Any threat to the Yuba River from a new hydropower project at Daguerre Point Dam has been vanquished with the official cancellation of a permit issued in 2013. Last week, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) cancelled a permit to Archon Energy for studying the feasibility of a hydropower project at Daguerre Point Dam because Archon failed to file a six-month progress report.
Archon Energy, a firm from Canada, proposed the project with an application to FERC in 2012 that vaguely described how novel Archimedes screw turbines would be used to generate 3 megawatts of power. The application document characterized “fish friendly” turbines that would have no impact to the sensitive salmon resources of the lower Yuba River despite such technology never having been tested in rivers of the United States with salmon.
SYRCL organized citizen involvement at a public meeting in Marysville where many spoke out of concern for legitimizing an antiquated dam while risking further impacts to already threatened salmon and steelhead populations. Following the issuance of the permit, SYRCL staff and volunteers met with Archon to discuss the project concept and issues. SYRCL led the preparation of comments submitted to FERC by the Foothills Water Network regarding the need for certain studies, and then subsequent comments to FERC on the inadequacy of a Archon’s draft study plan. See Daguerre Dam Hydropower Threat for more background information.
The environmental issues associated with this hydropower proposal, and the need for expensive studies to evaluate impacts, were far greater than Archon Energy had anticipated or was able to endure. Now that the threat of a hydropower project is gone, we are back to the original set of problems for a dam that was built in 1910 and has inadequate fish passage facilities. Stay tuned for updates on SYRCL’s efforts to address those problems by engaging in a new study by the Army Corps of Engineers regarding the feasibility of removing the dam or providing new fish passage facilities.