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October 15, 2012
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Proposed hydroelectric project draws SYRCL ire

A Canadian power company is slated to present its proposal for a new hydroelectric project at Daguerre Point Dam to the public Oct. 22 in Marysville, according to a news release issued by a local conservation group.

The proposed energy project has drawn the ire of the environmental nonprofit, South Yuba River Citizens League, which claims the dam “would set back efforts to restore wild salmon,” the release states.

“The proposal for a hydropower project seems likely to conflict with federal requirements to provide safe fish passage for endangered salmon past Daguerre Point Dam,” said Caleb Dardick, SYRCL executive director.

Last February, the National Marine Fisheries Service released a Biological Opinion, which
finds that the operation of Daguerre Point Dam is likely to jeopardize the survival of three species of endangered fish — spring-run Chinook salmon, steelhead and green sturgeon, the release states.

The Biological Opinion requires the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to implement a program to provide fish passage past the dam by 2020.

“Conservation groups support retrofitting existing dams for hydropower, provided the resource impacts are small.

However, fish passage at Daguerre Point Dam is already a big problem,” said Chris Shutes of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance.

“Since the Yuba River is already home to one of the largest powerhouses in California, this low benefit project should not be a priority.”

Archon Energy officials assert that their proposal for a three-megawatt facility will be “fish friendly” due to reliance on Archimedes screw turbines, the release states.

However, this new hydropower technology has yet to be tested on rivers in the U.S.

Joining SYRCL in monitoring Archon Energy’s application is American Rivers, American Whitewater, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance and Trout Unlimited, which filed a joint statement Oct. 1 with the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission identifying critical issues of concern, including fish passage, recreation and water resources.

The meeting will begin at 1 p.m. and will take place at the Yuba County Board of Supervisors Chambers at 915 8th St., Suite 109, Marysville.e_SClB

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The Union Updated Oct 12, 2012 07:38AM Published Oct 15, 2012 03:58PM Copyright 2012 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.