

Understanding the Rhythms of Rivers: Exploring Natural Hydrographs and the Impact of Dams on Watersheds

Dams create a number of issues for the overall health of a watershed. One of the primary issues is that they modify the volume (discharge) and timing of when and how water flows in the portion of the river downstream. Dams trap and store water in the wet periods of time, and then release additional water during the dry, hot periods of time to meet human need.  

River Health, Water, Fish, and Daguerre Point Dam
|

River Health, Water, Fish, and Daguerre Point Dam

Back in late 2022, the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) and the University of California, Santa Cruz put out a survey in hopes of getting community input on issues surrounding river health, fisheries, and fish passage at Daguerre Point Dam on the lower Yuba River. Now the results are in!