Kilarc-Cow Creek Hydroelectric Project License Surrender

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Project No. 606

Kilarc Forebay
Kilarc Forebay
Photo provided by State Water Board staff
(click to enlarge)

Applicant: Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E)
County: Shasta
License Expiration Date: March 27, 2007
Water Quality Certification Status: Issued November 27, 2019
Waterbodies: Old Cow Creek and South Cow Creek
FERC Licensing Process: License Surrender


The Kilarc-Cow Creek Hydroelectric Project (Project) is located in Shasta County, California, about 30 miles east of the city of Redding, near the community of Whitmore. The Project consists of two developments located in the Cow Creek watershed, which drains into the Sacramento River. The Cow Creek watershed is comprised of two drainage areas: Old CowCreek (Kilarc Development); and South Cow Creek (Cow Creek Development).

Kilarc Development
The Kilarc Development operates as a run-of-river facility, which uses the natural flow and elevation drop of Old Cow Creek to generate electricity. The Old Cow Creek watershed encompasses about 80 square miles, including 25 square miles located upstream of the Kilarc diversion dam. Average yearly runoff at the dam is 48,900 acre-feet (af), about 55 percent of which is diverted to the Kilarc powerhouse. Water is supplied to the Kilarc powerhouse from the Kilarc forebay which is fed by the Kilarc main canal. Water is supplied to the Kilarc main canal from various sources, via canals and siphons, including: Old Cow Creek, South Canyon Creek and North Canyon Creek.

Old Cow Creek above Diversion Dam
Old Cow Creek above Diversion Dam
Photo provided by State Water Board staff.
(click to enlarge)

Cow Creek Develoment
The Cow Creek Development operates as a run-of-river facility. The South Cow Creek watershed encompasses about 78 square miles, including 53 square miles located upstream of the south Cow Creek diversion dam. Average annual runoff at the dam is 79,500 af, about 37 percent of which is diverted to the Cow Creek powerhouse. Water is supplied to the Cow Creek powerhouse from the south Cow Creek main canal. Water is supplied to the south Cow Creek main canal from Mill and South Cow Creeks.

PG&E's Proposed License Surrender

Pursuant to the Federal Power Act and FERC regulations, PG&E filed an application to surrender its license for the Project with FERC on March 12, 2009.  PG&E’s Proposed Action, as described in PG&E’s FERC license surrender application, is to surrender the license for operation of the Project and to decommission and remove or modify several Project features, including: (1) remove diversion dams and allow for free passage of fish and sediment; (2) leave in place some diversion dam abutments and foundations to protect stream banks and provide grade control; (3) leave in place and secure powerhouse structures during decommissioning with an option for preservation of powerhouse structures for future reuse; (4) remove electric generators, turbines, and other equipment; (5) grade and fill forebays; and (6) in consultation with affected landowners, leave in place, breach, or fill canal segments and remove metal and wood flume structures. Additionally, PG&E proposes to retire access roads to the Project where possible. Under PG&E’s proposal, the removal of the Project facilities would take three years, followed by at least two years of maintenance and monitoring of the restoration work. PG&E’s License Surrender Application, along with other Project related documents, can be found at PG&E's Kilarc-Cow Creek Project website.

State Water Board staff has been involved throughout the FERC license surrender process, which began in 2003 and provided guidance for the license surrender memorandum of agreement and the license surrender application processes. The State Water Board is the lead agency for the development of California Environmental Quality Act documents for the Project, and is also the state agency responsible for issuing the water quality certification required by section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act.

Related Documents

Final Water Quality Certification – November 27, 2019

Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR):


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