Emissions, Hydroelectric, O&M

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. honored for care of North Fork Feather and Mokelumne Rivers


SAN FRANCISCO, April 10, 2003 — Pacific Gas and Electric Co. was recognized by the National Hydropower Association (NHA) for outstanding environmental stewardship of the Mokelumne River and the North Fork Feather River.

The company’s successful efforts to work with other river stakeholders and use a broad ecosystem approach to resource management are featured in the NHA’s fifth annual “Outstanding Stewardship of America’s Rivers” report.

“The 2003 Outstanding Stewardship of America’s Rivers winners exemplify the hydro industry’s success in balancing power generation with environmental stewardship and recreational enhancement,” said NHA president John Suloway. “Through their work, these stewards demonstrate continued management of renewable energy projects that provide power and non-power benefits to all river users,” he added.

In 2000, the company successfully completed two collaborative processes to better balance use of the natural resources associated with the company’s Mokelumne River Hydroelectric Project and the Rock Creek-Cresta Hydroelectric Project on the North Fork Feather River.

These processes, which included participation from multiple federal and state resource agencies, the local county, a utility district and numerous public interest groups, were the first time open, public collaboratives were successfully used in California to solve major hydro licensing issues.

They resulted in innovative and precedent- setting agreements that adopt an ecosystem approach toward resource management and directly led to the issuance of new federal licenses for the projects in 2001.

The agreements have already led to a return of more natural streamflows, improved aquatic habitats, increased fish passage, enhanced river recreation opportunities and established habitat protection, mitigation and enhancement funds for each river to ensure funding is available to support future opportunities for resource enhancement.

“The environmental stewardship of the Mokelumne River and the North Fork Feather River is a model of balancing our need for energy and recreation while improving ecosystem health and protecting the environment for future generations of Californians,” said Gordon R. Smith, president and chief executive officer of Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

“We are proud to share these awards with the federal and state resource agencies and public interest groups that helped develop the initial agreements and continue to participate in the ongoing stewardship of the river resources.”

The company’s environmental stewardship on the Mokelumne River includes many innovations, such as:

• Developed and implemented a streamflow regime that mimics the natural seasonal variation in Sierra streamflows to improve aquatic habitat.

• Implemented modifications to the Electra Afterbay dam to ensure that kokanee salmon can pass upstream during the spawning season. This restores spawning access to an additional 10 miles of the North Fork Mokelumne River, up to the first natural barrier.

• Expanded whitewater boating opportunities in both the upper and lower reaches of the river. The timing and schedule of river flows are posted on an Internet site and available through a toll-free number to assure boaters can take full advantage of the opportunity.

• Established a standing Ecological Resources Committee made up of resource agencies and public interest groups to ensure the interests of all stakeholders are represented on a continuing basis. This committee, built on the trust created through the relicensing process, assures the continued beneficial use of the Mokelumne River in balance with sound environmental stewardship.

• To compliment the many environmental enhancements already implemented, the company established a $1.5 million Protection, Mitigation and Enhancement Fund to ensure funding is available to support future opportunities for resource enhancement. The Ecological Resources Committee will make funding decisions. The company’s environmental stewardship on the Rock Creek-Cresta Project on the North Fork Feather River includes innovations, such as:

• Significantly enhanced conditions for aquatic life by adopting an ecosystem approach to resource management that includes new streamflow regimes to balance sediment transport and channel bed material mobilization and distribution, which contribute to diverse aquatic and riparian habitat.

• Construction of several trout spawning habitat measures to improve trout habitat.

• Implemented extensive, real-time water quality monitoring and established a method to secure improvements if necessary.

• Initiated riparian habitat protections and improvements by better managing cattle grazing. This included improved fencing and an extensive cattle rotation program.

• Increased river access and expanded whitewater boating opportunities on the river. The timing and schedule of river flows are posted on an Internet site and available through a toll-free number to assure boaters can take full advantage of the opportunity.

• Established a standing Ecological Resources Committee made up of resource agencies and public interest groups to ensure the interests of all stakeholders are represented on a continuing basis. This committee, built on the trust created through the relicensing process, assures the continued beneficial use of the North Fork Feather River in balance with sound environmental stewardship.

• To compliment the many environmental enhancements already implemented, the company established a $7 million Aquatic Habitat, Mitigation and Enhancement Fund to ensure funding is available to support future opportunities for resource enhancement. The Ecological Resources Committee will make funding decisions.

Organizations participating in one or both of the Collaboratives include Friends of the River, Natural Heritage Institute, American Whitewater, Foothill Conservancy, California Trout, California Outdoors, Chico Paddlers, Shasta Paddlers, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, Plumas County, U.S. Forest Service, California Department of Fish and Game, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, California State Water Resources Control Board, California Department of Boating and Waterways, East Bay Municipal Utilities District and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The Mokelumne River Project includes four powerhouses, nine reservoirs, and numerous flumes, tunnels and canals. The system has a capacity of more than 200 megawatts, generating more than 1,100 million kilowatt hours of electricity each year, enough electricity for nearly 200,000 northern and central Californian homes. This clean, renewable source of electricity produces no greenhouse gases and avoids 173,000 tons of carbon emissions annually.

The Rock Creek-Cresta Project on the North Fork Feather River includes two powerhouses and two reservoirs. The system has a capacity of 182 megawatts, generating more than 850 million kilowatt hours of electricity each year, enough electricity for approximately 150,000 northern and central California homes. This clean renewable source of electricity produces no greenhouse gases and avoids 156,000 tons of carbon emissions annually.

For more information about Pacific Gas and Electric Company, please visit the company’s web site at www.pge.com