US-based Avista Corp has submitted its Spokane river hydroelectric license applications to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and has singled out Post Falls dam for separate consideration.
The applications are for five existing structures on the Spokane river: Post Falls, Upper Falls, Monroe Street, Nine Mile and Long Lake.
By submitting the Post Falls application separately, Avista hopes to speed up the licensing of its other dams.
‘Post Falls presents complex issues that may take longer to resolve than those dealing with the rest of the project,’ said Bruce Howard, Avista’s Spokane river license manager. ‘Our goal is to resolve the issues for Post Falls and the downstream dams as quickly as possible.’
Avista’s current license for the Spokane river project expires 1 August 2007; if granted, a new license would have a term of 30 to 50 years.
Avista has proposed a number of measures intended to address impacts of the dams and enhance resources associated with the river. These measures reflect a three-year collaborative process involving hundreds of area stakeholders. This pre-filing consultation was conducted through the Alternative Licensing Process, approved for this project by FERC in June 2002.
According to Avista, some examples of the proposed measures would:
• Support enhancements of fishery resources in Coeur d’Alene lake, the Spokane river, and Lake Spokane.
• Double the required minimum discharge from Post Falls dam in order to protect fish in the Spokane river and support water quality improvements downstream, while supporting the Coeur d’Alene lake level for summer recreation.
• Enhance recreational opportunities from Coeur d’Alene lake to Lake Spokane.
• Support water quality improvement efforts in the Spokane river, Lake Spokane and Coeur d’Alene lake.
• Enhance the natural beauty of the river and falls in Spokane and Post Falls through aesthetic flows.
FERC will now begin a review process that includes opportunities for additional consultation and public input. In addition to its own review, FERC will seek proposed terms and conditions from resource agencies and tribes. Some of these conditions may be mandatory for FERC’s inclusion in any new license.