Category Archives: Resouce Management


The final countdown has begun! Comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) are due to the State Water Resources Control Board no later than noon on 26 March 2015.

Plumas County District Three Town Hall Meeting:

Transcript of Public Comment

Many of you have said that you do not feel technically qualified to make comments. In order to assist you in this process I asked our attorney to draft a letter that you can print and send or cut and paste into an email. Clicking on this link (Water Board Comments) will take you to the letter.

If you have not as yet sent comments I urge you to take this opportunity to assist in our effort to Save Lake Almanor!

You can make a difference!!!


There will be a Town Hall Meeting here in Chester on 11 February 1015 at the Veterans Memorial Hall, 225 Gay Street, Chester starting at 6:00 pm. Representatives from PG&E will be presenting information on the operation of Lake Almanor/Butt Lake. This presentation will be immediately followed by a PUBLIC HEARING conducted by the Water Board where they will take comments from the public regarding the DEIR and the proposed alternatives.

State Water Resources Control Board
State Water Resources Control Board

With the release of the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) by the State Water Resources Control Board, THERMAL CURTAINS in Lake Almanor and Butt Lake are nearing a reality!

The DEIR identifies two alternatives for cooling the water in the Feather River below Lake Almanor. Both alternatives include the use of thermal curtains in Lake Almanor at the Prattville outlet and at Butt Lake. We only have until noon on 26 March to provide the Water Board with comments regarding the DEIR!

Lake Almanor, Plumas County, CA
Lake Almanor, Plumas County, CA

I know we are all concerned about the serious, adverse impacts of these recommendations. However, most will not take the initiative to write out comments by letter or email. It is extremely important that the Water Board hear from us!!

I cannot overemphasize the importance of your attendance and comment at this meeting. People, you have the power to change the direction the Water Board is heading! Please show up, participate and get the word out to everyone you know.

For additional information, please visit my previous blog: “SAVE LAKE ALMANOR” – IT’S HERE!! The following link to the Whiskeytown Lake Thermal Curtain provides insight related to appearance and function of that project.

BE THERE – 11 February 2015 at 6:00 pm, Veterans Memorial Hall, Chester!!!


State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB)

Draft Environmental Impact Report

Folks it has been 12 years since PG&E started their re-licensing process for the Upper North Fork Feather River Hydroelectric Project, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Project # 2105.

This re-licensing requires a Section 401 Water Quality Certification from State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB). We have been waiting NINE long years for the SWRCB to release their Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR). The report was finally released 26 Nov 14, it examines two alternatives for cooling water to a maximum of 20 degrees Celsius at the Rock Creek/Cresta reaches of the Feather River (about 40 miles below Lake Almanor). Both alternatives call for a variety of actions to take cold water from Lake Almanor; both include installation of thermal curtains in Almanor and Butt Lake.

Canyon Dam Outlet - Lake Almanor
Canyon Dam Outlet – Lake Almanor

While staff recommendations do not call for immediate installation of the curtains; they instead recommend a form of adaptive management using increased cold water releases from Canyon Dam outlet between June and September each year. SWRCB staff also recommends the Water Board reserve the option to install thermal curtains in the future should the adaptive management practices not prove effective in reducing downstream temperatures. We have always taken the position that removal of cold water from Lake Almanor will have many and lasting negative impacts.

The goal of reducing downstream water temperatures was developed as part of a negotiated settlement reached in 2001 during the re-licensing of Rock Creek/Cresta License # 1962. It required that “reasonable” attempts would be made to meet the proposed water temperature (max 20 degrees Celsius) in the Feather River.

Project 2105
Project 2105 Website

A number of excellent resources are available if you wish to learn more about the thermal curtains, cold water issues and the Project 2105 process through the years. An excellent website, maintained by Bob Lambert, is Another website, maintained by Wendi Durkin of Save Lake Almanor, is I urge you to visit these websites; they contain tremendous historical data and documentation and they will be updated as new information becomes available. Of course, I will be posting information on my website ( as well. For reference: Issues_Project 2105.

Our local population has changed dramatically over the years since the start of this re-licensing process. Many are not familiar with the potential impacts of removal of our limited cold water pool, the thermal curtain, etc. We only have until 26 March 15 to submit comments on the DEIR – Now is the time to get educated and take action!

Tampering with very sensitive ecological systems, given the uproar over climate change and the panic precipitated by drought, does not make sense!

TIME LINE FOR 2105 Re-licensing

2002 – PG&E files application for Federal Energy Regulatory Commission license

2004 – PG&E old license expires – now operating under year to year extensions

2004 – Settlement Agreement reached, signed by stakeholders, not signed by SWRCB

2005 – FERC completes NEPA evaluation – recommends re-licensing

2005 – SWRCB begins EIR scoping

2006 – SWRCB scoping report issued

2006 – 2007 – SWRCB completes special studies reports

2007 – SWRCB releases EIR Level 1 & 2 reports with potential alternatives

2009 – SWRCB releases EIR Level 3 report narrowing proposed alternatives

Nov 2014 – SWRCB releases Draft Environmental Impact Report with recommended actions

Nov 26, 2014 – Comment period begins will all comments due 26 Mar 15



Our town hall meeting on 27 August 14 was well attended. Forest Service Travel Management (TMP) Subpart C, “Over the Snow Vehicles” (OSV) was the topic of the evening. This Subpart deals with access by OSV to National Forest lands.

Concerned citizens were given an opportunity meet with representatives from both the Lassen and Plumas National Forests. Lassen NF will be the first of five national forests to start the process of evaluating routes and access via OSV. They expect to start their public meetings sometime in October. This is the time, to get the word out to everyone interested in travel management on public lands. We need to engage now, to be certain our concerns and opinions are considered early in their planning process. You have influence; but, only if you engage with large numbers and many voices. If your voice is not heard early in the planning stages, it will be too late down the road; most likely you will be displeased with the result.

Many thanks to our two forest supervisors, David Hays, Lassen National Forest Supervisor, Earl Ford, Plumas National Forest Supervisor and to Kathleen Nelson, District Ranger, Almanor Ranger District, Michael Donald, District Ranger, Mt. Hough Ranger District and their staff for attending and participating.




CHRIS O’BRIEN, 257-2151




DAVID WOOD,   283-2050

All of the above contact phone numbers are within the 530 area code.

You do not have to wait for future meetings! You can and should contact the folks listed above with your concerns and comments, by phone and email.

We already have a graphic example of the route we don’t want to go in TMP Subpart B – Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) use of National Forest roads; nor does the Forest Service. The outcome of that process has resulted in law suits, including Plumas County. When that route is followed, even if you win, you lose.

At the town hall meeting, a lot of emphasis was placed on the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The reason the Forest Service has to redo their Subpart C plans is due to the fact they were sued over the perceived inadequacy of their prior NEPA work, albeit updated. NEPA is a very detailed process of public engagement/input and scientific evaluation of any proposed Federal project. I plan to write more about NEPA in a future blog. However, by viewing the YouTube video series of the Town Hall Meeting, you will have a very good understanding of NEPA through the presentations made by the Forest Service staff.

I have created a YouTube channel under Almanor Post. You will find the links, along with other information related to the issues on this website: Travel Management Plan Subpart C (OSV) . You can watch the entire meeting on TMR Subpart C, at your leisure. If you were unable to attend, or were there and want to review the discussions, please take this opportunity to view the video series. It is very informative!

Again, I would like to thank everyone who participated or attended. I will be posting additional information as it becomes available.


With the advent of texting, tweeting, facebooking and other social media, are Town Hall Meetings a thing of the past? I hope not! SinceTown Hall the very beginning of our country, the town hall meeting has provided a forum for citizens and their elected representatives to get to know each other, exchange ideas and share information.

I am planning to start holding Town Hall Meetings and it is my hope that you will find them of value and worth attending.

My first meeting will be on Wednesday, August 27 at 6:00 pm in the Almanor Recreation Center on Meadowbrook Loop, Chester.

The subject of this meeting is the National Forest Travel Management Plan (TMP) Subpart C. This Subpart deals with “over the snow vehicles” ( OSV – snowmobiles) and their use of National Forest trails. Both the Lassen and Plumas National Forests are in the very early stages of addressing Subpart C. Now is the time for us to become informed and engaged in their planning process. It is critically important that we are involved from the first stages of planning so that our concerns are included as they move through their processes.

Representatives from both the Lassen and Plumas National Forests are planning to participate in the meeting and will be available to answer questions and hear your concerns. There will be at least one of the two Forest Supervisors in attendance as well.

Please plan to join us!

For more information: Travel Management Plan – Subpart C


For a number of years the Water Quality Subcommittee of the Lake Almanor Watershed Group (LAWG), formerly known as the Almanor Basin Watershed Advisory Committee (ABWAC), has contracted for water quality testing at Lake Almanor. These efforts have been funded by contributions from our local homeowner associations and concerned residents. Recently we were successful in recruiting Scott McReynolds of the Department of Water Resources (DWR) to conduct this testing at no cost to our local community. The program has been significantly expanded, including a monitoring broad array of elements.

The DWR folks identified a need for water temperature data to correlate with the other data they will be gathering. This required a buoy to be placed in a deep water area of the lake. I am pleased to announce that the buoy is in place and ready to provide the location for DWR’S temperature monitoring “logger” string.

I have to say the buoy placement was a huge cooperative effort and I want to acknowledge those who played such a valuable part in it becoming a reality. First and foremost, the cooperation we received from PG&E was phenomenal. Joe Wilson & Scott Perkins managed to grant permission for placement and produced a permit in record time. The Plumas County Sheriff and his boat patrolman Rich Ross provided the means to locate the perfect spot via their boat, outfitted with depth & GPS gear. Aaron Seandal, Chair of the Water Quality Subcommittee, submitted the required permit information back to PG&E so that we could move forward with placement. Doug Maxfield of Big Valley Divers, Inc. made time in his busy schedule to acquire the buoy & related rigging, deploying it in position so that we could start accumulating the necessary data in conjunction with our other monitoring protocol. And, last but certainly not least, a huge THANK YOU goes to Jeff Greening who spearheaded and coordinated the entire effort!

Lake Almanor Projected Water Levels 2014
Lake Almanor Projected Water Levels 2014

It is great to see such a spirit of cooperation. As our lake levels rise and fall throughout the year (see the 2014 Projected Water Levels graphic), this information will give us a much clearer picture of water quality and temperature and how it impacts Lake Almanor. As Gary Freeman’s climatology data indicates, the character of the Almanor Basin and Feather River Watershed is changing. All of us, the residents of the Almanor Basin and PG&E, will benefit from this effort for many years to come. THANK YOU to everyone who made this possible!


Gary J. Freeman, Hydrologist, has been studying and tracking climatology and changes in the Upper Feather River Watershed for many years. He recently presented a paper at the annual Western Snow Conference and has made that information available to us.
He points out: “while warming along with an earlier snowmelt has been occurring throughout California, the relatively low mountain elevation, “rain shadowed” topography of the upper North Fork Feather River has been more sensitive to the effects of climate change compared with the remainder of the Sierra Range to the south. The changes are very specific to topography. Even within the entire North Fork Feather River watershed above Lake Oroville, the Hwy 70 Canyon sidewater inflow area near Rock Creek, Cresta and Bucks Creek power houses, including the Bucks Lake-Grizzly drainage show little change, while the “rain shadowed-mountain barrier blocked” Lake Almanor and East Branch of the North Fork Feather appear to be on the other end of the “change scale”.

Lake Almanor Natural Flow & Precipitation
Lake Almanor Natural Flow & Precipitation

Take a minute to enjoy his observations and some excellent slides showing our trends over a period of years. After all; we may be in a drought now but come winter, we may experience an abundance of moisture brought to us by El Nino.

Gary Freeman – 2014



Chapter 1 – SOME HISTORY

I am currently a member of the governing board of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC) , my second term, representing the North Central Subregion (there are 6 subregions in SNC).   The Conservancy, a California state agency created by the Legislature (AB2600) in 2004, has a mission “to initiate, encourage and support efforts that improve the environmental, economic and social well-being of the Sierra Nevada Region, its communities and the citizens of California.”  The SNC has an excellent website where you can view information on Board of Directors, Grants that have been awarded, meeting information, minutes and much more.

Funding for SNC’s programs comes from the California Environmental License Plate Fund and Proposition 84 (Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality and Supply, Flood Control, River and Coast Protection Bond Act) approved by California voters in 2006.  SNC was given $54 million of Prop 84 funds for grants and grant administration.  By March of last year it had awarded over $50 million to 296 projects throughout the Sierra Nevada.

It is the goal of SNC to support the Sierra Nevada region by funding local projects, providing technical help and supporting collaborative projects in partnership with local government, nonprofits and Tribal organizations.  Programs aim to accomplish the following:

Increased opportunity for tourism and recreation

Aid in the preservation of working landscapes

Reduce the risk of natural disasters, such as wildfire

Protect and improve water and air quality

Assist the economy

Enhance public use and enjoyment of public lands

Protect, conserve and restore the physical, cultural, archaeological, historical and living resources

Photo by: Katie Bagby
Photo by: Katie Bagby

For a number of years it seemed the Conservancy was funding mostly grants that placed land in trusts.  About 4 years ago, representatives of the North Central Subregion made a push for more funding of projects to promote good forest and watershed management practices.  SNC governing board agreed and recently, projects have focused on those goals.

This is the first in a series of blogs I will be writing about the Conservancy and its grant programs and focus areas of Healthy Forests and Abandoned Mine Lands. I see problems within that need to be addressed.

Stay tuned!