RAPID/Roadmap/12-AK-a(1)

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Alaska State Fish and Wildlife Conditions and Recommendations (12-AK-a(1))

The Federal Power Act (FPA) requires the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to consult with state agencies responsible for the oversight and protection of fish, wildlife, and botanical resources. 18 CFR 5.1(d); 18 CFR 4.38.


The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is Alaska’s state agency with primary responsibility for protecting, maintaining, and improving the fish, game, and aquatic plant resources of the state and to manage their use and development in the best interest of the economy and the well-being of the state, consistent with the sustained yield principle. AS 16.05.020.

The ADF&G actively participates in FERC licensing and exemption processes by (in addition to consulting with other federal, state, and tribal resource management agencies and reviewing Water Quality Certification applications) reviewing proposed hydropower projects and issuing to FERC recommended terms and conditions designed to protect, mitigate damage to, and enhance fish and wildlife resources. 16 USC 803.


State Fish and Wildlife Conditions and Recommendations Process

12-AK-a.1 – Is the Project Exempt from FERC Licensing?

The FPA authorizes the ADF&G to issue mandatory terms and conditions for any hydropower projects that are exempt from FERC licensing. 16 USC 823a(c). For hydropower projects not exempt from FERC licensing, the FPA grants the ADF&G authority to issue recommendations for the FERC license.

12-AK.a.2 – Develop Section 30(c) Conditions

For hydropower projects that are exempt from FERC licensing, section 30(c) of the FPA authorizes the ADF&G to issue mandatory terms and conditions, as appropriate, in order to prevent the loss of or damage to fish and wildlife resources. 16 USC 823a(c).

ADF&G reviews proposed hydropower projects, considering the potential effects of the project on fish and wildlife resources. Based upon its analysis, the ADF&G will work with the developer to formulate section 30(c) conditions for the hydropower project.

In developing the section 30(c) conditions, the ADF&G considers (among other things):

  1. Alaska’s rare, threatened, and endangered species;
  2. Fish life-cycle requirements;
  3. Periodicity (when a fish is likely to be found in the area)
  4. Habitat requirements of aquatic life; and
  5. Instream flow requirements of aquatic life.

Hydropower in Alaska and Fish and Game, Monte Miller, Alaska Fish & Wildlife News.

12-AK-a.3 – 30(c) Conditions

The ADF&G’s recommendations may include measures addressing instream flow regimes, streamgage requirements, fish passage facilities, a bear safety plan, plans for hazardous substance uses, post-construction monitoring plans, and/or vegetation and terrestrial wildlife management plans. The ADF&G issues its section 30(c) conditions to FERC. FERC must include all section 30(c) conditions issued by the ADF&G in a timely manner in the licensing exemption. 16 USC 823a(c); 18 CFR 4.34(f). After FERC issues an exemption, the ADF&G monitors the developer’s compliance with the section 30(c) conditions included in the licensing exemption.

12-AK-a.4 – Initiate Section 10(j) Analysis

For hydropower projects subject to FERC licensing, section 10(j) of the FPA authorizes the ADF&G to file recommended terms and conditions to FERC in order to protect, mitigate damage to, and enhance those fish and wildlife species and their necessary habitat. 16 USC 803(j).

The ADF&G initiates a section 10(j) analysis by reviewing all available records and working with Area Management Biologists to identifying potential impacts of the hydropower project on fish and wildlife species and their habitat. Additionally, the ADF&G identifies studies (to be conducted during both the pre-construction and post-construction phases), which will provide data to help ADF&G to evaluate the project’s potential and real impacts. In issuing section 10(j) recommendations, the ADF&G will consider (among other things):

  1. Alaska’s rare, threatened, and endangered species;
  2. Fish life-cycle requirements;
  3. Periodicity (when a fish is likely to be found in the area)
  4. Habitat requirements of aquatic life; and
  5. Instream flow requirements of aquatic life.

Hydropower in Alaska and Fish and Game, Monte Miller, Alaska Fish & Wildlife News.

12-AK-a.5 to 12-AK-a.6 – Are Additional Documents or Studies Needed?

If the record is incomplete, the ADF&G may request that the developer provide the additional documents. ADF&G may also conduct studies to address information gaps concerning baseline values or potential impacts of the proposed project on fish and wildlife species.

=12-AK-a.7 to 12-AK-a.8 – 10(j) Recommendations

Based on the ADF&G’s review of the hydropower project, the ADF&G works with the developer to formulate section 10(j) recommendations for the FERC license. 16 USC 803(j). In developing its section 10(j) recommendations, the ADF&G considers and strives to maintain consistency with the requirements of Anadromous Fish Act (AS 16.05.871 – 16.05.901), the Fish Passage Act (AS 16.05.841), the Federal Endangered Species Act, and the management plan for the affected area. The ADF&G’s recommendations may include measures addressing instream flow regimes, streamgage requirements, fish passage facilities, a bear safety plan, plans for hazardous substance uses, post-construction monitoring plans, and/or vegetation and terrestrial wildlife management plans.

The ADF&G submits its section 10(j) recommendations to FERC. FERC must consider and accept any recommendations received from the ADF&G for the protection, mitigation, and enhancement of fish and wildlife affected by the project unless FERC determines that:

  1. A recommendation is inconsistent with the purposes and requirements of the FPA or other applicable provisions of law; or
  2. The alternative conditions selected by FERC comply with the requirements to adequately protect, mitigate damages to, and enhance fish and wildlife.

In many cases some recommendations filed by ADF&G have been determined by FERC to be outside a strict interpretation of requirements for 10(j). In many cases these recommendations are included under 10a filing authority. 16 USC 803(j).

Once FERC issues a license, the ADF&G continues to monitor the project to ensure the developer’s compliance with any conditions relevant to the protection, mitigation, and enhancement of fish and wildlife.




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Edit Alaska Department of Fish and Game
FERC Hydropower Coordinator
(907) 267-2312
monteabbazabbamiller@alaskaabbazabbagov