Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Project Nos. 2310 and 14531

Project Names: Upper Drum-Spaulding Hydroelectric Project, FERC 2310 and Lower Drum Hydroelectric Project, FERC 14531

Pinecrest Reservoir Spaulding Reservoir
(Image provided by State Water Board staff.)

Applicant: Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E)
County: Nevada, Placer
License Expiration Date: April 30, 2013
Water Quality Certification Status: Underway
Waterbodies: South Yuba River and Bear River
FERC Licensing Process:Integrated Licensing Process

Project Description:

The Drum-Spaulding Project (Project) is located on the South Yuba River and Bear River in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. The Project involves the transfer of water from the South Yuba River and the North Fork of the North Fork American River to the Bear River basin, and the transfer of water from the Bear River to the Sacramento River basin. Access to the Project is primarily via US Highway 80 between the cities of Auburn and Truckee, with a series of public, private, and United States Forest Service maintained paved and dirt roads.

On April 12, 2011, PG&E filed with FERC a license application proposing to relicense the Drum-Spaulding Hydroelectric Project for a new 30- to 50-year term. On February 12, 2012, PG&E filed an application with the State Water Resources Control Board for a water quality certification for the relicensing of Drum-Spaulding Hydroelectric Project. On May 31, 2013, PG&E filed a license application amendment that proposed to split the Drum-Spaulding Hydroelectric Project into three new licensed projects: Upper Drum-Spaulding Hydroelectric Project (FERC Project No. 2310), Lower Drum Hydroelectric Project (FERC Project No. 14531), and the Deer Creek Hydroelectric Project (FERC Project No. 14530). PG&E's most recent application for a water quality certification, dated February 4, 2020, did not include the Deer Creek Hydroelectric Project. PG&E and the Nevada Irrigation District (NID) filed a joint application to transfer the Deer Creek Hydroelectric Project facilities and license from PG&E to NID on January 22, 2019. On October 10, 2019, the California Public Utilities Commission approved the sale of Deer Creek Hydroelectric Project, which is awaiting FERC’s final approval. NID will be responsible for CEQA compliance for relicensing of, or other actions regarding, the Deer Creek Hydroelectric Project.

he Upper Drum-Spaulding Hydroelectric Project is located in Nevada and Placer Counties, California, and consists of 24 dams and reservoirs, 7 powerhouses, 4 overhead transmission lines, 1 diversion dam, and various water conduits, recreation facilities, and other associated facilities and structures. The Upper Drum-Spaulding Hydroelectric Project's dams are located on the South Yuba River, Bear River, Fordyce Creek, North Fork of the North Fork American River, and associated tributaries. PG&E proposes some modifications to existing project facilities, flow release modifications, and the retirement of Alta Powerhouse Unit 2.

The Lower Drum Hydroelectric Project facilities are located in Placer County, California, and consist of five dams and reservoirs, four powerhouses, and various water conduits, recreation facilities, and other associated facilities and structures. The Lower Drum Hydroelectric Project's dams are located on the Bear River, Dry Creek, Rock Creek, Auburn Ravine, Mormon Ravine, and associated tributaries. PG&E proposes changes to flow release operations at dams, rehabilitation or expansion of existing facilities, and maintenance for the Lower Drum Hydroelectric Project.

Other measures that have been included in the FLA are increased instream flows below dams and diversion structures, monitoring aquatic and terrestrial abundance and health in and around the Project, and additions or improvements to existing recreation features associated with the Project.

Coordination with Yuba-Bear Hydroelectric Project:
PG&E closely coordinates the operations of the Drum-Spaulding Project with Nevada Irrigation District’s Yuba-Bear Hydroelectric Project (FERC Project No. 2266). The two projects overlap in part in the Yuba River and Bear River basins. Many of the projects’ facilities are hydraulically interconnected, including facilities that are used to meet water supply demands in Nevada and Placer counties. Both projects have licenses that expired on April 30, 2013. FERC recognized the interrelated operations of the two projects and intends to prepare a multi-project environmental impact statement that will be used by FERC to determine whether, and under what conditions, to issue new hydropower licenses to each Project. Additionally, PG&E has requested that the term of its Project’s new license be the same as the license term for NID’s Yuba-Bear Hydroelectric Project, to continue to facilitate the coordination of operations and relicensing.

Related Documents

PG&E’s website for the Project contains more information and many document related to the relicensing.

CEQA for 401 Water Quality Certification

Water Quality Certification

Fordyce Lake Dam Seepage Mitigation Project: