Big Creek Nos. 2A, 8, and Eastwood Hydroelectric Project

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Project No. 67

Florence Lake on
South Fork San Joaquin River
Florence Lake on
South Fork San Joaquin River
(Photo courtesy of State Water Board staff)
(click to enlarge)

Applicant: Southern California Edison
County: Fresno and Madera
FERC License Expiration Date: February 28, 2009
Water Quality Certification Status: Draft Issued – August 13, 2018
Water Bodies: South Fork San Joaquin River, Mono Creek, Bear Creek, Hooper Creek, North Slide Creek, South Slide Creek, Tombstone Creek, Crater Creek, Camp 62 Creek, Bolsillo Creek, Chinquapin Creek, East Fork Camp 61 Creek, Big Creek Stevenson Creek, North Fork Stevenson Creek, and Balsam Creek.
FERC Licensing Processes: Alternative Licensing Process (ALP)

Project Description

The Big Creek No. 2A, 8, and Eastwood Hydroelectric 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 located on the South Fork San Joaquin River, Big Creek, Stevenson Creek, Balsam Creek, and most of the major streams tributary to the upper South Fork San Joaquin River. The Project occupies approximately 2,389 acres of the Sierra National Forest in Fresno and Madera Counties, which are administered by the United States Forest Service. The authorized generation capacity of the Project is 373.32 megawatts (MW). The individual Project facilities are described below.

Big Creek 2A and 8. The Big Creek 2A and 8 facilities were constructed between 1920 and 1929, and consist of three concrete dams on Stevenson Creek, Big Creek, and the South Fork San Joaquin River (Shaver Lake Dam, Dam 5, and Florence Lake Dam, respectively); two major reservoirs (Florence Lake and Shaver Lake); eleven smaller diversion structures; numerous conveyances including tunnels (e.g., Ward Tunnel), siphons (e.g., Mono Bear Siphon), and steel penstocks; two construction adits; and two powerhouses (Powerhouses No. 2A and No. 8) with a total of four generating units. Powerhouse 2A receives water from Shaver Lake and discharges to the Dam 5 impoundment on Big Creek. Powerhouse 8 uses water from the Dam 5 impoundment and discharges to the Dam 6 impoundment on the San Joaquin River.

Eastwood. The Eastwood facilities were constructed between 1983 and 1987, and consist of one dam on Balsam Creek, two water conveyances, a surge chamber, one powerhouse (Eastwood Powerhouse) containing one generating unit, a tailrace tunnel, and a transmission line. The Eastwood Powerhouse receives water from Balsam Meadows forebay, which is filled via the Huntington-Pitman-Shaver Conduit from Huntington Lake or through water pumped back from Shaver Lake. The Eastwood Powerhouse discharges to Shaver Lake. The Eastwood facilities may operate as a pumped storage project after the run-off period ends and SCE gains control of reservoir inflows.

SCE proposes to continue operation of the Project without major modification, but has collaborated with involved stakeholders and resource and regulatory agency staff throughout the relicensing process to develop a range of environmental protection, mitigation, and enhancement measures for the Project. These measures are described in the Big Creek Alternative Licensing Process (ALP) Hydroelectric Projects Settlement Agreement (Settlement Agreement), which establishes certain obligations for the protection, mitigation, and enhancement of environmental resources affected by the Project once a new hydropower license is issued by FERC. SCE has requested that FERC and the State Water Board incorporate some provisions of the Settlement Agreement into the new Project license and water quality certification.

Related Documents

Draft Water Quality Certification and Draft California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)

Notice of Opportunity for Public Comment on Draft Water Quality Certification for the Six Big Creek Hydroelectric Projects (FERC Project Nos. 67, 120, 2085, 2086, 2174, and 2175) - August 13, 2018

National Environmental Policy Act

Big Creek ALP Hydroelectric Projects Settlement Agreement