Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Project No. 2246

Project Name: Yuba River Development Project

yuba river

New Bullards Bar Dam
(Photo provided by State Water Board staff.)

Applicant: Yuba County Water Agency (YCWA)
County: Yuba, Sierra, and Nevada
License Expiration Date: April 30, 2016
Water Quality Certification Status: Final Issued - July 17, 2020
Order WQ 2020-0043 adopted December 15, 2020.
Waterbodies: Oregon Creek, Yuba, North Yuba, and Middle Yuba Rivers.
FERC Licensing Process: Integrated License Process (ILP)

Project Description:

The Yuba River Development Project (Project) is located on Oregon Creek, the Yuba, North Yuba, and Middle Yuba Rivers. The nearest cities to the Project are Camptonville, located approximately three miles east of New Bullards Bar Reservoir and Smartsville, located six miles southwest of the Narrows 2 Powerhouse.

The Project serves multiple uses including hydropower, flood control, water supply, and environmental resources. The Project as described in YCWA's December 2, 2013, Draft License Application consists of: 1) New Bullards Bar Dam and Reservoir; 2) Our House Diversion Dam; 3) Log Cabin Diversion Dam; 4) Lohman Ridge Diversion Tunnel; 5) Camptonville Diversion Tunnel; 6) New Colegate Powerhouse; 7) Narrows 2 Powerhouse; and 8) several recreational facilities. The Project currently operates under a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license issued May 16, 1963 and amended May 6, 1966. The Project has an energy generation capacity of 361 megawatts. Narrows 2 facility diverts water from Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) Englebright Reservoir.

The Project releases water into the Lower Yuba River in order to meet flow requirements specified in their water rights, as described in Revised Water Right Decision 1644 and Corrected Water Right Order 2008-0014. Corrected Water Right Order 2008-0014 allows implementation of the Lower Yuba River Accord (Yuba Accord). Portions of the Project are on federal lands managed by the United States Forest Service and the ACOE.

Ongoing processes that relate to the Project's FERC relicensing include the Yuba Accord and Yuba Salmon Forum, described below.

Lower Yuba River Accord

The Yuba Accord is a consensus-based, comprehensive program designed to protect and enhance 24 miles of the lower Yuba River extending from Englebright Dam downstream to Yuba River's confluence with the Feather River. The Yuba Accord was put in place to address water management in the lower Yuba River until a new FERC license is issued. The Yuba Accord is composed of three interrelated agreements: 1) the Lower Yuba River Fisheries Agreement, which specifies Lower Yuba River minimum stream flows and creates a detailed fisheries monitoring and evaluation program; 2) the Water Purchase Agreement, under which YCWA provides annual water supplies for fish and wildlife purposes in the Bay-Delta, CALFED's Environmental Water Account, the State Water Project, and the Central Valley Project; and 3) the Conjunctive Use Agreements which specify the terms of the Yuba Accord's conjunctive use program.

Yuba Salmon Forum

The Yuba Salmon Forum is a collaborative process that began in 2011. The Yuba Salmon Forum is comprised of a diverse group of stakeholders including State and Federal agencies, municipalities, and environmental groups. The purpose of the Yuba Salmon Forum is to evaluate and recommend implementation actions which could result in sustainable populations of salmonids in the Yuba River watershed. The Yuba Salmon Forum is investigating options for the reintroduction of salmon and steelhead into the Yuba River upstream of Englebright Dam. As part of the Central Valley salmonid recovery plan, the Yuba Salmon Forum considers other beneficial uses of water resources and habitat values in neighboring watersheds.

Related Documents

State Water Board Submittals to FERC & Related Responses:

YCWA’s website for the Project contains more information and many documents related to the relicensing.