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Water Quality Certification Program

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Project No. 2017
Project Name: Big Creek No. 4 Hydroelectric Project

Big Creek
Dam No. 7 at
Redinger Lake

(Photo courtesy of State Water Board staff)
(click to enlarge)

Applicant: Southern California Edison (SCE)
County: Fresno and Madera
FERC License Expiration Date: December 4, 2039 (issued December 4, 2004)
Water Quality Certification Status: Issued (June 13. 2003)
Water Bodies: Upper San Joaquin River.
FERC Licensing Processes: Traditional Licensing Process (TLP)

Project Description
The Big Creek No. 4 Project (Project) is one of seven FERC-licensed projects that are part of a hydroelectric system owned and operated by Southern California Edison (SCE), and referred to collectively as the Big Creek Hydroelectric System. The Project is the lower-most project in the Big Creek Hydroelectric System, and is located on federal and privately owned land along the Upper San Joaquin River in Fresno and Madera Counties. Major Project facilities include a 248.5-foot-high dam (Dam 7) that impounds a 35,033 acre-foot reservoir (Redinger Reservoir); a 373- kilowatt (kW) fish water turbine installed in Dam 7 to generate power from water released for instream flow purposes; a combination penstock/pressure tunnel about 11,770 feet long with a design capacity of about 3,565 cubic feet per second (cfs); and the Big Creek No. 4 Powerhouse, which contains two turbines. The Project has an authorized generation capacity of 98.82 megawatts (MW).

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a new major hydropower license for the Project in December 2003, authorizing SCE to continue operation under the terms of the new license, which expires in December 2039. The water quality certification issued by the State Water Resources Control Board in June 2003 includes numerous environmental protection, enhancement, and mitigation measures developed during the relicensing process, including the following:

  • Development and implementation of a native aquatic species management plan for the protection and preservation of existing refuge for native transition zone fish, amphibians, and reptiles (Condition 13);
  • Development and implementation of an adaptive management plan for river flows that provides for whitewater boating releases, protection and enhancement of native fisheries, and monitoring to evaluate the condition of native aquatic species and their habitat (Condition 12); and
  • Development and implementation of a sediment management plan to reduce Project induced sediment delivery into the Horseshoe Bend reach of the San Joaquin River (Condition 14).

Related Documents

Water Quality Certification