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

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California State Fish and Wildlife License Conditions and Recommendations (12-CA-a)

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 California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) is California’s state agency dedicated to the conservation, protection, and management of fish, wildlife, and native plant species, and the habitat necessary to support biologically sustainable populations of those species. California Department of Fish and Wildlife: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Hydroelectric Projects.


The CDFW participates in the FERC licensing process by (in addition to consulting with other federal, state, and tribal resource management agencies involved in the FERC licensing process, such as the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB)) reviewing proposed hydropower projects and issuing to FERC either mandatory terms and conditions or a defensible set of recommendations designed to protect, mitigate damage to, and enhance fish and wildlife resources. 16 USC 803.


State Fish and Wildlife License Conditions and Recommendations Process

12-CA-a.1 – Is the Project Exempt from FERC licensing?

The FPA authorizes the CDFW to issue mandatory terms and conditions for hydropower projects that are exempt from FERC licensing. 16 USC 823a(c). For hydropower projects subject to FERC licensing, the FPA grants the CDFW authority to issue recommendations for the FERC license. 16 USC 803(j).

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

For hydropower projects that are exempt from FERC licensing, section 30(c) of the FPA authorizes the CDFW 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).

The CDFW analyzes the impacts of the hydropower project on fish and wildlife resources as part of the CDFW’s role in the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process. (See Flowchart 9-CA-b).

Based upon its CEQA analysis, the CDFW develops section 30(c) Conditions for the hydropower project.

12-CA-a.3 – 30(c) Conditions

The CDFW issues the section 30(c) Conditions to FERC. FERC must include all section 30(c) Conditions issued by the CDFW in a timely manner in the licensing exemption. 16 USC 823a(c); 18 CFR 4.34(f).

After FERC issues the exemption, the CDFW monitors the developer’s compliance with the section 30(c) Conditions included in the licensing exemption.

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

For hydropower projects subject to FERC licensing, section 10(j) of the FPA authorizes the CDFW to issue recommendations 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 CDFW initiates a section 10(j) analysis by reviewing the administrative record and identifying the potential impacts of the hydropower project on fish and wildlife species and their habitat.

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

If the record is incomplete, the CDFW may request that the developer provide the necessary documents. The CDFW may also conduct studies to address information gaps concerning baseline values or potential impacts of the proposed project. California Department of Fish and Wildlife: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Hydroelectric Projects.

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

Based upon the CDFW’s review of the hydropower project, the CDFW develops section 10(j) recommendations for the FERC license. 16 USC 803(j). In developing its section 10(j) recommendations, the CDFW considers and strives to maintain consistency with the requirements of the California Endangered Species Act and the Federal Endangered Species Act. The CDFW’s recommendations may include measures addressing instream flow regimes, fish passage facilities, and/or vegetation and terrestrial wildlife management plans. California Department of Fish and Wildlife: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Hydroelectric Projects.

The CDFW submits its section 10(j) recommendations to FERC. FERC must consider and accept any recommendations received from the CDFW 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; and
  2. The alternative conditions selected by FERC comply with the requirement to adequately protect, mitigate damages to, and enhance fish and wildlife. 16 USC 803(j).

Once FERC issues a license, the CDFW 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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