Lockhart Power Company, Inc.; Notice of Availability of Draft Environmental Assessment, 76903-76968 [2013-30183]

Download as PDF Vol. 78 Thursday, No. 244 December 19, 2013 Part II Department of Energy tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Lockhart Power Company, Inc.; Notice of Availability of Draft Environmental Assessment; Notice VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4717 Sfmt 4717 E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 76904 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Project No. 13590–001] Lockhart Power Company, Inc.; Notice of Availability of Draft Environmental Assessment tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (Commission or FERC) regulations, 18 CFR part 380, the Office of Energy Projects has reviewed Lockhart Power Company, Inc.’s application for license for the Riverdale Hydroelectric Project (FERC Project No. 13590–001), located on the Enoree River, near the town of Enoree, in Spartanburg and Laurens Counties, South Carolina. The project does not occupy federal lands. Staff prepared a draft environmental assessment (DEA), which analyzes the potential environmental effects of licensing the project, and concludes that licensing the project, with appropriate environmental protective measures, would not constitute a major federal action that would significantly affect the quality of the human environment. A copy of the DEA is available for review at the Commission in the Public Reference Room or may be viewed on the Commission’s Web site at http:// www.ferc.gov using the ‘‘eLibrary’’ link. Enter the docket number excluding the last three digits in the docket number field to access the document. For assistance, contact FERC Online Support at FERCOnlineSupport@ ferc.gov, at (866)208–3676 (toll free), or, 202–502–8659 (TTY). You may also register online at http:// www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/ esubscription.asp to be notified via email of new filings and issuances related to this or other pending projects. For assistance, contact FERC Online Support. Any comments should be filed within 45 days from the date of this notice. The Commission strongly encourages electronic filing. Please file comments using the Commission’s eFiling system at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/ efiling.asp. Commenters can submit brief comments up to 6,000 characters, without prior registration, using the eComment system at http:// www.ferc.gov/dcos-filing/ ecomment.asp. You must include your name and contact information at the end of your comments. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support. In lieu of electronic filing, please send a paper copy to: Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426. The first page of any filing should include docket number P–13590–001. For further information, contact Sarah Salazar by phone at 202–502–6863, or by email at sarah.salazar@ferc.gov. Dated: December 12, 2013. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary. Draft Environmental Assessment for Hydropower License Riverdale Hydroelectric Project, FERC Project No. 13590–001, South Carolina Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Office of Energy Projects, Division of Hydropower Licensing, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426 December 2013 Table of Contents LIST OF FIGURES .................................................................................................................................................................................... LIST OF TABLES ..................................................................................................................................................................................... ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS ..................................................................................................................................................... EXECUTIVE SUMMARY .......................................................................................................................................................................... 1.0 INTRODUCTION .............................................................................................................................................................................. 1.1 APPLICATION .......................................................................................................................................................................... 1.2 PURPOSE OF ACTION AND NEED FOR POWER ................................................................................................................. 1.2.1 Purpose of Action ........................................................................................................................................................... 1.2.2 Need for Power ............................................................................................................................................................... 1.3 STATUTORY AND REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS ........................................................................................................... 1.3.1 Federal Power Act .......................................................................................................................................................... 1.3.2 Clean Water Act .............................................................................................................................................................. 1.3.3 Endangered Species Act ................................................................................................................................................. 1.3.4 Coastal Zone Management Act ...................................................................................................................................... 1.3.5 National Historic Preservation Act ................................................................................................................................ 1.4 PUBLIC REVIEW AND CONSULTATION ............................................................................................................................... 1.4.1 Scoping ............................................................................................................................................................................ 1.4.2 Interventions ................................................................................................................................................................... 1.4.3 Comments on the License Application ......................................................................................................................... 2.0 PROPOSED ACTION AND ALTERNATIVES ................................................................................................................................. 2.1 NO–ACTION ALTERNATIVE .................................................................................................................................................. 2.1.1 Existing Project Facilities ............................................................................................................................................... 2.1.2 Project Safety .................................................................................................................................................................. 2.1.3 Existing Project Operation and Environmental Measures ........................................................................................... 2.2 APPLICANT’S PROPOSAL ...................................................................................................................................................... 2.2.1 Proposed Project Facilities ............................................................................................................................................. 2.2.2 Proposed Project Operations .......................................................................................................................................... 2.2.3 Proposed Environmental Measures ............................................................................................................................... 2.3 STAFF ALTERNATIVE ............................................................................................................................................................ 2.4 ALTERNATIVES CONSIDERED BUT ELIMINATED FROM FURTHER ANALYSIS ........................................................... 2.4.1 Issuing a Non-power License ......................................................................................................................................... 2.4.2 Project Decommissioning ............................................................................................................................................... 3.0 ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYSIS ...................................................................................................................................................... 3.1 GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF THE RIVER BASIN ................................................................................................................. 3.2 SCOPE OF CUMULATIVE EFFECTS ANALYSIS .................................................................................................................. 3.2.1 Geographic Scope ........................................................................................................................................................... 3.2.2 Temporal Scope .............................................................................................................................................................. 3.3 PROPOSED ACTION AND ACTION ALTERNATIVES .......................................................................................................... 3.3.1 Geologic and Soil Resources .......................................................................................................................................... VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 iii iii v vii 1 1 1 1 3 4 5 6 6 6 7 8 8 8 9 10 10 10 11 11 11 11 12 13 14 16 16 17 18 18 19 19 19 20 20 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices 4.0 5.0 6.0 7.0 8.0 3.3.2 Aquatic Resources .......................................................................................................................................................... 3.3.3 Terrestrial Resources ...................................................................................................................................................... 3.3.4 Threatened and Endangered Species ............................................................................................................................ 3.3.5 Recreation and Land Use ............................................................................................................................................... 3.3.6 Cultural Resources .......................................................................................................................................................... 3.4 NO–ACTION ALTERNATIVE .................................................................................................................................................. DEVELOPMENTAL ANALYSIS ...................................................................................................................................................... 4.1 POWER AND DEVELOPMENTAL BENEFITS OF THE PROJECT ......................................................................................... 4.2 COMPARISON OF ALTERNATIVES ....................................................................................................................................... 4.2.1 No-action Alternative ..................................................................................................................................................... 4.2.2 Lockhart Power’s Proposal ............................................................................................................................................. 4.2.3 Staff Alternative .............................................................................................................................................................. 4.3 COST OF ENVIRONMENTAL MEASURES ............................................................................................................................ CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ............................................................................................................................... 5.1 COMPARISON OF ALTERNATIVES ....................................................................................................................................... 5.2 COMPREHENSIVE DEVELOPMENT AND RECOMMENDED ALTERNATIVE .................................................................... 5.3 UNAVOIDABLE ADVERSE EFFECTS ..................................................................................................................................... 5.4 FISH AND WILDLIFE AGENCY RECOMMENDATIONS ....................................................................................................... 5.5 CONSISTENCY WITH COMPREHENSIVE PLANS ................................................................................................................ FINDING OF NO SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ...................................................................................................................................... LITERATURE CITED ....................................................................................................................................................................... LIST OF PREPARERS ...................................................................................................................................................................... 76905 29 67 77 79 86 88 89 89 90 91 91 91 92 104 104 109 124 124 130 132 133 142 LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1. ....... Figure 2. ....... Figure 3. ....... Figure 4. ....... Location of the Riverdale Project ................................................................................................................................. Percent of time during each month that inflows to the Riverdale Project are greater than 170 cfs and less than or equal to 500 cfs (i.e. when peaking with drawdown operation can occur under Lockhart Power’s proposed operations), less than or equal to 170 cfs (i.e. flow below turbine minimum turbine capacity plus 50 cfs minimum flow), and > 500 cfs (i.e. flows greater than maximum turbine capacity plus 50 cfs minimum flow). Illustration of the front of the 2.25-inch headrace trashrack ..................................................................................... Illustration of the front of the 1-inch headrace trash rack ......................................................................................... 2 51 61 62 LIST OF TABLES Table 1. ........ Table 2. ........ Table 3. ........ Table 4. ........ Table 5. ........ Table 6. ........ Table Table Table Table Table 7. ........ 8. ........ 9. ........ 10. ...... 11. ...... Table 12. ...... Table 14. ...... Table 14. ...... Table 15. ...... Table 16. ...... Major statutory and regulatory requirements for the Riverdale Project .................................................................... Select characteristics of mapped soil units at the Riverdale Project ......................................................................... Synthesized monthly flow data (cfs) for the Riverdale Project from USGS gage No. 02160390 Enoree River at Woodruff, South Carolina. South Carolina water quality standards for freshwaters ............................................................................................ Fish species and number collected in the vicinity of the Riverdale Project during baseline sampling on June 10–11 and July 6–7, 2010. Spawning dates and habitat requirements for eight Conservation Species observed in the Riverdale bypassed reach. Flows through the bypassed reach at FERC licensed projects in the Broad River Basin, South Carolina ............. Minimum flow required for fish in streams identified by Tennant (1976) ............................................................... Calculation of intake cross-sectional area for the 2.25-inch and 1-inch trashracks ................................................. Burst swim speeds of four species found in the Riverdale impoundment ............................................................... Minimum fish total lengths susceptible to impingement at 1-inch and 2.25-inch trashracks, based on trashrack bar spacing and fish width-at-length relationship (i.e. width = a × total length b) alone and exclusive of burst swim speeds. Parameters for the economic analysis of the proposed Riverdale Project ................................................................. Summary of annual cost, power benefits, and annual net benefits of the alternatives for the Riverdale Project .. Cost of environmental mitigation and enhancement measures considered in assessing the environmental effects of refurbishing, operating, and maintaining the Riverdale Project. Comparison of Alternatives for the Riverdale Project ................................................................................................ Fish and wildlife agency recommendations for the Riverdale Project ...................................................................... tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 Acronyms and Abbreviations APE area of potential effects applicant Lockhart Power Company, Inc. BMPs Best Management Practices °C degrees Celsius certificate Water Quality Certificate cfs cubic feet per second Commission Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Conservation Species South Carolina Priority Species VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 Council Advisory Council on Historic Preservation Corps U.S. Army Corps of Engineers CWA Clean Water Act CZMA Coastal Zone Management Act DO dissolved oxygen DOI U.S. Department of the Interior EA environmental assessment EPA U.S. Environmental Protection Agency °F degrees Fahrenheit fps feet per second PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 4 21 30 31 35 39 46 49 63 64 64 90 90 93 104 125 FERC Federal Energy Regulatory Commission FPA Federal Power Act FWS U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service LIP low inflow protocol Lockhart Power Lockhart Power Company, Inc. MADF mean annual daily flow MW megawatt MWh megawatt-hour mg/L milligrams per liter E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 76906 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices msl mean sea level National Register National Register of Historic Places NEPA National Environmental Policy Act NERC North American Electric Reliability Council NHPA National Historic Preservation Act NMFS National Marine Fisheries Service NPDES National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System NRCS Natural Resource Conservation Service NGVD National Geodetic Vertical Datum PM&E measure protection, mitigation, and enhancement measure Riverdale LLC Riverdale Development Venture, LLC ROR run-of-river ROW rights-of-way SERC Southeastern Electric Reliability Council SCORP Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan SHPO State Historic Preservation Officer South Carolina DHEC South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control South Carolina DNR South Carolina Department of Natural Resources South Carolina DPRT South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism South Carolina EPPC South Carolina Exotic Pest Plant Council South Carolina WRC South Carolina Water Resources Commission THPO Tribal Historic Preservation Officer USGS U.S. Geological Survey Water District Woodruff-Roebuck Water District Water Plan South Carolina Water Plan Executive Summary tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 Proposed Action On August 31, 2010, Lockhart Power Company, Inc. (Lockhart Power or applicant), filed a license application for the Riverdale Hydroelectric Project (Riverdale Project or project) with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission or FERC). Lockhart Power proposes to repair existing facilities and return the project,1 which has been inoperable since 2001, to operation. The proposed 1.24-megawatt (MW) project is located on the Enoree River near the city of Enoree, in Spartanburg and Laurens Counties, South Carolina. The project does not occupy any federal lands. Project Description The Riverdale Project is located at river mile 52 of the 110-mile-long Enoree River in northwestern South Carolina. The proposed project would consist of the following: (1) An existing 425-foot-long, 12-foot-high concrete gravity dam with three evenly spaced, integral sand gates, and 2-foot-high 1 The project was originally licensed to Inman Mills as FERC No. 4362 on September 29, 1982. Inman Mills, 20 FERC ¶ 62,586 (1982). VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 flashboards; (2) an existing 6.6-acre impoundment with a gross storage of 22.0 acre-feet; (3) an existing 85-footlong, 50-foot-wide concrete headrace canal with an intake structure equipped with trash racks with 2.25-inch bar spacing; (4) an existing 9-foot-diameter, 340-foot-long steel penstock equipped with a second set of trash racks with bar spacing of about 10 inches; (5) an existing wood frame powerhouse containing one 1.24-MW capacity generating unit; (6) an existing 510-footlong tailrace; (7) an existing 700-footlong transmission line from the powerhouse to an existing Duke Energy distribution line; (8) an existing approximately 1,376-foot-long, 20-footwide paved access road; and (9) appurtenant facilities. Flow diverted to the powerhouse creates a 1,400-footlong bypassed reach downstream from the dam. Since the project became in-operable 12 years ago, all flows have passed over the dam and into the 1,400-foot-long bypassed reach. The 2-foot-high flashboards were partially damaged during high flow events in 2012 and 2013. Proposed Facilities Because Lockhart Power is not the current licensee or current owner of the project and has not had full access to the project, it plans to spend the first year following license issuance assessing the condition of project facilities and finalizing any engineering design needed to refurbish the project. To make the project operational, Lockhart Power expects it would, at a minimum need to: (1) Repair or replace the sand gates and gate operators; (2) repair or replace the 2-foot flashboards on the dam; (3) replace a 193-foot-long above ground section of the penstock; (4) modify the bar spacing on the penstock trashrack from 10 to 5 inches; (5) refurbish the turbine generator; (6) repair the plant controls and governor; (7) repair the powerhouse roof; and (8) dredge sediment and debris from the tailrace. Lockhart Power would operate the project using a combination of run-ofriver (ROR) and peaking modes. Lockhart Power would typically operate the project in a ROR mode, with project outflow approximately equaling project inflow, such that the impoundment surface elevation stays within 1 foot (+/¥10 percent) of the top of the flashboards. When inflows are insufficient to operate the turbine at its maximum hydraulic capacity i.e. of 450 cubic feet per second (cfs) and provide a continuous minimum flow of 50 cfs to the bypassed reach (i.e. when inflow is PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 less than 500 cfs), Lockhart Power would operate the project in a ‘‘peaking’’ mode. Peaking events would occur no more than once daily, until either the daily period of increased need for power ends or until the impoundment surface elevation is drawn down a maximum of 4 feet (+/¥10 percent) below the top of the flashboards. Following each peaking event, Lockhart Power would suspend operation and store inflow, minus the minimum flow to the bypassed reach, to refill the impoundment (likely overnight) to its normal elevation of within 1 foot (+/¥10 percent) of the top of the flashboards, allowing it to return to ROR mode until the next peaking event. Lockhart Power expects that peaking operation would occur less than half of the days in any given year. Proposed Environmental Measures Lockhart Power proposes, once the project is operational, the following measures to protect or enhance environmental resources at the project: • Implement a sediment management plan that consists of using the existing sand gates to draw down the impoundment below the normal operating range for periodic inspections and maintenance and, if possible, avoiding drawdowns from March 15 through June 1 to prevent significant accumulation of sediments in the project impoundment and untimely releases of sediment downstream. • Monitor water quality as may be required by South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Council (South Carolina DHEC). • Maintain a minimum flow of 50 cfs in the bypassed reach and a total minimum continuous flow of 60 cfs, or inflow if less, in the Enoree River downstream from the confluence of the tailrace and the bypassed reach to protect aquatic habitat. The minimum flow in the bypassed reach would be provided through one or more of the three sand gates selected in consultation with South Carolina DNR, Interior, and NMFS, after repairs. Lockhart Power would develop a rating curve for the sand gates and verify it once every 6 years to ensure defined minimum flows are being provided. The remaining 10 cfs would be provided via leakage through the turbine. • When average daily inflows are less than or equal to 80 cfs (+/¥10 percent), release all inflow into the bypassed reach (i.e. low inflow protocol [LIP]) to protect aquatic resources downstream from Riverdale dam, including during the fish spawning season. • Implement best management practices (BMPs) to protect vegetation E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 within the project boundary, such as limiting vegetation and grounddisturbing activities and maintaining a minimum 25-foot-wide forested riparian buffer on project shorelines, as long as this does not interfere with Lockhart Power’s ability to perform projectrelated activities. • Construct and maintain: (1) A canoe take-out located approximately 220 feet upstream of the dam; (2) a canoe put-in located approximately 1,075 feet downstream from the dam; (3) a 1,650foot-long portage trail connecting the proposed canoe take-out and put-in; (4) a parking area located adjacent to the proposed portage trail; and (5) signage to improve public access at the project and to the Enoree River. • Provide informal public access for fishing at the project impoundment, tailrace, and bypassed reach. Alternatives Considered This draft environmental assessment (draft EA) considers the following alternatives: (1) Lockhart Power’s proposal; (2) Lockhart Power’s proposal with staff modifications (staff alternative); and (3) the no-action alternative, meaning that Lockhart Power would not refurbish the hydroelectric facilities and resume project operations. Under the staff alternative, the project would be operated and maintained as proposed by Lockhart Power with the modifications and additional measures described below. Our recommended modifications and additional environmental measures include, or are based on, recommendations made by federal and state resource agencies that have an interest in resources that may be affected by operation of the proposed project, as well as those identified by staff. The staff alternative includes the following additional measures and modifications to Lockhart Power’s proposal: • Develop and implement a sitespecific soil erosion and sediment control plan, which includes the BMPs described in the South Carolina DHEC’s Stormwater BMP Handbook, to minimize erosion and sedimentation during soil-disturbing activities associated with project construction and repairs. • Develop and implement a sediment management plan to (a) test impoundment sediments for heavy metals and other contaminants, prior to beginning in-water construction activities and initial operation to prevent the release of any toxic substances, and (b) annually monitor and manage sediment accumulation in VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 the impoundment to prevent the potential release of large quantities of sediment during maintenance activities. • Develop and implement a shoreline stabilization plan to identify and stabilize eroding shorelines to minimize potential shoreline erosion from impoundment and flow fluctuations during peaking operation. • Develop and implement a water quality monitoring plan to monitor dissolved oxygen (DO), temperature, and turbidity and implement corrective actions, if necessary, to protect aquatic resources located downstream of the dam. • Release a continuous minimum flow of 75 cfs into the bypassed reach to protect aquatic habitat. • Develop and implement a plan to determine the feasibility of using the sand gates as a mechanism for providing minimum flows to the bypassed reach and to evaluate methods to distribute minimum flows into the bypassed reach to protect aquatic habitat. • Develop and implement a low inflow protocol/drought contingency plan to define periods of extended drought and low inflow protocols to minimize adverse effects on generation, and fish, wildlife, and water quality in the bypassed reach and downstream from the tailrace. • Develop and implement an operation compliance monitoring plan to document impoundment fluctuations and minimum flow releases. • Develop and implement an invasive vegetation monitoring and control plan to prevent the spread of alligatorweed and other invasive non-native plants during project refurbishment, operation, and maintenance activities. • Determine whether the existing project transmission line is consistent with Avian Power Line Interaction Committee (APLIC) guidelines and identify measures to minimize potential electrocution hazards to birds, if needed. • Modify Lockhart Power’s proposed signage measures to include: (1) Identification of the canoe take-out and put in; (2) directions from the parking area to river access points; and (3) information regarding garbage disposal in order to improve public information available at the project and protect environmental resources. • Stop work and notify the South Carolina SHPO and the Catawba Indian Nation if any unknown archaeological resources are discovered as a result of project construction, operation, or project-related activities to avoid, lessen, or mitigate potential adverse effects on historic resources. PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 76907 Under the no-action alternative, the project would continue to be inoperable and no new environmental protection, mitigation, or enhancement measures would be implemented. Public Involvement and Areas of Concern Before filing its license application, Lockhart Power conducted a pre-filing consultation process under the traditional licensing process. The intent of the Commission’s prefiling process is to initiate public involvement early in the project planning process and to encourage citizens, governmental entities, tribes, and other interested parties to identify and resolve issues prior to an application being formally filed with the Commission. After the application was filed, we conducted scoping to determine what issues and alternatives should be addressed. A scoping document was distributed to interested parties on May 15, 2012. On July 13, 2012, we issued the Ready for Environmental analysis notice, requesting comments, recommendations, terms and conditions, and prescriptions. The primary issues associated with licensing the project include erosion and sediment control, sediment management, minimum flows to protect aquatic species and shoal habitat in the 1,400-foot-long bypassed reach, a low inflow protocol during extended droughts, invasive vegetation management, and recreation improvements. Staff Alternative Geology and Soils Refurbishing the hydropower facilities, dredging the tailrace, and constructing the recreation improvements would temporarily increase soil erosion. Implementing staff’s recommended site-specific soil erosion and sediment control plan would minimize adverse effects on aquatic and terrestrial resources. Project repairs and the initial operation of the project would likely result in a discharge of a large amount of sediment downstream that could contain heavy metals and other contaminants. Staff’s recommended testing of sediment for contaminants and developing a contingency plan, if needed, for removal and proper disposal of any contaminated sediment prior to beginning in-water construction activities and operation would prevent the unexpected release of any toxic substances and potential adverse effects on aquatic resources. E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 76908 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 Because the Enoree River is heavily sediment laden, regular management of sediment bed-load from the impoundment may be needed to maintain project operation. Developing and implementing staff’s recommended sediment management plan, which would include Lockhart Power’s proposal to avoid drawing down the impoundment below the normal operating range for periodic inspections and maintenance from March 15 through June 1, would minimize adverse effects of sediment releases and lower impoundment levels on fish spawning in and downstream from the impoundment. The plan would also ensure that sediment in the impoundment is regularly monitored and managed, preventing excessive sediment accumulation and ensuring that sediment management activities occur when they are least likely to cause adverse effects on downstream resources. Because of areas of highly erodible soils along the project shoreline, peaking operation could cause bank sloughing and erosion. Developing and implementing a shoreline stabilization plan and maintaining a 25-foot forested buffer around the impoundment as recommended by staff would help prevent bank erosion and loss of riparian habitat. Aquatic Resources In addition to the short-term increases in turbidity during project refurbishment, the diversion of flow for project operations would reduce flows in the bypassed reach, which could reduce DO levels and raise water temperatures in the bypassed reach. Monitoring water quality prior to the start of construction, during construction, and for 1 year after beginning operation as recommended by staff, would ensure that erosion control measures and minimum instream flows are adequately protecting water quality and allow for the timely identification of any needed corrective measures. Lockhart Power’s proposed minimum continuous flow of 60 cfs (16 percent of mean annual daily flow [MADF]) downstream from the tailrace and 50 cfs (13 percent of MADF) in the bypassed reach would not maintain aquatic resources in the bypassed reach. As defined by Tennant (1976),2 such flows provide ‘‘fair or degrading’’ conditions, and close to ‘‘poor or minimum’’ conditions during the dry and wet 2 The Tennant method establishes streamflow requirements on the basis of a percentage of the mean annual flow, and associates aquatic-habitat conditions with different percentages of mean annual flow. VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 seasons, respectively. Compared to Lockhart’s proposed flow, staff’s recommended year-round minimum flow of 75 cfs (20 percent of MADF) would better protect aquatic resources because this flow represents ‘‘good’’ conditions and close to ‘‘fair or degrading’’ conditions, as defined by Tennant (1996), during the dry and wet seasons, respectively. Using the sand gates to release the bypassed reach minimum flows as proposed by Lockhart Power may not be feasible because the sand gates are currently inoperable. Also, sand gates are generally not designed for such activities and may become blocked with debris, preventing the release of specified flows. Developing and implementing staff’s recommended minimum instream flow release plan would assess the feasibility of using the sand gates to release the minimum flows, identify which gate(s) best distribute flows across the bypassed reach, and identify alternative means to release minimum flows should using the gates prove impracticable. Developing a low inflow protocol/ drought contingency plan, as recommended by staff, would allow Lockhart Power and the resource agencies to adjust operation and minimum instream flow requirements as specified by the plan during periods of extended drought that minimize adverse effects on generation, and on fish, wildlife, and water quality in the bypassed reach and downstream from the tailrace. Staff’s recommended operation compliance monitoring plan would provide the Commission a mechanism to monitor compliance with Lockhart Power’s proposed limits on impoundment fluctuations, minimum instream flow releases, and low inflow operation protocols. Terrestrial Resources Limiting disturbances to soil and vegetation and maintaining a minimum 25-foot-wide forested riparian buffer along project shorelines, as proposed by Lockhart Power, would preserve existing vegetation and habitat for wildlife. Staff’s recommended invasive plant management plan, would minimize the introduction or spread of non-native invasive vegetation within the project boundary, and would protect native plant communities and the fish and wildlife that depend on them. Implementing staff’s recommended avian protection plan would facilitate a determination on whether the project transmission lines pose a risk of avian injury or mortality due to electrocution PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 and identify mitigation measures, if needed. Recreation and Land Use Lockhart Power’s proposed canoe portage trail, put-in and take-out, parking, and directional signage at the project would enhance recreation amenities on a reach of the Enoree River designated for recreation use and future water trail development. Staff’s recommended signage requesting that visitors pack out their garbage would reduce the likelihood that recreation use at the project would negatively affect the surrounding environment. Continued project operation would not affect land use. Cultural Resources No historic properties were identified within the project’s area of potential effects. The South Carolina SHPO concurred that the proposed project would have no adverse effect on historic properties. Stopping work and notifying the South Carolina SHPO and Catawba Indian Nation if any unknown archaeological resources are discovered during project construction, operation, or other project-related activities, would allow Lockhart Power to define the appropriate treatments necessary to avoid, lessen, or mitigate for potential adverse effects from the inadvertent discovery. Conclusions Based on our analysis, we recommend licensing the project as proposed by Lockhart Power, with some staff modifications and additional measures. In section 4.2 of the EA, we compare the likely cost of alternative power for each of the three alternatives identified above. Under the no-action alternative, the project would not be rehabilitated as proposed; therefore, the project would not produce any electricity. Our analysis shows that during the first year of operating the project as proposed by the applicant, project power would cost $265,378, or $54.21/MWh more than the likely alternative cost of power. Under the staff alternative, project power would cost $297,487, or $68.07/MWh more than the likely alternative cost of power. We chose the staff alternative as the preferred alternative because: (1) The project would provide a dependable source of electrical energy for the region (4,370 MWh annually); (2) the 1.24 MW of electric energy capacity comes from a renewable resource that does not contribute to atmospheric pollution, including greenhouse gases; and (3) the recommended environmental measures proposed by Lockhart Power, as E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices modified by staff, would protect and enhance environmental resources affected by the project. The overall benefits of the staff alternative would be worth the cost of the proposed and recommended environmental measures. We conclude that issuing a new license for the project with the staffrecommended measures would not be a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. Environmental Assessment Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Office of Energy Projects, Division of Hydropower Licensing, Washington, DC Riverdale Hydroelectric Project, FERC Project No. 13590–001—South Carolina 1.0 Introduction 1.1 Application tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 On August 31, 2010, Lockhart Power Company, Inc. (Lockhart Power or applicant), filed a license application for the Riverdale Hydroelectric Project (Riverdale Project or project) with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 (Commission or FERC).3 The 1.24megawatt (MW) project is located on the Enoree River near Enoree, in Spartanburg and Laurens Counties, South Carolina (figure 1). The project does not occupy any federal lands. The project is currently inoperable, but as proposed by Lockhart Power, it would generate an average of about 4,895 megawatt-hours (MWh) of energy annually. 1.2 Purpose of Action and Need for Power 1.2.1 Purpose of Action The purpose of the Riverdale Project is to provide a source of hydroelectric 3 On September 29, 1982, the Riverdale Project was licensed to Inman Mills under FERC Project No. 4362. The project has not operated since January of 2001. Inman Mills’ license expired on August 31, 2012, and was subsequently issued an authorization for continued project operation until the Commission issues someone else a license for the project or otherwise orders disposition of the project. Inman Mills did not file a notice of intent to relicense the project. On November 29, 2007, the Commission issued a notice soliciting applications for subsequent license by August 31, 2010. Lockhart Power filed the only timely license application and is therefore the only license applicant for the Riverdale Project. PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 76909 power. Therefore, under the provisions of the Federal Power Act (FPA), the Commission must decide whether to issue a license to Lockhart Power for the Riverdale Project and what conditions should be placed on any license issued. In deciding whether to issue a license for a hydroelectric project, the Commission must determine that the project will be best adapted to a comprehensive plan for improving or developing a waterway. In addition to the power and developmental purposes for which licenses are issued (such as flood control, irrigation, or water supply), the Commission must give equal consideration to the purposes of: (1) Energy conservation; (2) the protection of, mitigation of damage to, and enhancement of fish and wildlife resources; (3) the protection of recreational opportunities; and (4) the preservation of other aspects of environmental quality. BILLING CODE 6717–01–P E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices BILLING CODE 6717–01–C VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Issuing a license for the Riverdale Project would allow Lockhart Power to Jkt 232001 PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 generate electricity for the term of a license, making electrical power from a E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 EN19DE13.003</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 76910 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices renewable resource available to the local utility Duke Energy, which would use it to serve its customers’ needs. This environmental assessment (EA) assesses the effects associated with refurbishment, operation, and maintenance of the project and alternatives to the proposed project. It also includes recommendations to the Commission on whether to issue a license, and if so, includes the recommended terms and conditions to become a part of any license issued. In this EA, we assess the environmental and economic effects of refurbishing and operating the project: (1) As proposed by the applicant; and (2) as proposed with our recommended measures. We also consider the effects of the no-action alternative. Important issues that are addressed include erosion and sediment control, sediment management, minimum flows to protect aquatic species and shoals habitat in the 1,400-foot-long bypassed reach, a low inflow protocol during extended droughts, invasive vegetation management, and recreation improvements. 1.2.2 Need for Power The Riverdale Project would provide hydroelectric generation to meet part of South Carolina’s power requirements, resource diversity, and capacity needs. With staff’s recommended measures, the project would have an installed capacity of 1.24 MW and would generate approximately 4,370 MWh per year. The North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) annually forecasts electrical supply and demand nationally and regionally for a 10-year period. The Riverdale Project is located in the VACAR sub-region 4 of the Southeastern Electric Reliability Council (SERC), which is one of eight regional reliability councils of NERC. According to NERC’s 2012 forecast, annual energy requirement for the 76911 VACAR sub-region is projected to grow at a compound annual rate of 1.11 percent, from 2012 through 2022 (NERC, 2012). The power from the Riverdale Project would help meet a need for power in the VACAR sub-region of the SERC in both the short- and long-term. The project provides low-cost power that may displace non-renewable, fossil-fired generation and contributes to a diversified generation mix. Displacing the operation of fossil-fueled facilities may avoid some power plant emissions and create an environmental benefit. 1.3 Statutory and Regulatory Requirements A license for the Riverdale Project is subject to numerous requirements under the Federal Power Act (FPA) and other applicable statutes. We summarize the major regulatory requirements in table 1 and describe them below. TABLE 1—MAJOR STATUTORY AND REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS FOR THE RIVERDALE PROJECT Requirement Agency Status Section 18 of the FPA (fishway prescriptions). U.S. Department of the Interior (Interior), National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). Interior, NMFS, and South Carolina Department of National Resources (South Carolina DNR). South Carolina DNR ........................... Interior and NMFS reserved authority to prescribe fishways on September 10, and September 11, 2012, respectively. Section 10(j) of the FPA ...................... Clean Water Act—Water quality certification (certification). Endangered Species Act (ESA) Consultation. Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). Coastal Zone (CZMA). National Historic (NHPA). 1.3.1 Management Act South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (South Carolina DHEC). Preservation Act South Carolina State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). Federal Power Act included in any license issued for the project. 1.3.1.1 Section 18 Fishway Prescriptions tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 Interior, South Carolina DNR, and NMFS provided section 10(j) recommendations on September 10, September 10, and September 11, 2012, respectively. Application for water quality certification received on October 4, 2012; withdrawn and reapplied on September 20, 2013; due by September 20, 2014. The project would not affect any listed species because none are known to occur in the project vicinity; therefore, further consultation under the ESA is not necessary. South Carolina DHEC indicated by letter filed September 30, 2010, that the project is not located within South Carolina’s coastal zone, that the proposed project poses no reasonably foreseeable effects on the coastal zone, and that no consistency certification is needed. By letter filed August 31, 2010, the South Carolina SHPO concurred with Lockhart Power’s determination that no historic properties would be affected by the project. Section 18 of the FPA states that the Commission is to require construction, operation, and maintenance by a licensee of such fishways as may be prescribed by the Secretaries of Commerce or the U.S. Department of the Interior. Interior and Commerce through NMFS, by letters filed on September 10 and 11, 2012, respectively, request that a reservation of authority to prescribe fishways under section 18 of the FPA be 1.3.1.2 Section 10(j) Recommendations Under section 10(j) of the FPA, each hydroelectric license issued by the Commission must include conditions based on recommendations provided by federal and state fish and wildlife agencies for the protection, mitigation, or enhancement of fish and wildlife resources affected by the project. The Commission is required to include these conditions unless it determines that they are inconsistent with the purposes and requirements of the FPA or other applicable law. Before rejecting or modifying an agency recommendation, the Commission is required to attempt to resolve any such inconsistency with the agency, giving due weight to the recommendations, expertise, and statutory responsibilities of such agency. Interior, South Carolina DNR, and NMFS timely filed on September 10, September 10, and September 11, 2012, respectively, recommendations under 10(j), as summarized in table 18 in section 5.4.1, Recommendations of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. In section 5.4, 4 The VACAR sub-region includes the states of Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 76912 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices we also discuss how we address the agency recommendations and comply with section 10(j). 1.3.2 Clean Water Act Under section 401 of the Clean Water Act (CWA), a license applicant must obtain certification from the appropriate state pollution control agency verifying compliance with the CWA. On October 3, 2012, Lockhart Power applied to the South Carolina DHEC for certification of the Riverdale Project. South Carolina DHEC received this request on October 4, 2012. On September 20, 2013, Lockhart Power withdrew and re-filed for certification, and on the same day South Carolina DHEC received this request. South Carolina DHEC has not yet acted on the request. The certification is due by September 20, 2014. 1.3.3 Endangered Species Act Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act requires federal agencies to ensure that their actions are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of endangered or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of the critical habitat of such species. There are no federally listed endangered or threatened species or critical habitat known to occur in the Riverdale Project vicinity. Therefore, licensing the project would not affect listed species and no further consultation under section 7 is needed. 1.3.4 Coastal Zone Management Act Under section 307(c)(3)(A) of the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA), 16 U.S.C. 1456(3)(A), the Commission cannot issue a license for a project within or affecting a state’s coastal zone unless the state CZMA agency concurs with the license applicant’s certification of consistency with the state’s CZMA program, or the agency’s concurrence is conclusively presumed by its failure to act within 180 days of its receipt of the applicant’s certification. The project is not located within the state-designated Coastal Management Zone, which extends to South Carolina’s eight coastal counties (Jasper, Beaufort, Colleton, Berkeley, Dorchester, Charleston, Georgetown, and Horry), and the project would not affect South Carolina’s coastal resources. Therefore, the project is not subject to South Carolina coastal zone program review and no consistency certification is needed for the action. By letter filed September 30, 2010,5 the South Carolina DHEC concurred. 1.3.5 Act National Historic Preservation Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) requires that every federal agency ‘‘take into account’’ how each of its undertakings could affect historic properties. Historic properties are districts, sites, buildings, structures, traditional cultural properties, and objects significant in American history, architecture, engineering, and culture that are eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places (National Register). Pursuant to section 106, the applicant consulted with the South Carolina SHPO and affected Indian tribes to locate, determine National Register eligibility, and assess potential adverse effects to historic properties associated with the project. By letter filed August 31, 2010,6 the South Carolina SHPO stated that it concurred with the applicant’s assessment that no properties listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register would be affected by the by the federal licensing action. Staff reaffirmed the South Carolina SHPO’s concurrence via teleconference on May 23, 2012.7 As a result of the findings made by Lockhart Power and the SHPO’s concurrence that no historic properties would be affected by the project, the drafting of a programmatic agreement to resolve adverse effects on historic properties will not be necessary. 1.4 Public Review and Consultation The Commission’s regulations (18 CFR, § 4.38) require that applicants consult with appropriate resource agencies, tribes, and other entities before filing an application for a license. This consultation is the first step in complying with the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, the ESA, the NHPA, and other federal statutes. Pre-filing consultation must be complete and documented according to the Commission’s regulations. 1.4.1 Scoping Before preparing this EA, we conducted scoping to determine what issues and alternatives should be addressed. A Scoping Document 1 was distributed to interested agencies and other stakeholders on December 22, 2011. It was noticed in the Federal Register on December 22, 2011. A Scoping Document 2 was issued on May 15, 2012. The following entities provided written comments on Scoping Document 1: Commenting entities Date filed Caitlin Totherow, Catawba Indian Nation Tribal Preservation Officer (THPO) .................................................................. South Carolina SHPO ......................................................................................................................................................... Woodruff-Roebuck Water District (Water District) .............................................................................................................. Greg Sveinsson, Riverdale Development Venture, LLC (Riverdale, LLC) ......................................................................... American Rivers .................................................................................................................................................................. South Carolina DNR ........................................................................................................................................................... FWS .................................................................................................................................................................................... NMFS .................................................................................................................................................................................. On May 7, 2012, the Commission issued a notice that Lockhart Power’s tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 1.4.2 Interventions January 18, 2012. January 20, 2012. February 9, 2012. February 15, 2012. February 16, 2012 February 21, 2012. February 21, 2012. March 6, 2012. application to license the Riverdale Project had been accepted for filing. This notice set July 6, 2012, as the deadline for filing protests and motions to intervene. In response to the notice, the following entities filed notices of intervention or motions to intervene (none opposed issuance of a license): 5 See letter dated September 13, 2010 from W. McGoldrick, Stormwater Permit Coordinator, South Carolina DHEC, Charleston, South Carolina, to S. Boring, Kleinschmidt Associates, Lexington, South Carolina. 6 See letter dated December 7, 2009 from C. Wilson, Review and Compliance Coordinator, South Carolina State Historic Preservation Office, Columbia, South Carolina to J. Seay, Jr., Lockhart Power Company, Lockhart, South Carolina. 7 See FERC. 2012a. Telephone Meeting Summary with the South Carolina State Historic Preservation Office for the Riverdale Hydroelectric Project No. 13590–001. Filed on May 24, 2012. VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 76913 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices Intervenors Date filed Woodruff-Roebuck Water District ....................................................................................................................................... American Rivers .................................................................................................................................................................. Interior ................................................................................................................................................................................. South Carolina DNR ........................................................................................................................................................... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (on behalf of NMFS) .......................................................................... 1.4.3 Comments on the License Application environmental analysis, and requested that comments, recommendations, terms and conditions, and prescriptions be The July 13, 2012 notice also stated that the application was ready for filed. The following entities commented: Commenting agencies and other entities Date filed Interior ................................................................................................................................................................................. South Carolina DNR ........................................................................................................................................................... NMFS .................................................................................................................................................................................. American Rivers .................................................................................................................................................................. The applicant, Lockhart Power, filed reply comments on October 24, 2012. 2.0 Proposed Action and Alternatives 2.1 No-Action Alternative We use existing conditions as the baseline environmental condition for comparison with other alternatives. Under the no-action alternative, the project would not be refurbished and operated, the dam and other facilities would remain in place, and all flows would remain in the Enoree River by passing over the spillway or through leaks in the sand gates. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 2.1.1 Existing Project Facilities The Riverdale Project would consist of an existing 425-foot-long, 12-foothigh concrete gravity dam with three evenly spaced, integral sand gates,8 and 2-foot-high flashboards that form a 6.6acre impoundment with a gross storage of 22.0 acre-feet. On the north end of the dam is an existing 85-foot-long, 50-footwide concrete headrace canal with an intake structure equipped with trash racks with 2.25-inch bar spacing. The canal feeds an existing 9-foot-diameter, 340-foot-long steel penstock,9 which is equipped with trash racks having bar spacing of about 10 inches. The penstock connects to an existing wood frame powerhouse building containing one 1.24–MW capacity generating unit. An existing 510-foot-long tailrace extends from the powerhouse to the Enoree River, and an existing 700-footlong transmission line extends from the powerhouse to an existing Duke Energy 8 Three low level sand gates are located within three concrete-framed piers along the spillway dam. 9 Staff used GIS software to estimate the length of the penstock. Current Exhibit F drawings only defined the below ground portion of the penstock as 110 feet long. VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 distribution line. An existing paved access road, approximately 1,376 feet long and 20 feet wide extends from Highway 221 to the project powerhouse. The project boundary includes about 25.9 acres. The project boundary encloses the project impoundment, the existing hydropower facilities, the bypassed reach (including the braided channels), tailrace, project access road, and the proposed canoe take-out, put-in, portage trail, and parking area. Riverdale, LLC currently owns approximately 2.5 acres of land within Lockhart Power’s proposed project boundary which encompasses the project powerhouse, intake structure, penstock, and tailrace. The Water District owns the majority of the remaining lands within the project boundary and retains an option to acquire the dam. Two other private individuals own the remaining parcels which are located on the south side of the impoundment. 2.1.2 Project Safety The project has been inoperable for more than 12 years under the existing license; nonetheless, during this time, Commission staff has conducted inspections focusing on the continued safety of the structures, identification of unauthorized modifications, efficiency and safety of operations, compliance with the terms of the license, and proper maintenance. As part of the licensing process, the Commission would evaluate the adequacy of the proposed project facilities. Special articles would be included in any license issued, as appropriate. Commission staff would continue to inspect the project both during and after construction to repair existing project facilities. Before the project is refurbished, engineers from the Commission’s Atlanta Regional PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 June 12, 2012. June 19, 2012. June 25, 2012. June 29, 2012. July 5, 2012. September September September September 10, 10, 11, 12, 2012. 2012. 2012. 2012. Office would review the designs, plans and specifications of the proposed repairs to equipment and structures. Inspections during project refurbishment would concentrate on adherence to Commission-approved plans and specifications, special license articles relating to construction, and accepted engineering practices and procedures. Operational inspections would focus on the continued safety of the structures, identification of unauthorized modifications, efficiency, and safety of operations, compliance with the terms of the license, and proper maintenance. 2.1.3 Existing Project Operation and Environmental Measures Inman Mills ceased operating the project (under FERC No. 4362) in 2001, when the adjacent textile mill closed. The 2-foot-high flashboards washed out during storm events in 2012 and 2013 and there is currently no practical way to control flows from Riverdale dam. The current owner demolished the original concrete and brick powerhouse and replaced it with a wood frame building. All flows pass over the dam and into the 1,400-foot-long bypassed reach. No environmental measures are currently being implemented at the project. 2.2 2.2.1 Applicant’s Proposal Proposed Project Facilities Lockhart Power proposes to use the existing hydropower facilities described above, and rehabilitate all equipment rendering the project inoperable. Because Lockhart Power is not the current licensee or current owner of the project and has not had full access to the project, it plans to spend the first year following license issuance E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 76914 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices assessing the condition of project facilities and finalizing any engineering design needed to refurbish the project. To make the project operational, Lockhart Power expects it would, at a minimum: (1) Repair or replace the sand gates and gate operators; (2) repair or replace the 2-foot flashboards on the dam; (3) replace a 193-foot above ground section of the penstock; (4) modify the bar spacing on the penstock trashrack from 10 to 5 inches; (5) refurbish the turbine generator; 10 (6) repair plant controls and governor; (7) repair the powerhouse roof; and (8) dredge the sediment and debris in the tailrace. There would be a total of 25.9 acres within the proposed project boundary, of which 11.3 acres are land and the remainder is occupied by waters of the impoundment, bypassed reach, and tailrace. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 2.2.2 Proposed Project Operations Lockhart Power would operate the project using a combination of run-ofriver (ROR) and peaking modes. The project would operate semiautomatically with an operator on standby. Lockhart Power would remotely monitor impoundment levels and control the water flow through the project’s turbine to maintain impoundment levels. The Riverdale impoundment would fluctuate between 1 and 4 feet of the top of the flashboards. Lockhart Power would typically operate the project in a ROR mode, with project outflow approximately equaling inflow, such that the impoundment surface elevation stays within 1 foot (+/¥10 percent) of the top of the flashboards. When inflows are insufficient to operate the turbine at its maximum hydraulic capacity of 450 cubic feet per second (cfs) and provide a continuous minimum flow of 50 cfs to the bypassed reach (i.e. when inflow is less than 500 cfs), Lockhart Power would operate the project in a ‘‘peaking’’ mode. Peaking events would occur no more than once daily, until either the daily period of increased need for power ends or until the impoundment surface elevation is drawn down a maximum of 4 feet (+/¥ 10 percent) below the top of the flashboards. Following each peaking event, Lockhart Power would suspend operation and store inflow, minus the 10 Lockhart Power anticipates that significant electrical, mechanical, and hydraulic system improvements and refurbishments will be necessary to restore the project to reliable long term operating condition. Certain improvements, such as turbine refurbishment, may improve the design efficiency of and thereby increase the rated capacity of the turbine-generator to a range of 1.2–1.45 MW. VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 minimum flow to the bypassed reach, to refill the impoundment (likely overnight) to its normal elevation of within 1 foot (+/¥ 10 percent) of the top of the flashboards, allowing it to return to ROR mode until the next peaking event. Lockhart Power expects that peaking operation would occur less than half of the days in any given year (Lockhart Power, 2011a). 2.2.3 Proposed Environmental Measures Lockhart Power proposes to construct and operate the project with the following environmental protection, mitigation, and enhancement (PM&E) measures: • Implement a sediment management plan that consists of using the sand gates to draw down the impoundment below the normal operating range for periodic inspections and maintenance and, if possible, avoid drawdowns from March 15 through June 1 to prevent significant accumulation of sediments in the project impoundment and untimely releases of sediment downstream. • Monitor water quality as may be required by the South Carolina DHEC. • Maintain a minimum flow of 50 cfs in the bypassed reach and a total minimum continuous flow of 60 cfs, or inflow if less, in the Enoree River downstream from the confluence of the tailrace and the bypassed reach to protect aquatic habitat. The minimum flow in the bypassed reach would be provided through one or more of the three sand gates selected in consultation with South Carolina DNR, Interior, and NMFS, after repairs. Lockhart Power would develop a rating curve for the sand gates and verify it once every 6 years to ensure defined minimum flows are being provided. • When average daily inflows are less than or equal to 80 cfs (+/¥ 10 percent), release all inflow into the bypassed reach (i.e. low inflow protocol [LIP]) to protect aquatic resources downstream from Riverdale dam, including during the fish spawning season. • Implement best management practices (BMPs) to protect vegetation within the project boundary, such as limiting vegetation and grounddisturbing activities and maintaining a minimum 25-foot-wide forested riparian buffer on project shorelines, as long as this does not interfere with Lockhart Power’s ability to perform projectrelated activities. • Construct and maintain: (1) A canoe take-out located approximately 220 feet upstream of the dam; (2) a canoe put-in located approximately 1,075 feet downstream from the dam; (3) a 1,650- PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 foot-long portage trail connecting the proposed canoe take-out and put-in; (4) a parking area located adjacent to the proposed portage trail; and (5) signage to improve public access at the project and to the Enoree River. • Provide informal public access for fishing at the project impoundment, tailrace, and bypassed reach. • Notify and consult with the South Carolina SHPO regarding any projectrelated construction or other grounddisturbing activities.11 2.3 Staff Alternative The staff alternative includes the following additional measures and modifications to Lockhart Power’s proposal: • Develop and implement a sitespecific soil erosion and sediment control plan, which includes the BMPs described in the South Carolina DHEC’s Stormwater BMP Handbook, to minimize erosion and sedimentation during soil-disturbing activities associated with project construction and repairs. • Develop and implement a sediment management plan that includes provisions to: (a) Test impoundment sediments for heavy metals and other contaminants prior to beginning inwater construction activities and initial operation; (b) prepare a contingency plan for proper disposal of any contaminated sediments should they be found in the impoundment; (c) monitor sediment accumulation in the impoundment annually to facilitate planning of sediment management activities; (d) develop criteria that would trigger sediment removal from the impoundment (i.e. by opening the sand gates, if appropriate, during high flow events, or via mechanical methods); (e) conduct sediment management activities during the months of November through January except during high rain events (e.g., tropical storms or hurricanes); (f) avoid maintenance activities that would draw down the impoundment below normal operating levels and potentially pass sediment into the bypassed reach from March 15 through June 1, if possible, to minimize adverse impacts to spawning fish; and (g) file annual reports with 11 Although Lockhart Power proposes this measure in its license application, we consider Lockhart Power’s consultation requirements under section 106 of the NHPA to be complete because of the SHPO’s finding that no properties listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register would be affected by the project (letter from C. Wilson, Review and Compliance Coordinator, South Carolina SHPO, Columbia, South Carolina to J. Seay, Jr., Lockhart Power, Lockhart, South Carolina, December 7 2009). Therefore no further analysis of this measure is necessary. E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices sediment monitoring results, sediment management activities, and an evaluation of the effectiveness of the plan in minimizing sediment accumulation in the impoundment. • Develop and implement a shoreline stabilization plan that includes provisions to: (a) Identify eroding or potential project-induced erosion sites on the impoundment shorelines and streambanks downstream from the dam and powerhouse prior to beginning operation; (b) stabilize areas of shoreline erosion using native vegetation, bioengineering, slope flattening, toe armoring with anchored logs, and/or riprap that incorporates native vegetation plantings; (c) monitor shorelines after resuming operation and implement stabilization measures if project-induced erosion occurs; (d) conduct shoreline stabilization activities from September through February to protect aquatic species and wildlife; and (e) file annual reports describing monitoring results and any implemented shoreline stabilization measures. • Develop and implement a water quality monitoring plan with provisions to: (a) Monitor dissolved oxygen (DO), temperature, and turbidity prior to the start of construction, during construction, and for 1 year after project operation begins to ensure the levels specified by the current state water quality standards are met and aquatic resources are protected; (b) define sampling methods, timing, and locations for monitoring these parameters in consultation with South Carolina DHEC, FWS, and NMFS; and (c) file a report that presents the monitoring data, describes any projectrelated effects and identifies corrective actions, if necessary. • Release a continuous minimum flow of 75 cfs into the bypassed reach to protect aquatic habitat. • Develop and implement a plan to release required minimum flows into the bypassed reach that includes: (a) A feasibility assessment for using the sand gates as a flow-release mechanism; (b) if found to be feasible, a flow study to determine how the sand gates would be used to distribute flow into the bypassed reach to protect aquatic habitat; (c) if the sand gates are not feasible, a description of how the minimum instream flows would be provided to the bypassed reach; (d) a report documenting the outcome of the feasibility assessment, flow study, and consultation with the agencies; and (e) an implementation schedule. • Develop and implement a low inflow protocol/drought contingency plan to define periods of extended VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 drought and the low inflow protocols to minimize adverse effects on generation, and on fish, wildlife, and water quality in the bypassed reach and downstream from the tailrace. • Develop and implement an operation compliance monitoring plan that includes: (a) A rating curve to provide the seasonally defined flows; (b) protocols to monitor and document compliance with required flows; (c) protocols to monitor and document impoundment fluctuations; and (d) an implementation schedule. • Develop and implement an invasive 12 vegetation monitoring and control plan that includes: (a) Survey methods to determine the extent of alligatorweed in the impoundment and riparian area prior to beginning refurbishment activities; (b) BMPs, as well as monitoring and control methods to prevent the spread of alligatorweed in the impoundment to areas downstream from the dam during project refurbishment; (c) monitoring protocols to detect the introduction or spread of other invasive plants within the project boundary during operation and maintenance; (d) criteria that would determine when control measures would be required; and (e) a schedule for filing monitoring reports and any recommended control measures with the Commission. • Determine whether the existing project transmission line is consistent with Avian Power Line Interaction Committee (APLIC) guidelines. Identify, in consultation with FWS, measures to minimize potential electrocution hazards to birds and file a report with the Commission describing the results of the evaluation and any measures recommended by FWS. • Modify the applicant’s proposal for signage at recreation sites to include: (1) Identification of the canoe take-out and put in; (2) directions from the parking area to river access points; and (3) information regarding garbage disposal in order to improve public information available at the project and protect environmental resources. • Stop work and notify the South Carolina SHPO and the Catawba Indian Nation if any unknown archaeological resources are discovered as a result of project construction, operation, or project-related activities to avoid, lessen, or mitigate potential adverse effects on historic resources. 12 For the purposes of this document, an ‘‘invasive species’’ is defined, consistent with Executive Order 13112, as a species that is: (1) Nonnative (or alien[/exotic]) to the ecosystem under consideration; and (2) whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health (USDA, 2012). PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 76915 2.4 Alternatives Considered but Eliminated From Further Analysis 2.4.1 Issuing a Non-Power License A non-power license is a temporary license that the Commission will terminate when it determines that another governmental agency will assume regulatory authority and supervision over the lands and facilities covered by the non-power license. At this point, no agency has suggested a willingness or ability to do so. No party has sought a non-power license and we have no basis for concluding that the project should no longer be used to produce power. Thus, we do not consider issuing a non-power license a realistic alternative to relicensing in this circumstance. 2.4.2 Project Decommissioning Project decommissioning could be accomplished with or without dam removal. Both Interior and American Rivers recommended that the Commission analyze project decommissioning with dam removal as an alternative in this EA. Because Lockhart Power neither owns nor operates the project under the existing license, the Commission cannot require Lockhart Power to remove the dam. Decommissioning the project would involve denial of Lockhart Power’s license application and then the surrender or termination of Inman Mills’ existing license with appropriate conditions under separate action by the Commission. Decommissioning with dam removal would remove the only barrier to fish movement in the Enoree River from its confluence with the Broad River to its headwaters, allow for natural sediment movement through the project area, eliminate the need to portage canoes around the project, remove lake recreation, and eliminate a potential source of renewable energy. However, as we explain herein, the project’s power would serve to meet regional energy needs. Further, a license can be conditioned to address adverse environmental effects of project operation such that project benefits can be retained with minimal effects on the environment. Considering there is a willing developer of the project, we see no reason not to develop the project power. Therefore, we do not consider project decommissioning with or without dam removal as a reasonable alternative to Lockhart Power’s proposal. 3.0 Environmental Analysis In this section, we present: (1) A general description of the project E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 76916 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices vicinity; (2) an explanation of the scope of our cumulative effects analysis; and (3) our analysis of the proposed action and other recommended environmental measures. Sections are organized by resource area. Under each resource area, historic and current conditions are first described. The existing condition is the baseline against which the environmental effects of the proposed action and alternatives are compared, including an assessment of the effects of proposed mitigation, protection, and enhancement measures, and any potential cumulative effects of the proposed action and alternatives.13 We present the estimated cost of the proposed and recommended measures in section 4.0, Developmental Analysis. Our conclusions and recommended measures are discussed in section 5.2, Comprehensive Development and Recommended Alternative. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 3.1 General Description of the River Basin Situated within the Piedmont Physiographic Region and encompassing approximately 731 square miles within the lower portion of the Broad River Basin, the Enoree River Basin spans portions of Greenville, Spartanburg, Union, and Newberry Counties in northwestern South Carolina. The Enoree River originates near the city of Travelers Rest and then flows 110 miles to its confluence with the Broad River. The Broad River flows into the Congaree, which merges with the Wateree to form the Santee River. The Santee River flows into the Atlantic Ocean. The Enoree River is the primary source of water for the project. Tributaries to the Enoree River include Beaverdam Creek 14 as well as Warrior and Duncan creeks. Approximately 29 miles upstream of the project, are the remains of the Pelham dam 15 and Pelham Mills, closed in the 1930’s. There are no other dams on the Enoree River upstream of, or downstream from, the Riverdale dam. The nearest dam is Parr Shoals dam (FERC Project No. 1984), located on the Broad River 65 miles downstream from the confluence of the Enoree and Broad rivers. The Enoree River has a variety of aquatic habitats, including seven shoal 13 Unless otherwise indicated, our information is taken from the license application for this project (Lockhart Power, 2010a) and Lockhart Power’s responses to the Commission staff’s additional information requests (Lockhart Power, 2011a; 2011b; 2012). 14 Beaverdam Creek enters the Enoree River approximately 0.5 mile upstream of the project. 15 There are no records of a hydroelectric license at the Pelham dam location (Federal Power Commission, 1970). VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 reaches and frequent long stretches of riffles and runs separated with short sections of glides and pools. The topography of the basin is generally moderate, varying from steep to rolling hills. Land uses in the basin and surrounding the Riverdale Project are primarily forest or agriculture with small developed areas near the headwaters of the Enoree River and along main roads in the project area. Climate in the Enoree River Basin is subtropical, marked by high summer humidity and moderate winters that rarely drop below freezing. The average annual temperature is 60 °F to 70 °F. Rainfall is high year-round, with an annual average of 40 to 60 inches, typically greatest during the summer. 3.2 Scope of Cumulative Effects Analysis According to the Council on Environmental Quality, a cumulative effect under NEPA is the impact on the environment which results from the incremental impact of the action when added to other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future actions regardless of what agency (federal or non-federal) or person undertakes such other actions 40 CFR 1508.7 (2013). Cumulative effects can result from individually minor but collectively significant actions taking place over a period of time, including hydropower and other land and water development activities. Based on our review of the license application, agency and public comments from scoping, and other filings related to the project, we have identified fisheries as a resource that could be cumulatively affected by the proposed project in combination with other actions such as sand mining operations in the Enoree River Basin. 3.2.1 Geographic Scope The geographic scope of the analysis defines the physical limits or boundaries of the proposed action’s effects on the resources. Because the proposed action would affect the resources differently, the geographic scope for each resource may vary. For fisheries, we identified the geographic scope to extend from the remains of the Pelham dam downstream to the mouth of the Broad River. 3.2.2 Temporal Scope The temporal scope of our cumulative effects analysis in the EA includes a discussion of past, present, and future actions and their effects on these resources. Based on the potential term of license, we will look 30 to 50 years into the future, concentrating on the PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 effect on the resources from reasonably foreseeable future actions. The historical discussion is limited, by necessity, to the amount of available information. We identify the present resource conditions based on the license application, agency comments, and comprehensive plans. 3.3 Proposed Action and Action Alternatives In this section, we discuss the effect of the project alternatives on environmental resources. For each resource, we first describe the affected environment, which is the existing condition and baseline against which we measure effects. We then discuss and analyze the site-specific environmental issues. Only the resources that would be affected, or about which comments have been received, are addressed in detail in this EA. We have not identified any substantive issues related to aesthetic resources or socioeconomics associated with the proposed action, and, therefore, these issues are not assessed in this EA. 3.3.1 Geologic and Soil Resources 3.3.1.1 Affected Environment The Enoree River is located within the greater Broad River Drainage Basin and flows through the geologic region known as the Piedmont. The Piedmont geologic region extends from the Blue Ridge region to the fall line, at Columbia, South Carolina, and consists of stream and river valleys and rolling hills with elevations ranging from 375 to over 1,000 feet mean sea level (msl).16 Bedrock in this region is dominated by granite which is found mostly below the surface, except at shoals within streams. The Enoree River passes through various geologic formations including the Six Mile Thrust Sheet, the Laurens Thrust Stack, and the Charlotte Terrane before entering the Broad River, approximately 52 miles downstream from the project. Surficial geological material within the project area and within the vicinity of the project consists of fluvial deposited sediments, as well as weathered felsic igneous and metamorphic rocks of the Piedmont uplands. Dominant soils within the project area and general vicinity of the project include the following series: Cartecay, Congaree, and Enoree (entisols); 17 and 16 Elevations in this document are based on the National Geodetic Vertical Datum 1929 (NGVD 29). 17 Entisols are mineral soils that typically occur in areas where the rate of erosion or deposition of soil parent materials exceeds the rate of soil horizon development (NRCS, 2012). E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices Cecil, Madison, and Pacolet (ultisols) 18 (NRCS, 2013a). In particular, the northern shoreline of the Riverdale impoundment is composed of CartecayToccoa complex, Pacolet sandy clay loam with 10 to 15 percent slopes, and Pacolet sandy loam with 25 to 40 percent slopes. The southern shoreline of the impoundment consists largely of Enoree soils. Downstream from the dam, 76917 bordering the bypassed reach, tailrace, and Enoree River are Madison & Pacolet soils with 15 to 40 percent slopes and wet, mixed alluvial land.19 Table 2 describes key features of these soils. TABLE 2—SELECT CHARACTERISTICS OF MAPPED SOIL UNITS AT THE RIVERDALE PROJECT [Source: Lockhart Power, 2010A] Soil type Slope Landform Flooding Drainage class Capacity to transmit water 1 Erodibility 2 Northern Shoreline Cartecay-Toccoa complex. Pacolet sandy clay loam. Pacolet sandy loam ..... 0–2 Floodplain ............. Occasional ............ High ...................... 0.24 Interfluves 3 ........... Somewhat poorly drained. Well drained ......... 15–25 None ..................... Mod. high to high 0.20 25–40 Interfluves 3 ........... Well drained ......... None ..................... Mod. high to high 0.20 Frequent ............... Mod. high to high 0.32 Frequent ............... High ...................... 0.32 None ..................... Mod. high to high 0.20 Southern Shoreline Enoree ......................... 0–2 Depressions/floodplain. Poorly drained ...... Downstream from Riverdale Dam Madison & Pacolet ....... 0–2 Floodplain ............. mixed alluvial land ....... 15–40 Interfluves 3 ........... Moderately well drained. Well drained ......... 1 Measured as Ksat, or saturated hydraulic capacity, as an indicator of seepage potential in the upper 60 inches. as the K factor, or the erodibility of soil and other surface substrates, taking into account soil texture, content (e.g., clay, silt, organic matter, minerals, rocks), and structure (NRCS, 2013b). Values range from 0.02 to 0.69. The higher the value, the more susceptible the soil is to sheet and rill erosion by water. Moderate range is about 0.20–0.40. 3 Upland landform located between two adjacent valleys containing streams. 2 Measured tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 The characteristics of dominant soil types along with active local mining operations likely contribute to the load of suspended solids in the Enoree River. According to the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), the majority of lands in the Enoree watershed, including those of the project, represent a resource concern due to erosion and are classified as ‘highly erodible lands.’ As shown in table 2, the soils bordering the project impoundment have a K factor that indicates moderate erodibility. In addition, there are several mine sites upstream of the Riverdale Project, including granite, vermiculite, and sand mines (South Carolina DHEC, 2013a; 2013b). During licensing studies conducted the summer of 2010,20 Lockhart Power collected qualitative data on substrate content and bank stability at the Riverdale Project.21 The substrates were dominated by silt and sand in the impoundment and at the confluence of the Enoree River and Two-Mile Creek. Boulders and bedrock occur immediately downstream from the dam. Clay, gravel, pebble, cobble, detritus, and mud were also found in the substrates within the project boundary. The study results indicated areas of stable shorelines and some areas with evidence of erosion and undercutting. The current extent of erosion is not known at this time, but the majority of the project shoreline is forested with portions armored by bedrock. Heavy metals and other contaminants from an industrial spill are known to occur in the Upper Enoree River watershed. In 1985, a galvanizing facility spilled 75,700 liters of hydrochloric acid, zinc, lead, barium, chromium, and other contaminants from a ruptured waste containment pond. The contaminants infiltrated the soil and seeped into the groundwater at the headwaters of the Enoree River near Travelers Rest, South Carolina. Also in 1985, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) removed contaminated materials from the waste containment ponds, from soil around the facility, as well as drums and other containers of stored hazardous materials, some of which appeared to have leaked (South Carolina DHEC, 2005). Studies conducted in 1999 and 2000 documented the residual adverse effects of these contaminants on salamanders, fish, dragonfly and damselfly larvae, and other aquatic species in the Enoree River (Worthen, et al., 2001; Worthen, 2002). While South Carolina DHEC determined that the surface water, sediment, soils, and groundwater adjacent to the facility pose no public health hazard,22 a South Carolina DHEC’s survey in October 2004 indicated that zinc concentrations in surface water and sediments were above ambient conditions and could negatively impact aquatic species at the headwaters of the Enoree River (South Carolina DHEC, 2005). The type and quantity of contaminants that may have 18 Ulitsols are highly weathered soils rich in clays and minerals commonly found in mesic forests in the Lower Broad River Basin (Andersen et al., 2001). 19 Alluvial land is an area such as a portion of a stream channel or floodplain where stream-born sediment has been deposited (Chernicoff and Ramesh, 1995). 20 The survey report for Carolina heelsplitter, a freshwater mussel species, provided qualitative information on substrate content and compactness, sand and gravel bars, woody debris, beaver activity, bank stability, riparian buffer width and vegetation types, land use, turbidity, and water level. 21 Survey locations included the impoundment and the Enoree River in the riffle habitat immediately upstream of the impoundment, Two- Mile Creek, the tailrace, the bypassed reach, and the Enoree River downstream from the project near a road (i.e. SC 49) crossing. 22 According to South Carolina DHEC, the levels of chemicals measured at the spill site do not pose a risk to people who may ingest or come in contact with water and sediment in the area; however, the threshold for adverse effects to aquatic organisms is much lower. VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 76918 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices been transported in the Enoree River and deposited within the sediments of the project impoundment since the 1985 industrial spill is unknown at this time. The Enoree watershed is transport limited, meaning that material, primarily eroding soils, collects at a faster rate than river flows can transport. In small impoundments such as the one at the project, sediments tend to collect seasonally or during low flow periods. This is exemplified by the large amount of fine sediments (e.g., sand, silt, and clay), tree trunks, branches, and other debris that have accumulated within the project impoundment, including in front of the intake structure and the dam spillway (FERC, 2012b; 2013). Some of the sediments and debris in these areas are covered by mats of alligatorweed and other vegetation (Lockhart Power, 2012). Turbidity and thick vegetation growing along the canal between the intake structure and the penstock limited visual inspection during recent project inspections (FERC, 2012b; 2013). The precise volume of sediment deposits in the impoundment and the canal are unknown at this time. 3.3.1.2 Environmental Effects tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 Construction-Related Effects At this time, Lockhart Power cannot define exactly what will be required to make the project operable. However, anticipated activities associated with replacing the approximately 193-footlong section of the penstock, dredging the tailrace, repairing the powerhouse, and constructing the canoe put-in, takeout, portage trail, and parking area would result in soil-disturbing activities that could cause erosion and sedimentation in the impoundment and Enoree River. Soil erosion and subsequent sedimentation of aquatic habitats can adversely affect fish and wildlife habitat and degrade water quality. To address the issue of erosion and sedimentation at the project, Lockhart Power would limit ground-disturbing activities whenever possible on lands acquired for project purposes. South Carolina DNR recommends Lockhart Power consult with state and federal agencies to implement construction and maintenance 23 BMPs described in the 23 Both Lockhart Power’s proposal and South Carolina DHEC’s recommendation appear to apply to all future ground-disturbing maintenance activities. While we are not opposed to such protective measures, we cannot analyze the effects of undefined, broad measures. Therefore, this EA only considers the effects of refurbishing the project and general operation and maintenance of the project. Any future modifications that result in ground-disturbing activities may require prior Commission approval. VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 South Carolina DHEC’s Stormwater BMP Handbook (South Carolina DHEC, 2005). Our Analysis Lockhart Power anticipates that construction and repairs of the hydroelectric facilities and installation of the proposed recreation facilities would be confined to about 2 acres. Ground-disturbing activities would occur predominantly within the footprint of the former textile mill, parking lots, and roadways, minimizing effects to undisturbed areas. Implementing standard industry BMPs for controlling erosion would ensure adverse effects are minor and temporary. Such BMPs could include the use of silt fences, sediment traps, stabilized construction entrances, and alternative techniques that may be approved after consultation with the South Carolina DHEC (South Carolina DHEC, 2013a; 2013b; 2005). Operation and Maintenance-Related Effects Heavy sediment loads in the Enoree River and years of in-operation have resulted in significant sediment deposits and the establishment of vegetation in the project impoundment. The exact amount of sediment deposit is unknown. Repairs to the sand gates prior to project operation would likely require lowering the impoundment which could release large quantities of sediments downstream. Any heavy metals and other contaminants that may have been deposited and covered by the sediment over the years could be suspended and released downstream. Resuming project operation and maintenance activities could affect several geomorphological processes and/or conditions such as stream bank and shoreline erosion, bed scour, and sediment accumulation within the impoundment, and sediment transport to downstream river reaches. Because of the heavy sediment loads and lower velocities in the impoundment, sediments would continue to accumulate in the impoundment during project operation. Periodic maintenance activities, such as inspections or repairs to the sand gates that would require lowering the project impoundment below the normal operating levels, could result in untimely flushing of sediments and the accidental releases of large quantities of sediment. During peaking operation, impoundment fluctuations of up to 4 feet could cause bank erosion and sedimentation in the impoundment. To prevent significant accumulation of sediments in the project PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 impoundment and untimely releases of sediment downstream, Lockhart Power proposes to implement a sediment management plan, which consists of the following: Lockhart Power would use the sand gates to draw down the impoundment below the normal operating range (i.e. for periodic inspections and maintenance purposes) and avoid drawdowns from March 15 through June 1. These measures are intended to minimize sediment releases that could affect fish spawning in the project impoundment and downstream areas. South Carolina DNR recommends that Lockhart Power develop and implement a sediment management plan with provisions to: (a) Monitor stream-borne sediment accumulations in the impoundment; (b) regularly flush sediments downstream or remove them from the impoundment; (c) prepare annual reports describing monitoring and management activities and evaluating the overall effectiveness of the plan; (d) conduct sediment management activities from November through January, if possible; and (e) consult with the South Carolina DHEC to address the potential presence of contaminated sediments in the impoundment. Interior also recommends Lockhart Power develop and implement its sediment management plan with guidelines for periodic inspections and maintenance drawdowns, as well as the following additional provisions: (a) Test impoundment sediment for heavy metals and other contaminants; (b) develop a schedule and criteria that would trigger sediment removal from the impoundment, by opening the sand gates, if appropriate, during high flow events, or via mechanical methods; (c) develop a method to monitor future sediment accumulation in the impoundment; and (d) conduct maintenance drawdowns in late fall and winter to avoid impacts to spawning fish upstream and downstream of the dam. To protect project shorelines from water level fluctuations associated with peaking operation, Interior recommends Lockhart Power develop and implement a shoreline stabilization plan. As part of the plan, Lockhart Power would be required to identify and address any existing areas of active erosion along the impoundment, as well as areas downstream from the dam with the potential for erosion due to project operation. Interior recommends that Lockhart Power use native vegetation and techniques such as bio-engineering, slope flattening, toe armoring with anchored logs, and/or riprap that E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices incorporates native vegetation plantings to stabilize shorelines subject to potential erosion. Our Analysis tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 Sediment Management Refurbishing the dam, sand gates, and intake structures, and beginning initial operation would likely result in the resuspension and subsequent transport of a large quantity of sediments downstream from the project. High loads of suspended solids [sediment] increase turbidity in riverine habitats leading to reduced light penetration, decreased primary productivity, which then can lead to adverse effects to the rest of the food chain. Sedimentation can modify the substrate surfaces and morphology of a stream channel, reducing habitat availability and smothering and killing aquatic flora and fauna (Wood and Armitage, 1997). If heavy metals and other contaminants are present in the impoundment, they could also be suspended and transported in the water column, harming fish and wildlife. Conducting an initial test for heavy metals and other contaminants in the impoundment sediments prior to beginning project operations, as recommended by Interior, would determine if such contaminants are in the project impoundment. The test results would also help Lockhart Power, the resource agencies, South Carolina DHEC, and the Commission to identify suitable methods for removing and disposing of any contaminated sediments, preventing the inadvertent re-suspension and release of contaminants. The information would also help to design appropriate methods for short- and long-term sediment management at the project. Avoiding impoundment draw downs between March 15 and June 1 to initially repair the sand gates and to conduct any maintenance once it is operational, would avoid adverse effects on spawning fish and reproductive success. Limiting any such maintenance actions to the late fall and winter, as recommended by Interior, would also protect a broad range of aquatic species, which undergo less critical life-cycle events during this time of year and are often dormant or less active. In addition, during the fall and winter there would likely be sufficient flows to keep any suspended sediment moving downstream instead of settling in the shoal habitat of the bypassed reach. Regular management of impoundment sediment loads would help prevent sediment buildup and the accidental release of large quantities of sediment VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 during scheduled and unscheduled maintenance activities that could have adverse effects on downstream resources. Such an event occurred in October of 2011 at the Neal Shoals Hydroelectric Project (FERC Project No. 2315) which is located on the Broad River about 16 miles upstream from the confluence with the Enoree River. About 112,841 cubic yards of sediment was released 24 during a reservoir drawdown associated with the replacement of four sand gates, installation of new trash racks on the sand gates, temporary installation and removal of a bulkhead in the sand gate opening, and the replacement of the controls for the sand gates and trash racks.25 The Commission was informed that the sediment release resulted in a fish kill and affected water quality in the Broad River.26 Analysis of the effects the sediment release on aquatic resources downstream from the Neal Shoals Project is ongoing.27 Developing a sediment management plan would facilitate detection and timely management of sedimentation at the project, which would protect aquatic and riparian resources at and near the project. The plan would be most effective if it includes regular monitoring of sediment loads, defines criteria for when sediment loads are reaching levels requiring flushing or removal, and establishes a schedule for flushing sediments or mechanically removing the sediments during periods when such releases would be least harmful to aquatic resources. Annual sediment management reports, as recommended by South Carolina DNR, would ensure continued stakeholder involvement in sediment management activities at the project and that sedimentation is managed effectively from year to year. Such report(s) would be most informative if they include sediment monitoring results, sediment management activities that were undertaken, and an evaluation of the effectiveness of the sediment management plan in minimizing 24 See letter from Michael C. Summer, General Manager, Fossil/Hydo Technical Services, South Carolina Electric and Gas Company (SCE&G), Cayce, South Carolina, filed on January 25, 2012. 25 See letter from Michael C. Summer, General Manager, Fossil/Hydo Technical Services, SCE&G, Cayce, South Carolina, to Charles D. Wagner, Regional Engineer, FERC, Atlanta Regional Office, Duluth, Georgia, filed on March 7, 2011. 26 See letter from Thomas J. LoVullo, Chief, Aquatic Resources Branch, FERC, Division of Hydropower Administration and Compliance to Michael C. Summer, General Manager, Fossil/Hydo Technical Services, SCE&G, Cayce, South Carolina, issued on November 14, 2011. 27 See letter from Michael C. Summer, General Manager, Fossil/Hydo Technical Services, SCE&G, Cayce, South Carolina, filed on August 8, 2013. PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 76919 adverse effects on downstream resources. Fluctuating Water Levels Resuming project operations, as Lockhart Power proposes, would result in impoundment fluctuations of up to 4 feet that could compromise the stability of soils along the project shorelines. The total length of the impoundment shoreline is about 2,394 feet.28 Since the shoreline contains areas of highly erodible soils, such fluctuations could cause physical weathering through saturation, subsequent drying, exposure to rainfall, runoff, and freeze/thaw conditions. These mechanisms can cause slumping of soils and fracturing of rocks on the shorelines. Bank slumping and erosion is likely to be greatest during the initial years of operation. Identifying and stabilizing areas of active erosion, as well as areas that exhibit the potential for erosion prior to commencing project operation would prevent and/or minimize potential shoreline erosion problems. Annually monitoring the banks for erosion and implementing corrective measures as needed would minimize future adverse effects of bank erosion on fish and wildlife habitat. Using native vegetation and techniques such as bio-engineering, slope flattening, toe armoring with anchored logs, and/or riprap that incorporates native vegetation plantings would effectively stabilize eroding shorelines and provide habitat for wildlife and aquatic species that use the riparian zone, littoral zone of the impoundment, and bank areas of stream reaches in the project area. Monitoring banks and shorelines after Lockhart Power resumes project operation as well as implementing stabilization techniques if erosion is observed, would address any areas of future shoreline erosion. Installing shoreline or bank stabilizers during the fall and winter (i.e. September through February), except under emergency situations, would help minimize potential disturbances to aquatic species and wildlife. As with the sediment management plan discussed above, annual reports documenting the results of monitoring and any shoreline stabilization activities would ensure continued stakeholder involvement in activities to minimize erosion and protect littoral, bank, and riparian areas within the project area over the term of any license issued for the project. 28 Staff used GIS software to estimate the length of the impoundment shoreline. The individual lengths of the northern and southern impoundment shorelines are 1,234 feet and 1,160 feet, respectively. E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 76920 3.3.2 3.3.2.1 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices Aquatic Resources Affected Environment Water Quantity The project impoundment has a surface area of 6.6 acres at the normal pool elevation of 512 feet above msl and a gross storage capacity of 22 acre-feet. The impoundment extends 0.25 mile upstream of the dam to a bedrock ledge about 225 feet downstream from the Highway 221 Bridge. The impoundment is about 250 to 300 feet wide, shallow, and includes mid-channel sandbars and large woody debris. All flows currently pass over the dam and flow into the project’s 1,400-foot-long bypassed reach. The impoundment drainage area is 280.5 square miles. The estimated mean annual daily flow (MADF) at the project is 374 cfs.29 The maximum peak flow for the period of record was approximately 52,200 cfs on August 27, 1995, as a result of Tropical Storm Jerry (table 3). As expected, the lowest flow periods occur during the summer and early fall (June–November). TABLE 3—SYNTHESIZED MONTHLY FLOW DATA (CFS) FOR THE RIVERDALE PROJECT FROM USGS GAGE NO. 02160390 ENOREE RIVER AT WOODRUFF, SOUTH CAROLINA [Source: Lockhart Power, 2010a; USGS, 2013, as modified by staff] Month Minimum January ........................ February ....................... March ........................... April .............................. May .............................. June ............................. July ............................... August .......................... September .................... October ........................ November ..................... December ..................... 90 Percent exceedance 153 156 191 164 127 62 53 38 44 59 73 101 75 Percent exceedance 180 193 247 218 160 107 92 68 71 87 98 149 Mean 252 267 298 258 188 140 122 90 98 115 131 188 Maximum 475 503 590 442 343 300 269 307 271 256 296 439 25 Percent exceedance 6938 5853 8204 4656 463 2915 6893 22600 7255 5311 4497 5198 10 Percent exceedance 492 521 586 498 359 341 263 283 276 272 301 475 828 803 895 709 557 544 489 467 414 406 512 748 Note: Period of Record is January 1, 1994 through December 31, 2012. The Woodruff gage is located about 6.7 miles upstream of the project and has a drainage area of about 249 square miles. Flows were pro-rated to the project using the formula 280.5/249. Water Use Public water supply is the primary surface water use of the Enoree River. The Enoree River serves as the water supply for Lauren and Spartanburg counties. The town of Whitmire and city of Clinton withdraw water from the Enoree River downstream from the project. There are no current water withdrawals occurring at the project. However, the Woodruff-Roebuck Water District, South Carolina anticipates future withdrawals of 5 million gallons per day or 7.74 cfs from the Riverdale impoundment to support probable increases in area water demands.30 Water Quality South Carolina DHEC designated the Enoree River waters at the project as freshwater, suitable for primary and secondary contact recreation, and as a source for drinking water supply after conventional treatment in accordance with the requirements of the South Carolina DHEC. State water quality standards that would be applicable for project discharge are described in table 4. TABLE 4—SOUTH CAROLINA WATER QUALITY STANDARDS FOR FRESHWATERS [Source: South Carolina Regulation 61–68—Water classifications and standards] Quality standards for freshwaters Items Standards a. Garbage, cinders, ashes, oils, sludge, or other refuse ........................ b. Dissolved oxygen ................................................................................. c. E. coli .................................................................................................... None allowed. Daily average not less than 5.0 mg/l with a low of 4.0 mg/1. Not to exceed a geometric mean of 126/100 ml based on at least four samples collected from a given sampling site over a 30 day period, nor shall a single sample maximum exceed 349/100 ml. Temperature of all freshwaters which are free flowing shall not be increased more than 5°F (2.8°C) above natural temperature conditions and shall not exceed a maximum of 90°F (32.2°C) as a result of the discharge of heated liquids unless a different site-specific temperature standard has been established, a mixing zone has been established, or a Section 316(a) determination under the Federal Clean Water Act has been completed. Not to exceed 50 NTUs provided existing uses are maintained. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 d. Temperature ......................................................................................... e. Turbidity (except for lakes) ................................................................... 29 This MADF is based on data collected during the following period of record: January 1, 1994 through December 31, 2012, as pro-rated from U.S. VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 Geological Survey (USGS) gage No. 02160390, located on the Enoree River near Woodruff, SC. 30 See letter from Curtis M. Dillard, PE, General Manager, Woodruff-Roebuck Water District, PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 Woodruff, South Carolina, filed on February 9, 2012. E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices In general, water quality of the Enoree River upstream of, and downstream from, the project fully supports aquatic life, but recreational uses are only partially supported because of high fecal coliform levels (South Carolina DHEC, 2007). South Carolina DHEC’s 2007 Water Quality Assessment identified 23 locations that are impaired in the Enoree River for fecal coliform bacteria. Sources of these water quality impairments include pastureland, cropland, and active point sources discharging fecal coliform bacteria (2007). South Carolina DHEC (2007, 2012) notes that aquatic life uses in Beaverdam Creek, a tributary immediately upstream of the Riverdale Project, are not supported based on macroinvertebrate community data due to excess copper. However, South Carolina DHEC (2007) documents some stream reaches in the Enoree River watershed with significant decreasing trends in turbidity, total phosphorus, total nitrogen, five-day biological oxygen demand, and fecal coliform, as well as increasing trends in DO concentrations which suggest that the water quality conditions are improving in portions of the Enoree River. Lockhart Power intended to collect temperature, DO, pH, conductivity, and turbidity data throughout the 2010 and 2011 sampling season. However, limited access to the project area permitted Lockhart Power to collect water quality data in the morning and evening of June 18 and 30, and August 2, 2010 in the following areas: One location upstream of the impoundment, two locations within the impoundment at a depth of 1.5- and 3-feet, one location each in the bypass reach, tailrace, and at the confluence of the Broad and Enoree Rivers. Lockhart Power also used USGS data collected at the Whitmire gage.31 Impoundment samples taken during the tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 31 The USGS Whitmire gage (USGS 02160700 Enoree River at Whitmire, SC) collects water quality parameters and was sampled as a point of reference. VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 evening on June 18, 2010, at both depths, fell below the minimum instantaneous standard for DO (4.0 mg/ L). All other samples collected by Lockhart Power met South Carolina’s state standards for DO, temperature, conductivity, and pH. Fishery Resources The 6.6-acre impoundment is mostly riverine in nature with substrates of silt, clay, sand, and/or detritus. Upstream of the dam, just below the HWY 221 Bridge, a small shelf composed of boulder and bedrock provides shoal habitat. Littoral habitat in the impoundment includes shallow banks composed of sand, mud and submerged aquatic vegetation. The riparian forest at the edge of the impoundment provides overhanging vegetation with occasional snags and roots. The tailrace is approximately 5 to 6 feet wide and 8 inches to 1 foot deep. The most prevalent substrate is sand, which covers bedrock, boulders and cobble. Root mats, aquatic vegetation, and a few logs are also present (Carnagey Biological Services, 2010). The Enoree River bypassed reach extends for approximately 1,400 feet downstream from the toe of the dam to the confluence with the project’s powerhouse tailrace. The bypassed reach is largely composed of habitat consistent with shoals in Piedmont streams of the Southeastern U.S. (Mulholland and Lenat, 1992). Shoals only comprise 2 percent of all habitats in the Enoree River (Lockhart Power, 2011b). The project bypassed reach, which contains 10 percent of the available shoals habitat in the Enoree River, includes a natural ledge, a braided portion, and a main channel. The natural ledge or fall stretches across the entire width of the river, approximately 15 to 20 feet below the dam. Downstream from the natural ledge, the main channel runs on the south side of the river, and flows over PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 76921 small and large boulders with aquatic vegetation dispersed throughout. The main channel provides a series of riffle, run and pool habitat types. The substrate in the main channel consists mostly of bedrock and sand, interspersed with some boulders, cobble and gravel. Logs, root mats, and aquatic vegetation are also present (Carnagey Biological Services, 2010). The north side of the bypassed reach is more complex and splits into three braided channels. The braided channels are approximately 6.5 to 19.5 feet wide and from 4 inches to greater than 2 feet deep, with a canopy cover of 45 percent. Substrate in this area is composed of boulders, cobble, gravel, sand, and some bedrock. Snags, root mats, leaf packs, and some aquatic vegetation provide other habitat (Carnagey Biological Services, 2010). To characterize the fish resources within the Riverdale Project area, Lockhart Power conducted a baseline fisheries survey on June 10–11 and July 6–7, 2010 (Lockhart Power, 2010a). Sampling was conducted at six stations: One station was in the impoundment, three stations were in the bypassed reach, and one station each was in the tailrace and the confluence of the tailrace with the Enoree River. During the baseline fisheries survey, 29 freshwater fish species were collected in the vicinity of the Riverdale Project (table 5). The highest number of species (20) occurred in the bypassed reach upstream of the braiding. Fewer species were collected in the main channel along the southern shoreline of the bypassed reach (13), the braided reach along the northern shoreline (11), and the Riverdale impoundment (12). The lowest number of species (6) was collected at the confluence of the Enoree River and the powerhouse tailrace, which is a relatively homogenous habitat composed mostly of woody debris and undercut banks. E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 VerDate Mar<15>2010 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 EN19DE13.004</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 76922 Macroinvertebrates Carnagey Biological Services (2010) conducted benthic macroinvertebrate surveys in the Riverdale Project vicinity on June 30, 2010. Collections of aquatic macroinvertebrates were made at six VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 sampling stations. Stations were located above the Riverdale Project impoundment (i.e. reference location, station 1), in the tailrace (station 2), upstream of the braided area in the bypassed reach (station 3), in the main PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 76923 channel of the bypassed reach (station 4), in the braided flow channel of the bypassed reach (station 5), and at the confluence of the tailrace and the Enoree River (station 6). A total of 1,807 organisms, comprising 81 distinct taxa, E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 EN19DE13.005</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices 76924 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices were collected. Station 4 had the most taxa and specimens collected, while station 6 had the fewest taxa and station 3 had the fewest specimens collected. The number of EPT taxa (i.e. insect orders Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, and Trichoptera) was highest (17 taxa) at the reference station, lowest at stations 3 (11 taxa) and 6 (12 taxa), while stations 2, 4, and 5 had 15 to 16 EPT taxa. Two indices were used to evaluate the quality of the environment for benthic macroinvertebrates. The North Carolina biotic index (NCBI) utilizes a pollution tolerance value developed over a wide range of conditions and pollution types to assess the amount of impact. The South Carolina DHEC bioclassification is determined by averaging scores for the NCBI and EPT index at each station. Based on NCBI, the environment at station 2 was ‘‘excellent’’ and all other stations were ‘‘good.’’ Based on the South Carolina DHEC bioclassification, the environment at station 2 was ‘‘good’’ and all others stations were ‘‘good-fair.’’ Freshwater Mussels Alderman Environmental Services conducted freshwater mussel and snail surveys July 6–8, 2010 (Lockhart Power, 2010a). Visual and tactile sampling occurred in five reaches. Reach 1 was upriver of the dam, reach 2 was in the tailrace, reach 3 was at the confluence of the tailrace and the Enoree River, reach 4 was in the vicinity of SC 49 crossing (∼ 4.75 miles downstream from project), and reach 5 was in the bypassed reach. Although there was no evidence of any mussels, six snail species were observed, including the panhandle pebblesnail, which was found in reaches 4 and 5. Special Status Aquatic Species Fish None of the species identified during the survey are state or federally listed as threatened or endangered. However, eight fish species collected in the survey are listed as Conservation Species: redeye bass, Santee chub, thicklip chub, greenfin shiner, flat bullhead, snail bullhead, Piedmont darter, and notchlip redhorse (table 5). Redeye bass is a Conservation Species of Highest Priority due to its restricted range, as well as competitive displacement and hybridization when found together with the introduced, non-native spotted bass (SCDNR, 2005). The species typically inhabits small to medium sized headwater streams within the Appalachian foothills of Gulf and Atlantic Slope drainages (Boschung and Mayden, 1999). It spawns in the spring (April–June; table 6) in headwater streams in gravel nests built in eddy waters at the heads of pools (Wallus and Simon, 2008). Outside of the spawning season, adult and juvenile redeye bass appear to prefer areas close to shorelines with heavy canopy cover (Knight, 2011). Redeye bass were observed in the impoundment, bypassed reach, and at the confluence of the tailrace and the Enoree River (table 5). The Santee chub is a Conservation Species of High Priority due to its limited distribution (South Carolina DNR, 2005). Within its distribution, the Santee chub is found in small- to medium-sized streams over gravel, sand, and rubble; however, it is most abundant in sand-bottomed runs of larger streams. The life-history of the Santee chub is not well understood (including spawning season), but is probably similar to the thicklip chub (table 6; Rohde et al., 2009). Santee chub were found in the bypassed reach, tailrace, and confluence during 2010 fish surveys (table 5). The piedmont darter is a Conservation Species of High Priority, largely because one-third of its global distribution is in South Carolina and many of its preferred habitats are at risk (South Carolina DNR, 2005). Piedmont darter occupy cool to warm moderate-sized streams and rivers, but are usually found in riffles with gravel and rock substrate (Rohde et al., 2009). Little else is known about the life-history of this species, but it likely spawns in mid- to late-spring (table 6; Jenkins and Burkhead, 1993). Piedmont darter was found in all sections of the bypassed reach during 2010 fish surveys (table 5). The thicklip chub is a Conservation Species of Moderate Priority because it occurs only in the Carolinas and Georgia and only within a few drainages. About one-half of the global distribution of the species is in South Carolina (South Carolina DNR, 2005). It is primarily found in warmer, clear to turbid streams and rivers of the Piedmont. Adults occupy runs and riffles over sand and gravel, as well as sites characterized by rubble, boulder and bedrock (Jenkins and Burkhead, 1993). Thicklip chub spawning biology is not well understood, but likely occurs from midMay to late August (table 6; Jenkins and Burkhead, 1993). Thicklip chub was found in the bypassed reach, upstream of channel braiding during 2010 fish surveys (table 5). TABLE 6—SPAWNING DATES AND HABITAT REQUIREMENTS FOR EIGHT CONSERVATION SPECIES OBSERVED IN THE RIVERDALE BYPASSED REACH [South Carolina DNR, 2005] Common name Spawning dates Species Habitat Use tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 Range Micropterus coosae. Cyprinella zanema. Cyprinella labrosa. Cyprinella chloristia. Ameiurus platycephalus. Ameriurus brunneus. Percina crassa VerDate Mar<15>2010 Literature source Range Literature source Category Redeye Bass .. April–June ..................... Santee Chub .. information not available Mettee et al. (1996) Wallus and Simon (2008). none ........................................ Freeman and Marcinek (2006) Rohde et al. (2009) Rohde et al. (2009) Thicklip Chub possibly mid-May—late August. information not available Jenkins and Burkhead (1993) June-July (impoundment population). May—early June ........... Olmsted and Cloutman (1979) fluvial 1 specialist. fluvial specialist. fluvial specialist. fluvial specialist. generalist2 ...... Jenkins and Burkhead (1993) mid- to late-spring ......... Jenkins and Burkhead (1993) Greenfin Shiner. Flat Bullhead .. Snail Bullhead Piedmont Darter. 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 PO 00000 Frm 00022 none ........................................ Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 fluvial specialist. fluvial specialist. E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 Freeman and Marcinek (2006) Rohde et al. (2009) Freeman and Marcinek (2006) Rohde et al. (2009) Rohde et al. (2009) Freeman and Marcinek (2006) Rohde et al. (2009) Rohde et al. (2009) 76925 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices TABLE 6—SPAWNING DATES AND HABITAT REQUIREMENTS FOR EIGHT CONSERVATION SPECIES OBSERVED IN THE RIVERDALE BYPASSED REACH—Continued [South Carolina DNR, 2005] Common name Spawning dates Species Range Moxostoma collapsum. 1 Fluvial tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 2 Habitat Notchlip Redhorse. Habitat Use Literature source Literature source Range March—early June ........ Jenkins and Burkhead (1993) Grabowski and Isely (2007) Coughlan et al. (2007). fluvial specialist. Category Freeman and Marcinek (2006) Rohde et al. (2009) specialists are species that require flowing water for most or all of their life cycle (Galat et al., 2005). generalists are species that are capable of successfully utilizing a variety of habitats to complete their life-cycle. The greenfin shiner is a Conservation Species of Moderate Priority because they only occur in the Carolinas and Georgia, and only within a few drainages. About two-thirds of the global distribution is in South Carolina (South Carolina DNR, 2005). The species is found over sandy and rocky pools and in the runs of larger creeks and small to medium-sized rivers (Rohde et al., 2009). The spawning biology of greenfin shiner is not well understood; however, it likely exhibits behavior similar to other species in its genera, which deposit eggs in crevices of submerged logs and rocks (Rohde et al., 2009). The greenfin shiner was found in the impoundment and bypassed reach during 2010 fish surveys (table 5). The notchlip redhorse is a Conservation Species of Moderate Priority due to habitat degradation such as deforestation and siltation (South Carolina DNR, 2005). The species occurs in large creeks to large rivers on the inner Coastal Plain and Piedmont of South Carolina (Rohde et al., 2009). Its temporal spawning range may occur from March to early June (table 6), and it is thought to gather near shoals and flats to spawn over coarse gravel (Jenkins and Burkhead, 1993; Jennings et al., 1996). The notchlip redhorse was found in the braided and main channel of the bypassed reach during 2010 fish surveys (table 5). The flat bullhead is a Conservation Species of Moderate Priority due to sedimentation, hydrologic modification, impoundments, nonpoint source pollution, and development, as well as competition with and predation by nonnative catfish species like the flathead and blue catfish (South Carolina DNR, 2005). The species occupies a variety of habitats, including impoundments (Olmstead and Cloutman, 1979). Spawning biology is not well understood in stream or riverine environments, though spawning in Lake Norman, North Carolina occurs during June and July (table 6; Olmstead and VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 Cloutman, 1979). The flat bullhead was found in the impoundment during 2010 fish surveys (table 5). The snail bullhead is a Conservation Species of Moderate Priority for the same reasons as flat bullhead. The species is frequently found in warm and medium-sized rivers, often in rocky runs and riffles, and appears to prefer shoals compared to pools (Kennon, 2007; Rohde et al., 2009). Little is known about snail bullhead biology, but it likely spawns from May to early June (table 6). The snail bullhead was found in the main channel and upstream of braided sections of the bypassed reach during 2010 fish surveys (table 5). All Conservation Priority Fish Species, with the possible exception of the flat bullhead, are fluvial specialists.32 In contrast, habitat generalists,33 such as flat bullhead, can be found in both lentic and lotic systems (Galat et al., 2005). Benthic macroinvertebrates The panhandle pebblesnail is a Conservation Species of Highest Priority. Siltation of streams and rivers from agricultural runoff and erosion of unstable stream banks are the main factors affecting the distribution of the species (South Carolina DNR, 2005). The species is generally found in rivers and streams throughout the Piedmont— typically in rocky riffles with good flow and often with the hornleaf riverweed. Solid substrate seems to be a key habitat requirement. Its biology is not well understood; however, like all snails in the mud snail family it likely requires solid substrate to attach eggs (Dillon et al., 2006). The panhandle pebblesnail was found in the bypassed reach and about 4.75 miles downstream from the project during freshwater mussel and snail surveys (Lockhart Power, 2010a). 32 Fluvial specialists are species that require flowing water for most or all of their life cycle (Galat et al., 2005). 33 Habitat generalists are species that are capable of successfully utilizing a variety of habitats to complete their life-cycle. PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 3.3.2.2 Environmental Effects Effects of Project Refurbishment and Operation on Water Quality As discussed in section 3.3.1, Geologic and Soil Resources, if erosion control measures do not adequately mitigate soil erosion and sedimentation, there may be temporary increases in turbidity above the current state standard of 50 NTU in the Enoree River. Similarly, drawing down the impoundment to repair the sand gates and initial operations may result in the discharge of a large amount of sediment from the project impoundment. Peaking operation may also affect DO and temperature within the impoundment, particularly during low flows. Releasing poorly oxygenated, warm water from the impoundment could affect fish, mussels, and other aquatic species in the bypassed reach. Lockhart Power is willing to monitor water quality in the project vicinity, as required by South Carolina DHEC, but did not specifically propose any water quality monitoring. Interior recommends that Lockhart Power: (1) Conduct water quality monitoring in the impoundment at all proposed operational drawdowns for a minimum of 1 year; and (2) submit water quality monitoring results to South Carolina DHEC, South Carolina DNR, NMFS, Interior, and the Commission. Our Analysis Our understanding of water quality in the project vicinity under existing conditions is limited because it is based on three water quality samples collected by Lockhart Power, as described above. Low DO concentrations for the June 18, 2010 sample may have been due to high levels of decomposed organic matter in the impoundment, water temperature, or water quality of the impoundment’s inflows. Because of the limited storage capacity of the project impoundment, ROR operation would likely predominate. Water quality conditions E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 76926 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices within the impoundment are not expected to differ greatly from existing conditions during ROR operation because all inflow would continually pass through the project as it currently does. However, during peaking operation, which would occur during lower flow periods, DO levels could decrease and water temperatures could increase as water retention times increase. The extent to which these water quality parameters would be affected is unknown, and would depend on inflow rates and ambient conditions. Because all flows currently spill over the dam into the bypassed reach, some degree of aeration occurs. Given the presence of several species of fish and macroinvertebrates, sufficient aeration is likely occurring. Once operation begins, flows in the bypassed reach would be limited to minimum flows provided through the low-level sand gates, except when inflow exceeds the project’s hydraulic capacity. Although the flows would be less than that which occurs currently, flows would be constant and aeration over the shoals is likely to be sufficient to protect aquatic biota. Thermal stratification of the impoundment, which could affect DO levels in the bypassed minimum flow to the bypassed reach, is unlikely because of its shallow depth (Dodds et al., 2010). Turbidity monitoring prior to the start of construction as well as during project rehabilitation would ensure that the erosion control and sediment management plan is meeting its objectives and that discharges are consistent with the current state water quality standards (table 4) and other permitting requirements throughout the project rehabilitation phase. Monitoring water quality in the impoundment and in the bypassed reach prior to construction, during construction, and during the first year of project operation under the various operational levels, as recommended by Interior, would determine if operations are adversely affecting water quality parameters and if potential corrective actions are warranted. Depending on the results, monitoring may need to be extended beyond the first year. Effects of Project Refurbishment and Operation on Fishery Resources tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 Instream Flow Releases The proposed Riverdale Project would divert existing river flows away from the bypassed reach and toward the turbines for hydropower generation. Flow diversions would ultimately reduce the volume of flow in the bypassed reach, resulting in dewatering of habitat and modifying aquatic habitat parameters in VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 the 1,400 feet of complex shoals habitat in the bypassed reach. Peaking operations would result in flow fluctuations within the impoundment, and in the Enoree River below the tailrace confluence. Such fluctuations could strand and isolate fish in back channels and on gravel bars, causing increased risk of predation and natural mortality, or dewater fish nests in the impoundment and downstream from the tailrace, leaving eggs vulnerable to predation and desiccation. Lockhart Power proposes to provide a continuous minimum flow of 50 cfs through the bypassed reach and a downstream continuous minimum flow of 60 cfs, or inflow, whichever is less. Lockhart Power plans to release at least 10 cfs into the tailrace when the project is not generating via leakage, or through gate operations if necessary. In the event of a plant outage, Lockhart Power would release flows into the bypassed reach via the dam’s sand gates or over the spillway. South Carolina DNR recommends Lockhart Power release flows in the bypassed reach that are consistent with the Water Plan. Based on an estimated MADF of 393 cfs for a period of record from 1994–2009, the minimum flows should meet or exceed the following: July-November, 20 percent of MADF (79 cfs); January-April, 40 percent of MADF (157 cfs); and May, June, and December, 30 percent of MADF (118 cfs). Interior,34 NMFS, and American Rivers support the recommendations provided by South Carolina DNR. Although NMFS supports South Carolina DNR’s proposed minimum flows, it also recommends Lockhart Power conduct an instream flow study after a license is issued, and when the project’s sand gates are operational. NMFS states that this is because Lockhart Power could not provide an instream flow study to support flows needed to protect aquatic resources in the bypassed reach. NMFS recommends that Lockhart Power develop the study plan within 6 months of license issuance. Our Analysis The current licensee has not operated the project since 2001, and no river flow has been diverted for hydropower purposes since that time. Rather, all river flow has and continues to run over the dam/spillway and into the shoals of the 1,400-foot-long bypassed river channel. These conditions represent the no-action alternative. 34 See email correspondence dated May 31, 2013 from Thomas McCoy, Deputy Field Supervisor, FWS, Charleston, South Carolina, to Sarah Salazar, FERC, Washington, DC, filed on June 6, 2013. PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 Piedmont streams like the Enoree River naturally exhibit large seasonal variations in stream flow with varying amounts of habitat. High rates of evapotranspiration during the growing season deplete soil moisture content and reduce groundwater input to streams, resulting in average stream flows that are generally much lower during the summer compared with winter and early spring. During winter and early spring, evapotranspiration is very low and groundwater discharge is usually considerably higher, resulting in higher baseflows (Mulholland and Lenat, 1992). Many fish species have evolved life history strategies in the context of natural flow regimes. Consequently, fishes are generally adapted to the monthly, seasonal, annual, and interannual variations in flow, and are capable of surviving flows from drought to flood conditions (Bunn and Arthington, 2002; Thompson and Larsen, 2004). Some fishes also benefit from particular magnitudes of flow during specific periods of the year. For example, higher flow during spring can provide access to spawning grounds for migratory species, or access to the floodplain, where nursery value and foraging opportunities are optimal for some fish species (Bunn and Arthington, 2002). Thus, certain seasonal components of an annual flow regime can be important for some fishes. A diversity of species currently exist in the bypassed reach, which is composed of complex shoals habitat. Shoals represent only 2 percent of all habitat in the Enoree River, and the bypassed reach contains 10 percent of shoals habitat in the Enoree River (Lockhart Power, 2011b). Wharton (1978) describes a Piedmont shoal as ‘‘shallow, oxygenated water,’’ and shoals as ‘‘swift, rocky areas’’ that are abundant with life. Despite their rarity, they are structurally complex habitats that support a higher number of species than more homogenous habitats in Piedmont rivers (Kennon, 2007). The bypassed reach had the highest number of species collected, compared to all other habitats sampled during the 2010 fish surveys (table 5). A total of 21 species was observed in the bypassed reach, and seven of those species are listed by South Carolina as Conservation Species (table 5). Each of these species is a fluvial specialist, requiring flowing water for most or all of their life cycle (Galat et al., 2005). Redeye bass is one of the more unique species present in the bypassed reach, and is listed as Conservation Species of Highest Priority. This species is restricted to watersheds in northwest E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 76927 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices South Carolina, and is currently in decline in the state due to hybridization with the introduced Alabama spotted bass (South Carolina DNR, 2008). Continued hybridization could eventually restrict redeye bass populations to isolated tributaries (Barwick et al., 2006). The panhandle pebblesnail is another unique and rare species present in the bypassed reach, and also is listed as a Conservation Species of Highest Priority. In 1994, this species was under candidate review for listing under the Endangered Species Act; however, it was determined that persuasive data on biological vulnerability and threat were not available to support listing at the time (DOI, 1994). This species is only documented at seven locations in South Carolina (Dillon et al., 2006). Siltation of streams and rivers from agricultural runoff and erosion of unstable streambanks are the main factors affecting the distribution of the species (South Carolina DNR, 2005). Because Lockhart Power could not conduct a controlled-flow study of the instream flows needed to support aquatic resources in the bypassed reach or downstream from the tailrace, it proposed to provide a minimum continuous flow of 60 cfs downstream from the tailrace and 50 cfs through the bypassed reach when operating. Lockhart Power asserts that such flows would meet 7Q10 35 requirements (56 cfs) in the Enoree River established by South Carolina DHEC.36 The proposed 50 cfs is 13 percent of the MADF, or 393 cfs. Lockhart Power states that this flow is within the range of minimum bypass flows for five other Commission-licensed projects located within South Carolina’s Broad River Basin (table 7), each of which were built at a shoal site, have similar fish species as found at the Riverdale Project, and were based on flow studies. Lockhart Power asserts that if a field study could have been conducted at the Riverdale Project it would have yielded similar results, supporting a similar percent of MADF for minimum flows in the project bypassed reach. Consequently, Lockhart Power states that its proposed flow would adequately protect aquatic habitat in the bypassed reach and the Enoree River. However, for each of the projects cited by Lockhart Power (i.e. table 7), site-specific instream flow studies were conducted to support the minimum flows . No instream flow studies have been conducted in the Riverdale bypassed reach or downstream from the tailrace to support Lockhart Power’s proposed minimum flows. TABLE 7—FLOWS THROUGH THE BYPASSED REACH AT FERC LICENSED PROJECTS IN THE BROAD RIVER BASIN, SOUTH CAROLINA [Source: Lockhart Power] Gaston Shoals .............................................................................................................. Lockhart ........................................................................................................................ Catawba ....................................................................................................................... Columbia ...................................................................................................................... Pacolet .......................................................................................................................... Riverdale Proposed ...................................................................................................... tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 Range of flow through bypassed reach (cfs) MADF (cfs) Project Name 2,170 3,600 4,878 6,923 505 393 150–350 200–385 550–950 500–900 22–49 50 Percent range of MADF 7 to 16. 5 to 11. 11 to 19. 7 to 13. 4 to 9. 13. Without a site-specific flow study, desktop standard-setting methods, such as 7Q10, the Water Plan, and Tennant (1976) can be used to provide minimum flow recommendations. The 7Q10 flow is a hydrologicallybased design flow that represents the lowest 7-day average flow that occurs, on average, once every 10 years. The 7Q10 flow does not necessarily take into account biological needs of aquatic resources. Nonetheless, Lockhart Power’s proposed minimum flow of 50 cfs is not equivalent to the 7Q10 flow (56 cfs) in the bypassed reach; however, it is equivalent to the 7Q10 flow below the tailrace when combined with leakage through the turbine. Where site-specific flow studies are not available, South Carolina DNR uses the state Water Plan 37 to recommend flows that will protect fishery resources in all waters of the state when natural streamflow regimes cannot be maintained. The Water Plan minimum flow requirements are based on instream flow studies conducted at six regulated reaches in the South Carolina Piedmont. These minimum flow requirements were designed to provide a useable width for migratory fish 38 passing through shoals during high flows, provide ‘‘generally adequate’’ flows to protect fisheries during low flows, provide ‘‘adequate’’ flows during periods when flows are increasing or decreasing, and provide flows that conform to seasonal variation in flow. These objectives resulted in three distinct minimum flow periods that capture high (January–April; 40 percent of MADF), low (July–November; 20 percent of MADF), and increasing (December; 30 percent of MADF) or decreasing (May, June; 30 percent of MADF) flow periods (Bulak and Jobsis, 1989). Based on the stipulations of the Water Plan and the flow record at the time, which established a MADF of 393 cfs for the bypassed reach, South Carolina DNR, Interior, and NMFS concluded that the minimum flows should meet or exceed the following: 79 cfs from July– November (20 percent of MADF); 157 cfs from January–April (40 percent of MADF); and 118 cfs in May, June, and December (30 percent of MADF). Using the most current flow data available, staff calculated the MADF to be 374 cfs, which results in the following slightly lower flows: July–November, 75 cfs (20 percent of MADF); January–April, 150 cfs (40 percent of MADF); and May, June, and December, 112 cfs (30 percent of MADF). In contrast, Lockhart Power’s proposed flows of 60 cfs (16 percent of MADF) downstream from the tailrace 35 The 7Q10 is the lowest 7-day average flow that occurs (on average) once every 10 years. 36 The 50-cfs minimum flow in the bypassed reach represents an increase from the 30-cfs minimum flow requirement of the existing license. 37 The Water Plan states that the current policy for determining instream flow requirements for fishery resources can be found in South Carolina Instream Flow Studies: A Status Report (Bulak and Jobsis, 1989). 38 Striped bass were considered a migratory species of prime importance in the instream flow studies, and habitat suitability (i.e. stream width and depth requirements) was based on passage of this species. VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 PO 00000 Frm 00025 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 76928 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices and 50 cfs (13 percent of MADF) in the bypassed reach would fall below all of the Water Plan’s minimum flows and would not be adequate to protect the existing fishery in the bypassed reach. In addition, unlike the Water Plan’s seasonally variable minimum flows, Lockhart Power’s proposed year-round flows would not maintain or mimic the natural flow regime, which according to the Water Plan, can be important because fish have evolved to spawn in synchrony with the seasonal hydrologic cycle. One of the criteria used to establish minimum flow requirements of the Water Plan is to provide sufficient depth for passage of striped bass. Bulak and Jobsis (1989) concluded that in Piedmont streams, where striped bass are generally of prime importance, a minimum depth of 1.5 feet and passage width of 10 feet is necessary for unimpeded passage for the spawning migration. During high flow periods, study results from the six Piedmont reaches indicated that establishing a 1.5foot-deep by 10-foot-wide passage route required flows at shoals to range from 39–70 percent of MADF (Bulak and Jobsis, 1989). Therefore, the 40 percent of MADF flow recommended by South Carolina DNR, Interior, and NMFS for the period between January and April represents the lower end of flows deemed necessary for maintaining a zone-of-passage for striped bass. Striped bass are not present in the bypassed reach and a spawning migration does not occur up to the Riverdale Project due to the lack of passage at Parr dam, located 65 miles downstream from the Riverdale Project. Therefore, the passage requirements outlined in the Water Plan are not relevant for the Riverdale bypassed reach. While a 1.5-foot-deep by 10-foot- wide passage was determined to be suitable for striped bass, which at maturity can range in length from 18 inches to greater than 40 inches, the species with the largest adult size range that presently inhabits the Riverdale bypassed reach is redeye bass, which in South Carolina, can range from 6–17 inches in length (Rohde et al., 2009). Based on size, redeye bass do not require the same depths as striped bass for movement within the bypassed reach, nor is there evidence that other species require depths of 1.5 feet. Therefore, flows of 40 percent MADF from January to April are not necessary for maintenance of suitable habitat for the current fish community in the bypassed reach. Based on the study conducted by Bulak and Jobsis (1989), flows ranging from 15 to 32 percent of MADF are acceptable from January to April if a channel 1.0-foot-deep by 10-feet-wide is adequate for the species present. Given the absence of striped bass and other anadromous species at the Riverdale Project, a minimum flow of 20 percent of MADF (75-cfs) between January and April should provide suitable passage conditions in the bypassed reach for the existing aquatic community. Bulak and Jobsis (1989) also concluded that a minimum flow of 20 percent MADF is generally adequate during the low flow period. Although a year-round minimum flow of 75 cfs would not mimic the seasonal variation in hydrology sought by the Water Plan, there is currently no evidence that the fishes or invertebrates in the bypassed reach, or downstream from the tailrace require such annual variation in flow to complete their life-cycle. In addition to using the parameters of the Water Plan, we analyzed flows in the bypassed reach using the Tennant method. The Tennant method is based on the assumption that a proportion of MADF would maintain suitable depths and water velocities for fish. Although Tennant’s method is derived from rivers in Montana, Wyoming, and Nebraska, analyses in the southeast exhibit general agreement with his recommendations (Wood and Whelan, 1962). Bulak and Jobsis (1989) also used Tennant as one of the factors to establish South Carolina’s policy on minimum flows. Tennant concluded that 10 percent of MADF is the minimum instantaneous flow needed to sustain short-term survival and is considered the lower limits for aquatic life. Tennant also concluded that at 20 percent of MADF, the widths, depths, and velocities of most streams would be ‘‘good’’ during the dry season and close to ‘‘fair or degrading’’ during the wet season. Table 8 shows the percentages of mean annual flows and corresponding narrative descriptions of the habitat created by these flows in the Enoree River using the Tennant method. According to this method, and using the most current flow data available (i.e. 1994–2012; MADF = 374 cfs), a flow of 60 cfs (15 percent of MADF) downstream of the tailrace and 50 cfs (13 percent of MADF) in the bypassed reach would provide fair or degrading conditions, and close to poor or minimum conditions during the dry and wet seasons, respectively. In contrast, the South Carolina DNR’s recommended minimum flows of 20 percent of MADF during the dry season and 40 percent of MADF during the wet season, would provide good conditions year round at the project. A year-round minimum flow of 75 cfs (20 percent of MADF), would result in good, and close to fair or degrading conditions during the dry season and wet season, respectively. TABLE 8—MINIMUM FLOW REQUIRED FOR FISH IN STREAMS IDENTIFIED BY TENNANT [1976] % of MADF Description of flow Dry season tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 Outstanding .............................................................................................................................................................. Excellent .................................................................................................................................................................. Good ........................................................................................................................................................................ Fair or degrading ..................................................................................................................................................... Poor or minimum ..................................................................................................................................................... Severe degradation ................................................................................................................................................. NMFS recommended that an instream flow study be conducted after the license is issued, and when the sand gates have been renovated to allow management of flows into the bypassed reach. However, as discussed above, we VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 already have sufficient information to evaluate bypassed reach minimum flow alternatives. For this reason, an instream flow study is not needed for this project. PO 00000 Frm 00026 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 40 30 20 10 10 0–10 Wet season 60 50 40 30 10 0–10 Fluctuating Water Levels Lockhart Power’s peaking operation would result in periods of daily discharge fluctuations downstream from the tailrace. Lockhart Power’s proposed E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices Our Analysis Lockhart Power states that peaking operation would occur when inflows to the project are greater than 170 cfs (i.e. 50 cfs minimum bypass flow and about 120 cfs minimum hydraulic capacity of BILLING CODE 6717–01–C tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 Downstream Effects Flow fluctuations associated with peaking may have negative consequences for fish occurring downstream from the tailrace. When flows are high, large areas of habitat can be used by fish for foraging, cover, or reproduction. However, when water VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 Peaking would occur greater than 50 percent of the time during January, February, March, April, May, June, and December (figure 2). Downstream from the tailrace, the highest fluctuations would occur from December through June, when monthly mean flows range from 300–590 cfs (see table 3). During this period, daily flows downstream from the tailrace could range from 60 cfs when the project is not operating and the pond is refilling, to pulses of 500 cfs during operation. the turbine). Lockhart Power also indicates that flow would be spilled over the dam when inflow is greater than 500 cfs (i.e. 50 cfs minimum bypass flow and about 450 cfs maximum hydraulic capacity of the turbine) (Lockhart Power, 2011b). Based on this proposed operation, peaking could occur when inflow to the project is greater than 170 cfs and less than or equal to 500 cfs. Accordingly, peaking could occur as little as 38.6 percent of the time in August, to as much as 75.2 percent of the time in April (figure 2). BILLING CODE 6717–01–P levels recede, the connection between side channels and the main channel can be lost (Bradford, 1997). As a result, fish stranding can occur on gravel bars, back channels, or pot-holes that become isolated from the main flow (Cushman, 1985). These isolated off-channel habitats often expose fish to greater predation risk, lower DO, and higher water temperature, which can lead to stranding mortality (Nagrodski et al., 2012). Early-life stages (i.e. larvae, juveniles), which have a reduced swimming capacity compared to older fish, are particularly vulnerable to stranding and associated mortality, because they are unable to reach the main channel as flows decrease (Dabrowski et al., 1986). Furthermore, many riverine fishes, spawn on stony PO 00000 Frm 00027 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 EN19DE13.006</GPH> peaking operations would also involve a 4-foot impoundment drawdown during peaking events. Beyond the minimum flow alternatives described above, no one recommended changing proposed project operations. 76929 76930 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 substrate in off-channel locations that are susceptible to dewatering, which can leave eggs vulnerable to predation and desiccation (Nagrodski et al., 2012). Alterations in discharge during the spawning season can particularly affect reproduction of species with short spawning seasons (Craven et al., 2010). Freeman et al. (2001) demonstrated that fish assemblages below projects with peaking operations in Piedmont rivers are dominated numerically by species that display prolonged spawning seasons (i.e. extending into July or later; Freeman et al., 2001). In contrast, species that spawn exclusively during the spring are less abundant below peaking projects compared to unregulated sites, due to unstable and sometimes unavailable spawning habitat (Freeman et al., 2001). Redeye bass, snail bullhead, Piedmont darter and notchlip redhorse are fluvial specialists that spawn exclusively during the spring. These species are currently present in the bypassed reach, but their populations could decline due to flow variability associated with peaking operation. As discussed above, under Lockhart Power’s proposed operation, daily flows downstream from the tailrace could range from 60 cfs when the project is not operating and the impoundment is refilling, to pulses of 500 cfs during operation. The magnitude of this flow fluctuation would be 440 cfs. Higher minimum instream flows recommended by South Carolina DNR would reduce the magnitude of the flow fluctuation proportionally and would result in less exposed shoreline downstream from the tailrace when the project is not generating. Impoundment Effects Fluctuating water levels may produce unfavorable spawning conditions and recruitment for resident fish species that occupy the Riverdale impoundment. Effects may be particularly pronounced for centrarchids, which build nests and spawn at shallow depths in the littoral zone during spring and summer. When water levels decrease during drawdowns, nests become exposed and egg desiccation can occur (Maraldo and MacCrimmon, 1981). Lower water levels can also result in reduced shoreline cover and increased predation on juvenile fish (Willis, 1986). Inflows are greater than 170 cfs and less than 500 cfs, between 50.6 and 75.2 percent of the time during April through June, when most centrarchids build nests and spawn (figure 2). Thus, peaking operation, with up to a 4-foot drawdown, could occur daily about 50 to 75 percent of the time during April VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 through June when centrarchids are building nests and spawning (figure 2). Proposed peaking operation, with up to a 4-foot drawdown, would change the littoral zone fish habitat in the project impoundment, compared to the natural flow conditions that have been present at the project for the last 12 years. Frequent drawdowns from April through June have the potential to dewater fish nests, disturb spawning, and reduce reproductive success of the four centrarchid species occupying the impoundment (see table 5). Peaking operation at the project could affect each of these species. However, three centrarchids are multiple spawners (e.g., bluegill, red breast sunfish, and redear sunfish) and could spawn again if project operation disrupts initial spawning activities. With regard to redeye bass, the impoundment likely does not possess significant amounts of spawning or juvenile habitat. The impoundment’s littoral zone includes shallow banks composed of sand, mud, and submerged aquatic vegetation (Carnegey Biological Services, 2010). Redeye bass, however, spawn in gravel nests built in eddy waters at the heads of pools (Wallus and Simon, 2008) and juveniles appear to prefer areas close to shorelines with heavy canopy cover (Knight, 2011). These types of habitats are not present in the project impoundment, but are present in the bypassed reach, where Lockhart Power captured the most redeye bass during 2010 baseline fisheries survey (table 5). Low Inflow/Drought Conditions The project is located in the Southeast U.S., which is susceptible to severe drought events that can reduce water supplies for several years at a time. Recently, severe droughts occurred from 1998–2002, 2005–2007, and 2012. During these events, incoming flow can fall below minimum continuous flows, stressing aquatic resources and creating conflicts among competing uses, including generation, water supply, and recreation. To address drought conditions, Lockhart Power developed what it terms a low inflow protocol (LIP), which states that ‘‘when average daily project inflow is less than approximately 80 cfs (+/¥ 10 percent), the following would be in effect: Continuous project outflow shall approximately (+/¥ 10 percent) equal project inflow.’’ 39 South Carolina DNR recommends Lockhart Power develop and implement a LIP for the project, consistent with the Water Plan. They 39 Based on pro-rated inflow data from the USGS gage near Woodruff, SC (#02160390). PO 00000 Frm 00028 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 also recommend that Lockhart Power implement the LIP during periods of extended drought and design it to provide instream flows to protect fish and wildlife and other water uses associated with the Enoree River in the Project vicinity.40 Interior concurs with South Carolina DNR’s recommended LIP. Our Analysis The overall objective of a LIP is to provide sufficient instream flows to protect fish, wildlife and other water uses in the project vicinity during droughts. Lockhart Power and stakeholders have agreed that the project needs a LIP to adequately protect fishery resources. The recent high frequency of severe drought events in the Southeast U.S. reinforces this need. Severe drought events can affect fishes in a number of ways. Low streamflows during a drought reduce stream width and depth, limiting habitat availability and the ability of fish to move freely among habitats (Lohr and Fausch, 1997). Droughts also affect water temperature and DO concentrations, which can negatively affect reproduction and juvenile recruitment (Schlosser et al., 2001). This can reduce stream fish populations and change fish assemblage structure by favoring hypoxia-tolerant species and reducing intolerant species (Smale and Rabeni, 1995). Moreover, drought can simply kill fish directly (Lohr and Fausch, 1997). Ideally, a LIP would be designed to provide flexibility to adjust minimum flows during drought periods so that the effects of low flows are balanced among competing uses, while still protecting fish and wildlife. As written, Lockhart Power’s proposed LIP does not provide a mechanism to adjust minimum flows during drought periods; rather it proposes to ensure project outflow is equal to inflow when average daily inflow is less than 80 cfs. This would ensure no interruption of flow (i.e. storage of water) through the project to downstream resources when flows are 80 cfs or less. However, Lockhart Power’s LIP is not clear as to how that flow would be passed through the project. In other words, would all flow be provided through the sand gates into the bypassed reach, or as a combination 40 The Water Plan does not prescribe specific flows, recommends that a Water-shortage Contingency Plan (i.e., drought contingency plan) be developed and coordinated with appropriate federal and state agencies, local governments, and other stakeholders. The Water Plan also recommends that the Water-shortage Contingency Plan include water-shortage severity levels and water releases associated with each severity level. E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices of bypassed reach minimum flows and generation? The project’s minimum operating hydraulic capacity of 120 cfs suggests that all inflow would be released into the bypassed reach when average daily inflow to the project is 80 cfs or lower. Eighty cfs represents 20 to 21 percent of MADF, depending on whether the flow record includes 1994–2009 (MADF = 393 cfs) or the most complete record from 1994–2012 (MADF = 374 cfs), respectively. Bulak and Jobsis (1989) determined that during the low flow period (July–November) in South Carolina Piedmont streams, 20 percent of MADF was ‘‘generally adequate’’ for aquatic resources. If drought conditions were to extend into the high flow period (January–April), 20 percent of MADF was within the range (15–32 percent of MADF) of flow that provides a 1-footdeep by 10-feet-wide stream of water. Thus, 80 cfs would provide good habitat in the bypassed reach and downstream from the tailrace. Any inflows that are lower would represent natural flow conditions that Lockhart Power could not control, and would result in the best aquatic habitat conditions possible given drought conditions. However it would also limit the project’s ability to generate until drought conditions subside. Lockhart Power also does not explain the basis for selecting an average daily inflow of 80 cfs to represent low flow/ drought conditions, only noting that this was being discussed with resource agencies during its application development. Developing and implementing an LIP, as recommended by South Carolina DNR and Interior, would allow Lockhart Power and the resource agencies to cooperatively define water-shortage severity levels (i.e. drought conditions) and potentially adjust minimum flows, depending on the severity of the drought so that the effects of low flows are balanced among competing uses. The LIPs recommended by South Carolina DNR inherently allow flows to drop below the minimum flow releases determined to be suitable for fish and benthic invertebrates in the bypassed reach. Although further reductions of minimum flow requirements are likely to have additional effects on aquatic habitat and fish populations, fishes have developed physiological and behavioral adaptations for coping with drought conditions. For example, some fishes move to pools that contain water (Gelwick, 1990) or larger downstream reaches (Magoulick and Kobza, 2003), and darters may survive in the VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 hyporheic zone 41 (Tramer, 1977). Also, fishes tend to move back into an affected area as soon as a drought disturbance has subsided (Larimore et al., 1959; Peterson and Bayley, 1993), and fish assemblages can return to predisturbance levels within one year (Larimore et al., 1959; and Meffe and Sheldon 1990). Thus, a reduction in minimum flow requirements during drought periods may affect fishery resources in the bypassed reach and downstream from the tailrace temporarily; however, stream fish communities are resilient and can recover quickly from these temporary disturbances. Releasing and Distributing Minimum Instream Flows Across the Bypassed Channel As discussed above, Lockhart Power proposes to use one or more of the existing sand gates in the dam to provide its proposed minimum flows to the bypassed reach. Currently, the sand gates on the middle and right side of the dam are closed and inoperable, while the gate on the left side remains open.42 Lockhart Power proposes to repair the sand gates, and work with the resource agencies to determine which gate(s) to use to provide the bypassed reach minimum flow. Lockhart Power also would develop a rating curve following the repairs and verify the rating curve once every 6 years. South Carolina DNR and Interior recommend Lockhart Power evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of using the sand gates to provide flows on a permanent, continuous basis to the bypassed reach. South Carolina DNR also recommends that Lockhart Power evaluate flow distribution through the sand gates, and the gates be operated to optimize downstream aquatic habitat in the bypassed reach. In addition, American Rivers recommends the new license require: (1) A study of flow delivery alternatives to determine how to release flows from the dam to fully wet the shoals of the bypassed reach; and (2) the best method for delivering flows to the bypassed reach under all flow conditions. NMFS recommends conducting an instream flow study once the gates are operational. 41 The hyporheic zone is a portion of the groundwater interface in streams where a mixture of surface water and groundwater can be found. Hyporheic zone waters can be found both beneath the active channel and within the riparian zone of most streams and rivers. 42 The sand gate on the right side does not have any gate mechanism installed, and is permanently sealed. The operating mechanism for the middle sand gate is tilted relative to its foundation and appears to be damaged (FERC, 2013). PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 76931 Our Analysis Under existing conditions, flows in the Enoree River are capable of covering the entire breadth of bypassed reach, creating complex shoal habitat that supports a diverse assemblage of 21 fish species. There is a natural ledge or fall immediately downstream from the dam that stretches across the entire width of the river for about 15 to 20 feet. Downstream from the natural ledge, the main channel runs on the south side of the river, and flows over small and large boulders with aquatic vegetation dispersed throughout (Carnagey Biological Services, 2010). The north side of bypassed reach is more complex and splits into three braided sections, each approximately 6.5 to 19.5-footwide and 4 inches to greater than 2-footdeep, with 45 percent canopy cover (Carnagey Biological Services, 2010). The distinct physical features between the north and south side of the bypassed reach enables a unique assemblage of fish to occupy each habitat. Lockhart Power’s 2010 fish survey of the bypassed reach, demonstrated that fish species observed on the south side were often absent, or less common on the north side, and vice versa (table 5). For example, redeye bass and Piedmont darter, Highest Priority and High Priority Conservation Species, respectively, were collected most frequently on the north side, and absent on the south side (table 5). Whereas, the snail bullhead, a Moderate Priority Conservation Species, was collected most frequently on the south side, but absent on the north side (table 5). Because Lockhart Power did not have control of the dam, it was unable to determine if the sand gates could be made operable, or how best to use them to release minimum flows on a continuous and permanent basis. If the gates cannot be made operational, or used in a manner to provide the required flows, alternative mechanisms would need to be identified. These alternatives would need to be functional prior to operating the project to ensure that the aquatic resources in the bypassed reach are protected. Assuming that the bypassed flows can be provided through the sand gates, distributing the flows across the shoals to optimize benthic invertebrate and fish habitat may require delivering flows from one or more sand gates. While fully wetting the shoals would likely provide benthic invertebrate and fish habitat, it may not provide the best habitat for targeted channels supporting rare species. To determine which combination of gates to use would require a post-licensing flow study as E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 76932 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices recommended by NMFS and American Rivers that examines depth, velocity, and wetted width across the shoals using various combinations of the sand gates to deliver the required flows. Targeted species and habitat conditions would need to be selected in consultation with the South Carolina DNR, FWS, NMFS, and American Rivers to define habitat suitability criteria. Benthic Invertebrate and Fish Surveys The shoals within the bypassed reach represents a unique habitat that is relatively rare and currently supports seven fish species and a snail (panhandle pebblesnail) recognized in the South Carolina Wildlife Action Plan as in need of conservation because of their restricted ranges and specialized habitat needs (table 5). Sediment discharges and minimum instream flows could lead to physical, chemical, and biological changes in the bypassed reach affecting the distribution and occurrence of these species in the bypassed reach. Interior recommends that Lockhart Power conduct fish surveys before and after construction at the project, and again 1 year later, to provide information on the presence of the eight Conservation Species. Interior also recommends that Lockhart Power conduct invertebrate surveys before and after construction at the project, and again 1 year later, to provide information on the panhandle pebblesnail within the bypassed reach. Interior requests that Lockhart Power design the surveys in consultation with South Carolina DNR, South Carolina DHEC, NMFS, and FWS, and that sampling efforts be concentrated in the multiple habitat types in the bypassed reach. Interior states that additional surveys may be necessary depending on the results. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 Our Analysis Interior does not explain why surveys for the conservation species are needed before and after construction and again one year later, or the level of effort it anticipates would be required for such surveys. Pre- and post-construction surveys of fish and benthic invertebrates in the bypassed reach would identify current locations of these species in the bypassed reach and their locations following initial operations. However, sufficient information already exists to document their occurrence in the bypassed reach and to evaluate how best to distribute flows to optimize aquatic habitat. Therefore, there is no need for this information. VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 Monitoring Compliance With Impoundment Levels and Minimum Flows Lockhart Power proposes to limit impoundment fluctuations to 4 feet and to establish a rating curve of minimum flow releases through the sand gates and very the rating curves every six years. No agency recommended measures to monitor compliance with these operations. Our Analysis Developing and implementing an operation compliance monitoring plan would provide additional detail about project operations. Such a plan would provide the Commission a means to monitor compliance with the minimum flow releases and the limits on impoundment fluctuations. To be effective, the plan would need to: (1) Define the criteria by which compliance with impoundment fluctuations and minimum flows would be measured; (2) specify the type and location of all equipment used to monitor impoundment levels and minimum flows; and (3) identify the data collection intervals and reporting procedures. Fish Impingement and Entrainment Water intake structures at hydropower projects can injure or kill fish that are either impinged on intake screens/trash racks, or entrained through turbines. Larger aquatic organisms (typically fish and larger invertebrates) can be trapped against the intake screens or trash racks by the water flowing into a penstock. This process is known as impingement, and can cause physical stresses and/or suffocation that lead to death of some organisms (EPRI, 2003). If fish are able to pass through screens or trash racks (i.e. entrained), fish injury or mortality can result from collisions with turbine blades, or exposure to pressure changes, sheer forces in turbulent flows, and water velocity accelerations created by turbines (Knapp et al., 1982). The number of fish entrained and at risk of turbine mortality at a hydroelectric project is dependent upon site-specific factors, including physical characteristics of the project, as well as the size, age, and seasonal movement patterns of fish present within the impoundment (EPRI, 1992). Fish that are entrained and killed are removed from the river population and no longer available for recruitment to the fishery. The project includes two sets of trash racks: One with 2.25-inch bar rack spacing that is located at the intake to the project headrace and a second PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 located at the downstream end of the headrace (at the entrance to the turbine penstock) that has bar rack spacing of approximately 10 inches. Lockhart Power proposes to decrease the spacing on the trashrack at the penstock intake from 10 inches to 5 inches.43 Lockhart Power is not proposing any changes to the 2.25-inch bar spacing on the trashracks at the headrace intake (hereafter, headrace trashracks). Interior is concerned with the existing 2.25-inch bar rack spacing on the headrace trashracks, and with approach velocities during proposed project operation, especially during peaking when the head pond is lowered by 4 feet. Interior requests that a 1-inch bar rack spacing be installed at the headrace trashrack to minimize fish entrainment and mortality at the project. Our Analysis Fisheries surveys conducted by Lockhart Power indicate that the project impoundment contains 11 species of fish, including redeye bass and flat bullhead, which are Conservation Species of Highest and Moderate Priority, respectively (table 5). Overall, two redeye bass and 11 flat bullhead were captured within the impoundment, which represented 2.5 and 13.9 percent of the total number of fish captured, respectively. Highback chub was the most common fish captured in the impoundment, representing 55.7 percent of the total number of fish captured. Fish Impingement Fish can become impinged on the bars of a trash rack if they are unable to overcome the approach velocity 44 and are unable to pass between the trashrack bars due to their larger body size. Fish that are wider than the trashrack bar spacing and have burst swim speeds 45 lower than approach velocities would be susceptible to impingement. Thus, determining the risk of impingement for fish in the project impoundment requires an understanding of approach velocities at the headrace trashracks, as well as the widths and burst swim speeds of fish in the impoundment. Lockhart Power was not able to provide approach velocities at the headrace trashrack because it does not currently own or have access to the 43 This trash rack is isolated from the project impoundment and, thus, its modification would result in little to no effect on aquatic fauna. 44 Approach velocity is the calculated water flow velocity component perpendicular to the trashrack face. 45 Burst swimming speed is the maximum swimming speed that can only be sustained for a few seconds. It is usually used to escape danger (Murray, 1974). E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices 76933 2.25-inch bar spacing was 67.75 inches (or 5.65 feet) wide (i.e. two 31.875-inch panels,48 plus one 4-inch timber in between). Each unit with 1-inch bar spacing was 68 inches (or about 5.67 feet) wide (i.e. two 32 inch panels,49 plus one 4 inch timber in between. The larger panel width for the trashracks with 1-inch bar spacing was necessary to accommodate 1-inch bar spacing and still maintain similar sized units. All trashrack units were 13.4 feet high. With all five units combined, the total number of open spaces between bars in the 2.25-inch and 1-inch trashracks is 120 and 230, respectively (figures 3 and 4). 46 Drawings in Exhibit F of the license application show that the headrace trashracks are composed of five steel units, with 4-inch timbers in the middle of each unit and 3/8-inch vertical bars (figures 3 and 4). The total width of each unit was estimated to be about 5.5 feet wide and 13.4 feet high. 47 We assumed the 4-inch timbers represented closed space in each unit, and that each unit was composed of two panels. We also assumed each bar was 3/8-inch wide. 48 The 31.875-inch-wide panels are composed of 13 vertical bars totaling 4.875 inches (3/8-inch bar width × 13 = 4.875), and 12 open spaces (2.25 inches each) totaling 27 inches (figure 3). 49 The 32-inch-wide panels are composed of 24 vertical bars totaling 9 inches (3/8 inch bar width × 24 = 9), and 23 open spaces (1 inch each) totaling 23 inches (figure 4). VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4725 BILLING CODE 6717–01–P E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 EN19DE13.007</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 project. However, we estimated approach velocities for the existing 2.25inch and Interior’s recommended 1-inch clear bar spacing, as described below. To estimate approach velocities at the project we used existing information on the dimensions of the headrace trashracks,46 as well as certain assumptions regarding the composition of the trashracks.47 Each unit with the 76934 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices BILLING CODE 6717–01–C To estimate approach velocity (V0, feet per second [fps]), we used the following equation (EPRI, 2000): where intake flow is in cfs and crosssectional area is in square-feet. We used intake flows of 120 cfs and 450 cfs, which represent the minimum and maximum turbine hydraulic capacities, respectively. Total intake cross-sectional area is shown in table 9, and was estimated using the information shown in figures 3 and 4. TABLE 9—CALCULATION OF INTAKE CROSS-SECTIONAL AREA FOR THE 2.25-INCH AND 1-INCH TRASHRACKS [Source: Staff] 0.1875 0.08333333 Approach velocities did not differ substantially between the 2.25-inch and 1-inch trashracks, though they are slightly lower with the 2.25-inch VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Height of space between bars (H; feet) Jkt 232001 Open area between two bars (a; feet 2) 13.4 13.4 Number of open spaces between bars (n) W × H = 2.51 ........................ W × H = 1.12 ........................ 120 230 trashrack. At the minimum hydraulic capacity, estimated approach velocities are 0.40 and 0.47 fps with 2.25-inch and 1-inch trashracks, respectively. At the PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 Total intake cross-sectional area (A; feet 2) a × n = 301.2 a × n = 257.6 maximum hydraulic capacity, estimated approach velocities are 1.49 and 1.75 fps with the 2.25-inch and 1-inch trashracks, respectively. E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 EN19DE13.009</GPH> 2.25 ........................................ 1 ............................................. Spacing between bars (W; feet) EN19DE13.008</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 Spacing between bars (inches) 76935 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices represented a combination of both Conservation Species and the most common species occurring in the impoundment. The burst swimming speeds of these species and the minimum total lengths that are To evaluate the potential for impingement at the existing trashrack with 2.25-inch and with 1-inch bar spacings, we focused our analysis on redeye bass, flat bullhead, redbreast sunfish and highback chub—which susceptible to impingement (based on estimated fish width alone and exclusive of burst swim speeds) are shown in tables 10 and 11, respectively. TABLE 11—MINIMUM FISH TOTAL LENGTHS SUSCEPTIBLE TO IMPINGEMENT AT 1-INCH AND 2.25-INCH TRASHRACKS, BASED ON TRASHRACK BAR SPACING AND FISH WIDTH-AT-ENGTH RELATIONSHIP (I.E. WIDTH = a × TOTAL LENGTH b) ALONE AND EXCLUSIVE OF BURST SWIM SPEEDS Species Redeye bass ................ Flat bullhead ................. Redbreast sunfish ........ Highback chub .............. Alpha (a) 2 Surrogate species used in calculation1 Smallmouth bass ........ Brown bullhead ........... Bluegill ......................... Fathead minnow ......... Maximum total length (inches) Beta (b) 3 0.10095 0.19905 0.1317 0.00077 1.0394 0.9919 0.997 2.1795 Minimum fish total length (inches) susceptible to impingement: 1-inch trash rack spacing 17 11 9 3 9.1 5.1 7.6 4 none 2.25-inch trash rack spacing none.4 none.4 none.4 none.4 Fish are at risk of impingement if their burst swim speed (see table 9) is less than the approach velocity at the trashrack, and if their size prevents them from passing through the bar spacing on the trashrack (see table 10). VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 The results of our analysis show that none of the species analyzed would be susceptible to impingement with a trashrack having 2.25-inch bar spacing (see figures in appendix A), because of their swimming abilities. However, PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 larger flat bullhead (i.e. greater than 5.1 inches) would be susceptible to impingement with a trashrack having 1inch bar spacing when intake flows approach the maximum turbine capacity of 450 cfs. E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 EN19DE13.010</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 1 Length-width equations were not available for species included in our analysis. Surrogate species were fish in the same family and with similar body morphometry to the species included in our analysis. 2 3 The alpha and beta parameters for equations are from Lawler, Matucky, and Skelly Engineers (1991). 4 The calculated minimum total length susceptible to impingement is greater than the maximum total length of the species; therefore, no length of this species is susceptible to impingement at this trackrack spacing. 76936 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 The risk of impingement would be greater for adult flat bullhead if Lockhart Power replaces the existing 2.25-inch bar spacing with Interior’s recommended 1-inch bar spacing. The reduced porosity of the 1-inch bar spacing design would also lead to greater accumulation of debris compared to the 2.25-inch bar spacing design, which could lead to a greater risk of impingement than would occur with a design having 2.25-inch bar spacing. Routine maintenance of either trashrack would be required to ensure approach velocities do not increase. Greater maintenance would be required for the 1-inch bar spacing versus the 2.25-inch bar spacing. Fish Entrainment and Turbine Mortality Entrainment can occur if fish can pass between trashrack bars, and do not behaviorally avoid entrainment. Consequently, smaller (i.e. fish smaller than those susceptible to impingement [table 10]) redeye bass, flat bullhead, redbreast sunfish, and highback chub could each be entrained through both trashrack designs. Larger and older fish of each species would be protected by both trashrack designs; but, the 1-inch bar spacing would be more protective than the 2.25-inch bar spacing. Even if fish are small enough to fit through trashrack bar spacing, generally they will behaviorally avoid entrainment if their burst swim speeds exceed approach velocities at trashracks. Based on our analysis, only highback chub and flat bullhead lack the burst swim speeds needed to overcome approach velocities and avoid entrainment through trashrack designs that have 1-inch and 2.25-inch bar spacing, respectively (see figures in appendix A). Small (i.e. 2-inch) highback chub are susceptible to entrainment with a trashrack that has 1inch bar spacing when intake flows approach the maximum turbine capacity of 450 cfs. However, all sizes of flat bullhead are susceptible to entrainment with the existing trashrack that has 2.25inch bar spacing when intake flows approach the maximum turbine capacity. As these results indicate, and as other studies have shown, the majority of fish entrained consists of small fish (EPRI, 1997). The survival of smaller individuals of both species is likely to be relatively high because they are less prone to mechanical injury from turbine passage than larger fish. Smaller fish are also less prone to injury resulting from shear stresses and rapid pressure changes associated with turbine passage. Combined, these results indicate that each trashrack design has the potential to entrain one species; VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 however, turbine mortality is expected to be similarly low for both designs. Lockhart Power’s desktop fish entrainment and turbine mortality analysis considered information from published literature 50 to estimate fish entrainment rates and turbine mortality rates, and to characterize the anticipated composition of fish entrained and killed at the project. Results of the analysis indicate that on average, about 48,271 fish could potentially pass through the turbines on an annual basis, and of those, 5,412 fish could potentially be killed by the turbine. Sunfish had the highest estimated entrainment and turbine mortality, which represented 38 percent (18,346) and nearly 36 percent (1,941) of all fish entrained and killed, respectively. Lockhart Power’s analysis did not include Conservation Species due to the absence of data on redeye bass and flat bullhead. However, the analysis did include species in the redeye bass genus (i.e. Micropterus; black bass) and the flat bullhead family (i.e. Ictaluridae; catfish). Annual entrainment estimates for black bass represented only 1.6 percent (804) and 3.4 percent (182) of the total fish entrained and killed, respectively. Estimates for catfish were higher, and represented 22.1 percent (10,645) and 11.0 percent (593) of the total fish entrained and killed, respectively. Although Lockhart Power’s analysis did not provide details on the size or age-class of redeye bass or flat bullhead entrained, based on other studies, it is likely that most entrained fish would consist of smaller fish—primarily young-of-the-year (EPRI, 1997). These younger individuals in the population generally have high rates of mortality, even in the absence of hydropower operations. Fish populations have generally evolved to withstand losses of these smaller and younger individuals with little or no impact to long-term population sustainability. Thus, any turbine mortality of redeye bass and flat bullhead is likely to have minimal effect on their respective populations. 3.3.3 Terrestrial Resources 3.3.3.1 Affected Environment Vegetation The Riverdale Project is situated at the northern edge of what is considered the Piedmont ecoregion. This region is characterized by gently rolling hills and stream-cut valleys with elevations that 50 The database is based on specific entrainment studies conducted at FERC licensed projects that are similar to the Riverdale Project in geographic location, hydraulic capacity, operation, fish species, and water quality (Lockhart Power, 2010c). PO 00000 Frm 00034 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 range from 375 feet to 1,000 feet msl. Historically, plant communities in the region consisted of oak and hickorydominated forests, with associated species varying by slope and soil moisture. The landscape in the Piedmont ecoregion has a long history of forest clearing, intensive agriculture, and other economic uses that date back to the earliest European settlements. Today, the Piedmont landscape is predominantly a mosaic of agricultural land and managed pine and mixed pinehardwood woodlands, with hardwooddominated forests limited primarily to narrow floodplains and scattered upland sites. The project area and immediate project vicinity include a mix of managed areas and natural communities. The rural community of Enoree surrounds the project, with its lawns, hedgerows and limited commercial development representing the primary managed areas. Extensive agricultural lands, including managed hay fields, pastures, row croplands and pine plantations, occur in the uplands surrounding the community of Enoree and the project. The majority of farmland in the Enoree River Basin is dedicated to pasture and hay fields. This cover type commonly includes early successional species such as daisy fleabane, horse nettle, sunflower, pokeweed, and spiny amaranth. Forested uplands in the project vicinity are characterized primarily by managed pine plantation and mixed hardwood-pine stands. Mature stands tend to consist of a diverse assemblage of hardwoods, primarily oaks and hickories, as co-dominants in combination with pines. Common pine species of the piedmont include shortleaf and loblolly, with the former better adapted to dry, fine textured upland soils and loblolly achieving maximum growth on deep soils with good moisture and drainage. The understory in pure pine stands is often open, but in mixed or older stands, it is dominated by the hardwoods characteristic of the site. The areas immediately adjacent to the project impoundment and along the Enoree River downstream from the dam are characterized by heavily vegetated, primarily forested shorelines. Forested shorelines of the impoundment and downstream from the dam are typical of hardwood-dominated streamside forests that characterize the Piedmont. The typical canopy species in these forests is a mixture of bottomland and mesophytic trees including river birch, sycamore, sweetgum, tulip tree, American elm, hackberry, green ash, and red maple. Sites farther upslope on E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 protected bluffs and ravines are more characteristic of the cove forests typical of the region. The canopy and understory on such sites is typically composed of hardwoods including beech, tulip tree, black gum, sourwood, white oak, northern red oak, black oak, sweetgum, red maple, southern sugar maple, basswood, ironwood, flowering dogwood, American holly, witch-hazel, and hop-hornbeam. Because this habitat has a closed canopy, the likely substory consists of the more shade tolerant species including young beech and maples. Poison ivy, Virginia creeper, and wood sage are typical of the remaining shrubby stratum. Along the riverbank, shade intolerant species such as sumac, tree-of-heaven, daisy fleabane, and blackberry are likely common. Wetlands Wetlands are common in the Piedmont ecoregion as a whole, although they are much less abundant than in the low lying Coastal Plain region. Wetlands coverage in the Piedmont is overwhelmingly dominated by palustrine forests, otherwise known as floodplain or bottomland hardwoods, which are estimated to account for approximately 80 percent (i.e. 1 million acres) of wetlands in the region. Bottomland/floodplain forests generally occur as narrow corridors along the region’s rivers and streams due to the prevailing moderate topography. Bottomland/floodplain forests are also the dominant wetlands type in the immediate vicinity of the Riverdale Project. They are characterized by moist alluvial soils and are dominated by hardwood species such as sweetgum, loblolly pine, water oak, willow oak, laurel oak, cherrybark oak, and American holly. National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) data for the project area indicate a lack of wetlands in the area immediately surrounding the impoundment and adjacent to the Enoree River immediately downstream from the dam. However, a number of bottomland/ floodplain (palustrine forested) wetlands are located along the river’s floodplain upstream of the dam. These are located well upstream of the influence of the project impoundment, adjacent to a free flowing reach of the river, and thus would not be affected by the project. Riparian areas surrounding the project impoundment and the river downstream from the dam are relatively narrow due to the moderately sloped banks. The well vegetated banks are characterized by abundant willows and alders in areas directly abutting and overhanging the water, with upslope areas containing a VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 mix of bottomland and mesophytic trees typical of the Piedmont including river birch, sycamore, sweetgum, tulip tree, American elm, hackberry, green ash, and red maple. Non-Native Invasive Vegetation In the Piedmont ecoregion, invasive plant populations are often present within the forested communities. Data from the Forest Inventory Analysis, collected by the U.S. Forest Service, indicates that almost three quarters of sampled plots within the Piedmont ecoregion contain at least one exotic (non-native) plant. The South Carolina Exotic Pest Plant Council (South Carolina EPPC) identifies the following terrestrial exotic invasive plants as severe threats to the composition, structure, or function of natural areas in the state of South Carolina: tree-ofheaven, chinaberry, princess tree/royal paulownia, Chinese tallow, scotch broom, thorny-olive, autumn-olive, shrub lespedeza, Japanese privet, Chinese privet, kudzu, English ivy, Japanese climbing fern, Japanese honeysuckle, Cherokee rose, Chinese wisteria, bigleaf periwinkle, tall fescue, cogongrass, Japanese stilt grass, bahia grass, common reed/phragmites, Chinese bush clover, marsh dewflower, and tropical soda apple. As noted above, tree-of-heaven is among the species that are likely common in the riparian area in the vicinity of the project. Tree-of-heaven is a non-native invasive deciduous tree native to central China that has spread throughout the United States in natural, agricultural, and developed areas. Treeof-heaven is a severe ecological threat because it is fast-growing, reproduces prolifically from both seeds 51 and vegetatively from suckers and sprouts from cut stumps, and releases chemicals into the soil that inhibit growth of other plants. In addition, the root system of this species can cause structural damage to concrete structures such as sewers and foundations (Swearingen and Pannill, 2009). Kudzu is a terrestrial non-native invasive species known to occur within Spartanburg County at troublesome levels. The county has concerns regarding the effect of over 1,000 acres of kudzu infestation on beautification efforts in the urban areas of Spartanburg. Kudzu is a climbing, semiwoody, perennial vine native to Asia that was introduced to the United States for erosion control and is now found throughout most of the Southeast. Although kudzu grows best in disturbed 51 While only the female trees produce seeds, a single tree can produce 325,000 seeds annually. PO 00000 Frm 00035 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 76937 areas such as forest edges, abandoned fields, and along roads and trails, this species thrives in a wide range of conditions. Kudzu is a severe ecological threat because it grows rapidly—at a rate of approximately one foot daily— and it can envelope and eventually kill other plants by shading them out, breaking limbs, and even uprooting trees under the weight of its blanket of tangled vines (Bergmann and Swearingen, 2005). Aquatic non-native plant species also occur throughout South Carolina. South Carolina DNR’s Aquatic Nuisance Species Program maintains a list of aquatic plant species currently listed as illegal to possess, import, or distribute in South Carolina. Examples of invasive exotic aquatic plants on this list include alligatorweed, common reed/ phragmites, Eurasian watermilfoil, hydrilla, and water hyacinth (South Carolina DNR, 2010). Where these plants occur, they can obstruct navigable waterways, restrict water flow, degrade water quality, interfere with recreation, and alter fish populations. South Carolina DNR has identified water bodies throughout the state, including two within Spartanburg or Laurens counties, as ‘problem areas,’ or areas where aquatic plants interfere with water uses. These areas and associated aquatic plants include hydrilla, slender naiad, and water primrose at Lake Greenwood; and water primrose and hydrilla at Lake Edwin Johnson (South Carolina DNR, 2012), both of which are located within about 30 miles from the project area. The extensive beds of aquatic vegetation observed in the project impoundment are a mixture of a native smartweed species and alligatorweed, an invasive non-native species. Alligatorweed, an emergent perennial plant, is native to South America (USDA, 2013) and it is listed as a noxious weed in South Carolina. This species can grow in upland sites, but it prefers saturated soils along shorelines of lakes, ponds, streams, ditches, and wetlands. It spreads vegetatively from fragments and by seeds that can be dispersed by water, wildlife, and people. Alligatorweed forms dense mats that grow into open water habitats, shading out native plant species and reducing DO in the water under the mat which, in turn, decreases the quality of the habitat for fish and wildlife. Mats of alligatorweed can also inhibit navigation and recreational use (Madsen). Wildlife Wildlife habitats within the Lockhart Power’s proposed 25.9-acre project area E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 76938 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 are typical of the Piedmont region of South Carolina. Of the 25.9 acres, there are 11.3 acres of terrestrial habitat. The shoreline area is predominately undeveloped riparian and upland forests. Mixed hardwood forest is the dominant terrestrial habitat type along the edge of the project boundary. This habitat type is characterized by a high degree of structure, including both vertical complexity (height class diversity of vegetation) and microhabitat features such as snags, dead-and-down wood, and forest floors consisting of leaves and woody debris. The mixed hardwood forest cover type typically contains a high density of small mammals. This may be attributable to the fact that these areas produce substantial amounts of mast (seeds and nuts) that provide valuable forage habitat for a variety of wildlife species. Other wildlife species potentially using these areas include white-tailed deer, raccoon, fox, wild turkey, grouse, blue jay, ovenbird, red-bellied woodpecker, hairy woodpecker, eastern king snake, black racer, black rat snake, copperhead, and timber rattlesnake. The aquatic and semi-aquatic habitats of the 6.6-acre project headpond and upstream and downstream river reaches also provide wildlife habitat in the project area. Wildlife species that potentially use open water and semiaquatic areas of the impoundments and the lower tailrace and bypassed reach include beaver, muskrat, otter, mink, belted kingfisher, wood duck, great blue heron, green heron, great egret, redbellied water snake, bullfrog, leopard frog, yellowbelly slider turtle, and common snapping turtle. Species typical of river margins include raccoon, woodcock, red-winged blackbird, various thrushes, green treefrog and American toad. Special Status Terrestrial Species There is one terrestrial species documented as occurring in Laurens County that is a candidate for federal listing under the ESA. Georgia aster (Symphyotrichum georgianum) is a perennial herbaceous plant that forms clonal clumps and can spread through modified stems called rhizomes (NatureServe, 2013a). Adequate sunlight appears to be one of the most important factors in the success of this species. Historically this species was found in post oak savanna and prairie communities in the Southeast. This habitat type has dwindled since wildfires have been suppressed and large native grazers are no longer present to maintain it. While there are small isolated populations surviving in areas of Alabama, Georgia, North VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 Carolina, and South Carolina that are maintained in an open, early successional stage such as roadway, railroad, and transmission line rights-ofway (ROW), the species is still threatened by residential development, highway expansion/improvement projects, encroachment of non-native invasive plants, deer browsing, herbicide use, and by woody succession due to wildfire suppression that historically maintained its open grassland habitat (FWS, 2012).52 3.3.3.2 Environmental Effects Currently the project is inoperable and all available flows pass through the impoundment, over the Riverdale dam, and into the shoals and braided channels within the bypassed reach. The plants and wildlife in the riparian corridor along the impoundment and downstream from the dam have adapted to the natural variation in stream flows. Effects of Project Refurbishment and Vegetation Maintenance Refurbishing the project facilities, developing the canoe portage facilities, and maintaining these areas would require clearing or trimming of some vegetation. Heavy equipment and activities associated with the replacement of the 193-foot-long above ground section of the penstock and repairs to the powerhouse, dam, and other project facilities would disturb wildlife near the construction areas. Disturbance to plants and wildlife would also occur during periodic vegetation maintenance, including mowing and/or trimming, around the perimeter of the existing powerhouse and along the transmission line ROW which follows the access road, as well as the area within the proposed portage trail, canoe take-out and put-in, and parking area for recreation. In order to preserve the vegetative communities within the project boundary, Lockhart Power proposes to consult with state and federal resource agencies on the implementation of BMPs during project refurbishment and maintenance activities. Lockhart Power would minimize effects to terrestrial resources by limiting ground-disturbing activities and disturbance of riparian vegetation whenever possible on lands acquired for project purposes. South Carolina DNR supports the applicant’s proposal to consult with state and federal agencies on the implementation of BMPs during all construction and maintenance activities to preserve the vegetative communities within the project boundary. FWS 52 77 PO 00000 FR 69,994, 70,047 (Nov. 21, 2012). Frm 00036 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 recommends that the applicant avoid and minimize any adverse impacts to fish, wildlife, shoreline vegetation, and other natural resources while conducting construction and maintenance activities. Our Analysis The majority of disturbances to vegetation and wildlife related to Lockhart Power’s project refurbishment activities and installation of the proposed recreation area would be temporary, minor, and confined to approximately 2 acres of previously disturbed habitats within the footprint of the former textile mill and associated parking lots and roadways. The noise and movement of equipment and materials associated with replacing the 193-foot-long portion of the penstock could disturb wildlife, especially small species with confined home ranges or limited mobility. However, this portion of the penstock is above ground so the disturbances would be temporary and would not change the character of the surrounding habitat. Most wildlife would likely leave the immediate project area and return when construction and repairs are complete. Periodic mowing along the existing paved access road and trimming of tree limbs and underbrush along the proposed canoe portage trail are necessary to maintain access to the proposed project facilities. Given that the existing project transmission line is adjacent to the access road, periodic mowing would be limited and would not affect any unique terrestrial habitat or change the character of the vegetation within the ROW corridor. The proposed canoe portage is within an existing (non-project) transmission line ROW. Consequently, trimming trees and underbrush to maintain recreation access would cause little incremental disturbance to plants or wildlife. Implementing BMPs during project refurbishment, recreation area installation, and periodic vegetation maintenance activities would minimize potential disturbances to vegetation and wildlife. BMPs to preserve terrestrial habitats could include, but not be limited to, minimizing disturbances to existing vegetation, maintaining a riparian buffer on project shorelines, and cleaning construction and maintenance equipment before and after use to prevent the transport of seeds and fragments of invasive non-native vegetation to new (uninfested) areas. Effects of Invasive Non-Native Plants Alligatorweed is a prolific non-native plant and a South Carolina noxious weed that has become established in the E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 project impoundment. Alligatorweed competes with native riparian and aquatic species, reducing the quality of fish and wildlife habitat where it becomes established. Large mats of alligatorweed can impede boating and access to the shore. These mats could become fragmented and spread during in-water construction activities, such as during the canoe take-out and mechanical removal of sediment from the impoundment. Fluctuations in the impoundment levels and periodic sediment management activities may also create conditions facilitating its spread. Lockhart Power does not propose any specific measures to control existing mats of alligatorweed and does not anticipate that project refurbishment would affect the distribution of this species within the project boundary (Lockhart Power, 2011b). Lockhart Power also states that alligatorweed was not observed growing on the southern shore of the impoundment at the proposed canoe take-out (Lockhart Power, 2012). Similarly, Lockhart Power does not propose any specific measures to control alligatorweed in the impoundment during operation, mainly because it does not anticipate that this species would interfere with project operations. Rather, Lockhart Power states that proposed project operation could aid in controlling this species through periodic dewatering (i.e. drawdowns) and potential exposure to freezing temperatures during the winter months. No one recommended measures to control alligatorweed. Our Analysis Extensive mats of alligatorweed have become established in the project impoundment. Although alligatorweed was not present in areas that would be disturbed during project refurbishment or at the canoe put-in and take-outs in 2010 when Lockhart Power examined the impoundment, it may have spread into these areas. Construction activities could facilitate their spread in the impoundment and downstream from the project. A survey of the impoundment prior to beginning construction repairs and developing the canoe portages would determine if specific BMPs should be taken to prevent its spread. Any such BMPs could be developed in consultation with FWS and South Carolina DNR based on the survey results. Once operational, flow fluctuations from peaking operations may help control the spread of alligatorweed as Lockhart Power suggests. However, VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 daily impoundment fluctuations of 1 to 4 feet can also stress existing riparian communities, causing some of the existing riparian vegetation to die and exposing shorelines to erosion and colonization of non-native invasive plants. Periodic monitoring of invasive species in the impoundment would facilitate early detection of new invasive plant introductions, as well as the spread of invasive species, including the existing mats of alligatorweed. Monitoring would also allow Lockhart Power, the resource agencies, and the Commission to determine when, and if, correction measures may be needed to protect native plant communities and the wildlife that depend on them. To be effective, the monitoring program should define the monitoring schedule, include a means to document changes in invasive species composition and distribution between monitoring events, and include criteria that would determine when corrective actions may be required. Avian Electrocution Hazards Birds in the project area may have become accustomed to using the transmission lines and poles for perching or nesting. Transmission lines can represent an electrocution hazard to roosting and perching birds if the spacing between the conductors and ground wires is narrower than the bird’s wingspan, or when they use poles for nesting. Lockhart Power proposes to use the existing transmission line which extends from the powerhouse along the project access road to an existing Duke Energy distribution line to deliver power to the grid. However, the current condition of the project transmission line is unknown. Lockhart Power also did not provide any description of the design of the transmission lines to determine if the line could represent an electrocution hazard. Lockhart Power did not propose and no one recommended any measures to address these potential hazards. Our Analysis APLIC, a consortium of utilities, and FWS developed guidelines for design of electrical lines to minimize potential for electrocutions (APLIC, 2006). The APLIC guidelines define applicable separation distances for energized conductors and groundwires. The guidelines also describe measures to deter perching and/or nesting depending on transmission line pole designs. As part of project refurbishment, Lockhart Power would need to determine the condition of the existing PO 00000 Frm 00037 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 76939 line as well as any repairs that may be necessary to transmit power. While conducting this initial inspection of the transmission line, Lockhart Power could concurrently evaluate whether the transmission line was built in accordance with the APLIC guidelines and look for evidence of bird nesting on the poles. Depending on the design, corrective measures may be needed to minimize electrocution hazards, which could include monitoring or the installation of insulation, line marking devices, and structures to discourage perching and/or nesting (i.e. for poles where other protection measures cannot be used). However the extent or need for such measures cannot be determined until the evaluation is complete. Effects of Flow Fluctuations on Plants and Wildlife Lockhart Power’s proposal to resume hydroelectric operations with 1 to 4-foot fluctuations in the impoundment would affect some of the terrestrial, riparian, and littoral habitats. Impoundment fluctuations can affect the distribution, species composition, and productivity of riparian and littoral habitat. In general, hydroelectric impoundments with extreme long or short-term fluctuation in water surface elevations exhibit reduced plant species diversity, reduced plant productivity, and a proliferation of exotic species (Stanford et al., 1996), and provide less value for wildlife, especially for breeding waterfowl and hibernating reptiles and amphibians (Nilsson and Berggren, 2000). To address the potential effects of project operation and maintenance on terrestrial resources, Lockhart Power proposes to maintain a 25-foot-wide forested riparian buffer around the project impoundment, as well as the tailrace and bypassed reach downstream from the dam, as long as this does not interfere with Lockhart Power’s ability to perform project-related activities. In order to preserve natural conditions, Lockhart Power would also minimize ground-disturbing activities and disturbance of riparian vegetation whenever possible on acquired lands. Lockhart Power would consult with the South Carolina DNR in the event that it needed to make exceptions to these environmental protection measures. South Carolina DNR and Interior support Lockhart Power’s proposal to establish and maintain a 25-foot riparian buffer on all shorelines within the project boundary and to avoid and/or minimize disturbances and adverse impacts to soils, vegetation, wildlife, and other natural resources. Interior also recommended measures to address E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 76940 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 existing and potential project-induced erosion on project shorelines, as discussed in section 3.3.1, Geologic and Soil Resources. Our Analysis Lockhart Power states that its proposed project operation would only affect those areas within the natural banks of the Enoree River, and, thus, would have no effect on terrestrial resources (Lockhart Power, 2011b). However the 2-foot-tall flashboards were washed out during a storm event in late 2009. The flashboards were subsequently replaced, but were damaged again in 2012 and 2013 by floodwaters, floating logs, and tree stumps (FERC, 2013). Therefore the existing full pool condition is two feet lower than Lockhart Power’s proposed full pool condition and vegetation has had over 3 years to colonize the exposed shoreline. The results of Lockhart Power’s Headpond Fluctuation Study conducted in 2010, indicate that the width of the littoral zone and the associated riparian vegetation along the impoundment has increased since the flashboards were washed out. Once Lockhart Power reinstalls/repairs the flashboards and resumes project operation, a portion of the riparian zone would be inundated again potentially submerging existing vegetation. Riparian plant communities are made up of species adapted to varying degrees of water level fluctuations. Water level fluctuations associated with project operation could lead to changes in species composition and distribution in the riparian zone. Lockhart Power’s proposal to minimize ground-disturbing activities and disturbance of riparian vegetation whenever possible on acquired lands would ensure that effects to terrestrial resources during project operations and maintenance would be minor and temporary. Maintaining a 25-foot-wide forested buffer around the impoundment, the tailrace, and bypassed reach downstream from the dam would minimize the effects of flow fluctuations during project operation by minimizing soil erosion, filtering pollutants and slowing runoff from impermeable surfaces in the project area. The buffer would also preserve a movement corridor for wildlife. Lockhart Power’s proposal to consult with South Carolina DNR regarding any exceptions on its proposed terrestrial resource protection measures would provide a mechanism to address future unforeseen actions that could adversely affect riparian vegetation and the wildlife it supports. Limiting disturbances to soils and vegetation, VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 maintaining a 25-foot riparian buffer, and using the shoreline stabilization methods described in section 3.3.1, Geologic and Soil Resources, would further reduce the potential for invasive plant establishment and protect native plants and wildlife. Effects of Project Repairs, Construction, Operation, and Maintenance on Special Status Terrestrial Species Georgia aster is not known to occur within the project boundary and there is limited potential habitat for this species in the project area. No measures were proposed or recommended to protect this species. Our Analysis Because the majority of the project area is dominated by mature riparian hardwood forest and Lockhart Power proposes to minimize disturbances to existing vegetation wherever possible, it is unlikely that Georgia aster would become established in the project area. Therefore the proposed project repairs, operation, and maintenance are not expected to affect Georgia aster. 3.3.4 Threatened and Endangered Species 3.3.4.1 Affected Environment Three federally listed terrestrial species and one aquatic species are known to or potentially occur in Spartanburg or Laurens Counties, South Carolina and could potentially occur within the project area. Aquatic Species FWS lists the federally endangered Carolina heelsplitter mussel (Lasmigona decorate) as potentially occurring in Laurens County. Endemic to South Carolina and North Carolina, the historic range of this species is not known, although current data suggest it was relatively widespread in the Pee Dee and Catawba river systems in North Carolina and the Pee Dee, Savannah and Saluda systems in South Carolina. Current distribution in South Carolina is limited to generally small populations in the Lynches River (Pee Dee River system), tributaries to the Savannah River, a tributary to the Saluda River, and one location in the Catawba River Basin. Carolina heelsplitter is usually found on mud, muddy sand, or muddy gravel substrates in cool, slow-moving, small to medium-sized streams or rivers along well-shaded streambanks. Stable streambanks and channels, with pool, riffle and run sequences, little or no fine sediment, and periodic natural flooding, appear to be required for the Carolina heelsplitter. The stability of the stream PO 00000 Frm 00038 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 banks appears to be a very important factor in the habitat. South Carolina DNR spatial distribution data for threatened and endangered species indicate no known occurrences of Carolina heelsplitter in Laurens or Spartanburg Counties. Further, freshwater gastropods surveys conducted in the project area in support of relicensing found no live, dead, or shell fragments of Carolina heelsplitter; this species was one of the primary target species of the survey effort. Terrestrial Species One federally listed plant species, the dwarf-flowered heartleaf (Hexastylis naniflora), is known to occur in Spartanburg County. Dwarf-flowered heartleaf is a terrestrial plant species that typically occurs on bluffs and in ravines in deciduous forests with acidic sandy loam soils, often in association with mountain laurel. A search of the South Carolina Heritage Trust Geographic Database of Rare and Endangered Species revealed no occurrences of dwarf-flowered heartleaf in the Enoree Quad, where the project would be located. Further, field surveys of sites containing the Pacolet, Madison, or Musella soil types required by this species, conducted in support of licensing as part of the Rare, Threatened and Endangered Species Assessment, found no occurrences of the species within the project area. The red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis) is listed as endangered at both the state and federal level and is known to occur in Laurens County. The red-cockaded woodpecker is endemic to open, mature, and old growth pine ecosystems in the southeastern United States. Over 97 percent of the pre-colonial era redcockaded woodpecker population has been eradicated, leaving only roughly 14,000 red-cockaded woodpeckers living in about 5,600 colonies scattered across eleven states, including South Carolina. Red-cockaded woodpecker decline is generally attributed to a loss of suitable nesting and foraging habitats, including longleaf pine systems, due to logging, agriculture, fire suppression, and other factors. Suitable nesting habitat generally consists of open pine forests and savannahs with large, older pines and minimal hardwood midstory or overstory. Living trees, especially older trees that are susceptible to redheart disease making them more easily excavated, provide red-cockaded woodpecker’s preferred nesting cavities. Suitable foraging habitat consists of open-canopy, mature pine forests with low densities of small pines, little midstory vegetation, limited hardwood E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices overstory, and abundant bunchgrass and forb groundcover. The expansive old-growth pine forests required by this species do not occur in the areas surrounding the project. Further, South Carolina DNR spatial distribution data indicate no documented occurrences of redcockaded woodpecker in Laurens and Spartanburg Counties, suggesting that the ‘‘known’’ status listed by FWS for Laurens County may potentially be related to historical records of this species. Terrestrial areas within the project area were examined for presence of the mature longleaf pine forest required by red-cockaded woodpeckers as part of the Rare, Threatened and Endangered Species Assessment. No such habitat was documented. 3.3.4.2 Environmental Effects Our Analysis No federally listed species are known to occur within the project area. Suitable habitat for the red-cockaded woodpecker does not occur in the area. Therefore, refurbishment, operation, and maintenance of the proposed project would have no effect on the endangered Carolina heelsplitter mussel, the threatened dwarf-flowered heartleaf, or the endangered redcockaded woodpecker. 3.3.5 3.3.5.1 Recreation and Land Use Affected Environment Recreation tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 Statewide Recreation Plan The 2008 South Carolina State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) guides recreation planning and development in the state. The plan has no specific recommendations for the project area; however, it does identify major goals for recreation within the state. These goals include: Providing a balanced and comprehensive system of public and private recreation opportunities; conserving and interpreting significant historic, cultural, and natural areas; and encouraging cooperation between various agencies, levels of government, private enterprise, and volunteers to meet the state’s recreation needs. The SCORP also identifies issues associated with recreation supply and demand in the state. The plan indicates there is a demand for additional trail development for walking, boating, and equestrian use; additional education and outreach relating to outdoor recreation opportunities; and development of, or improvements to, recreation access for various user groups VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 including the elderly and disabled (South Carolina DPRT, 2008). Regional Recreation Resources Spartanburg and Laurens counties are regionally-important destinations for outdoor recreation activities such as fishing, hiking and sightseeing. The region is home to several state parks, recreation areas and historic sites. Recreation lands account for over 28,000 acres in the region and provide opportunities for hiking, camping, fishing, motorized- and non-motorized boating, horseback riding, picnicking, and wildlife viewing. The South Carolina Rivers Assessment (1988) identifies several high-value recreation areas on the Enoree River. A four-mile reach of the Enoree, upstream of the project, from State Route 14 in Pelham to State Route 296 is identified as regionally significant for whitewater boating, which American Whitewater (2009) identifies as having Class II and III rapids under normal flow conditions. Downstream from the project, from RM 42 to the confluence with the Broad River, the Enoree River is designated as both a regionally-significant flatwater boating river and as a back-country boating river of statewide significance. The entire Enoree River from its headwaters to the confluence with the Broad River is categorized as a recreational fishing river of regional or local significance (South Carolina WRC and NPS, 1988). Formal recreational boating opportunities are provided on the Enoree River Canoe Trail, which begins approximately 16 miles downstream from the project, at the western border of the Sumter National Forest’s Enoree Ranger district (RM 36). The trail continues through the National Forest to the Enoree River’s confluence with the Broad River. Six hand-carry boat ramps provide access to the canoe trail for nonmotorized boaters. The canoe trail is characterized by steep hardwood bluffs, bottomland forests, and small marshy areas. In the early spring, high flows make the river unsafe for flatwater recreational boating. In the late spring and fall, fast-moving flatwater conditions are best for experienced paddlers. Summer flows, particularly during drought conditions, are generally too low for recreational boating (U.S. Forest Service, 2010). The South Carolina Trails Plan (2002) identifies 45 miles of Enoree River in Spartanburg County and 5 miles of the river in Union County for future development as a canoe trail. PO 00000 Frm 00039 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 76941 Recreation in the Project Vicinity In the vicinity of the project, boating on the Enoree River is limited by a lack of developed boating access and boat ramps. The shallow nature of some sections of the river, which typically ranges in depth from 2 to 6 feet, limits boating access to canoes and flatbottomed boats of less than 14 feet in length (U.S. Forest Service, 2010). Nonmotorized boaters typically access the river at informal locations like bridge crossings or dams. There are no formal portage facilities on the stretch of river near the proposed project, and small dams, such as the Riverdale dam, impede navigation. Angling activities near the proposed project occur primarily from shore and are concentrated in tributaries and below the Pelham and Riverdale dams. Largemouth bass, crappie, channel catfish, yellow perch, bluegill, gizzard shad, redear sunfish, and redbreast sunfish are the primary game fish expected in the Enoree River (see section 3.3.2, Aquatic Resources). There is no fish consumption advisory for the Enoree River in the vicinity of the project. Recreation at the Proposed Project There are no formal recreation facilities located at the project. Under Inman Mill’s license, the project was exempt from filing the Licensed Hydropower Development Recreation Report (FERC Form 80) because of the lack of recreation facilities and potential for recreation use.53 However, members of the public periodically use the impoundment for fishing, as evidenced by the presence of discarded bait containers, fishing line, and other debris. Land Use The project is located on the Enoree River, which comprises the border between Laurens and Spartanburg counties, South Carolina. The project is located within the Enoree River subwatershed, which extends from the confluence of Beaverdam Creek, immediately upstream of the project impoundment at RM 52, to Duncan Creek south of the town of Whitmire at RM 20. Lands in the subwatershed are typically undeveloped, with forest lands comprising 61.6 percent of the watershed and agricultural lands comprising an additional 26.7 percent. Major agricultural uses include hay pastures and crops such as peaches, soybeans, and grain corn. Other land uses within the watershed are urban/ 53 See FERC issuance of March 16, 1998 for the Riverdale Project No. 4362. E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 76942 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices developed lands (5.8 percent), wetlands (4.5 percent), and barren lands (1.8 percent). The most intensive land uses in the project vicinity occur in the town of Enoree, located north of the project in Spartanburg County, and the town of Lanford, to the south of the project in Laurens County. These areas are characterized primarily by residential, commercial, and industrial development. Both counties regulate private land development through planning and zoning measures. The project boundary encloses approximately 25.9 acres, of which 11.3 acres are land. The remainder is occupied by the waters of the impoundment, bypassed reach, and tailrace. Aerial photos indicate that within the project boundary, the predominant land cover is forest. The bypassed reach of the Enoree River is characterized by bedrock, granite dome, and cobble overlaid with sand bars, which create a series of riffles and pools. Limited industrial use, including the project’s powerhouse and disturbed areas formerly occupied by Inman Mills, is also present along the northern shoreline of the project. For more information about ground cover and wildlife habitat within the project boundary, see sections 3.3.1, Geologic and Soil Resources and 3.3.3, Terrestrial Resources. There are no lands in the immediate vicinity of the project that are included in the national trails system or designated as wilderness lands. No portion of the Enoree River is included on the list of wild and scenic rivers; however, the reach of the Enoree River from RM 0 to RM 98 is listed on the Nationwide Rivers Inventory (NRI) for its outstanding values in scenery, recreation, geology, fish, wildlife, history, and cultural significance. The NRI, which was created in 1982 and amended in 1993, identifies river segments in the United States that are believed to possess one or more ‘‘outstandingly remarkable’’ natural or cultural values judged to be of more than local or regional significance (NPS, 2011). tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 3.3.5.2 Environmental Effects Recreation Enhancements and Public Access Lockhart Power proposes to construct and maintain a 1,650 foot-long portage trail around the dam, a parking area adjacent to the portage trail, a canoe take-out located approximately 220 feet upstream of the dam, and a canoe putin located approximately 1,075 feet downstream from the dam. Signage VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 would be posted at both the canoe takeout and put-in denoting their purpose. Directional signage would be used along the portage trail to indicate the locations of the take-out and put-in. Lockhart Power also proposes to provide informal public access for fishing at the project, including at the impoundment, tailrace, and bypass reach. All proposed recreation facilities would be located within the project boundary. The proposed portage trail and parking area would be located entirely on lands owned by the Woodruff Roebuck Water District. The trail would follow two separate transmission line ROW, owned and maintained by Duke Energy, that cross the Water District’s property. Lockhart Power has proposed to operate and maintain the recreation facilities through an agreement with the Water District. FWS, South Carolina DNR, and American Rivers concur with the proposed recreation measures. Our Analysis Lockhart Power’s proposed recreation enhancement measures, including the canoe take-out, put-in, and portage trail would address the need for canoe trail development in the region, as identified by the South Carolina State Trails Plan (2002) and South Carolina SCORP (2008). The addition of a formal portage trail along with signs identifying the canoe take-out and put-in would improve access to the outdoors and enhance the quality of the recreation experience on the Enoree River. Signage and parking would improve accessibility and provide information about recreation opportunities at the site. Increased recreation use induced by the proposed recreation features may negatively affect wildlife and aquatic habitat at the project. However, by formalizing recreation access, Lockhart Power would have more opportunities to manage the effects of recreation on sensitive areas. For example, although the portage trail may bring additional recreation use to the area, it would also protect terrestrial resources from the effects of informal portaging that may already be occurring. The shoals in the bypassed reach, a unique habitat on the Enoree River, would be protected by guiding users to a developed put-in, rather than dispersing access along the reach. The spread of non-native invasive terrestrial plant species, such as Japanese stilt grass, would be minimized by restricting foot traffic to the maintained transmission line ROW. Lockhart Power expects that the public would continue informal use of the impoundment and areas PO 00000 Frm 00040 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 downstream from the dam for fishing or sightseeing. Signage indicating standard safety measures, as required as part of any Commission-issued license, would ensure that public access would not compromise project operations, safety, or security. Additional signage referring to ‘‘pack-it-in, pack-it-out’’ garbage disposal at the parking area, as well as the canoe take-out and put-in, could limit negative effects of public use on the surrounding environment. The Licensed Hydropower Development Recreation Report (Form 80—filed every 6 years) would allow Lockhart Power to assess recreation use at the project and determine if additional measures would be needed to address future recreation use. Effects of Project Operation and Flows on Recreation Project operation has the potential to affect recreational boating at the project. Lockhart Power proposes to operate the project in ROR mode with daily peaking, as well as maintain continuous minimum flows of 50 cfs in the bypassed reach during project operations. See section 2.2.1, Proposed Project Operation, for a more detailed description of Lockhart Power’s proposal. Interior and South Carolina DNR recommend Lockhart Power provide minimum flows to the bypassed reach that are consistent with the Water Plan. American Rivers recommends seasonally-adjusted, continuous instream flows for the bypassed reach. The minimum flows recommended by Interior, South Carolina DNR, and American Rivers are higher than those recommended by Lockhart Power. Our Analysis The proposed canoe put-in, which would be located downstream from the dam on the shore of the bypassed reach, may be unusable under low-flow conditions. In situations where the canoe launch is unusable, boaters would be required to portage to an area farther downstream past the confluence of the Enoree River and the project tailrace. Informal portaging could affect wildlife habitat or increase the spread of invasive plant species. Higher minimum flows in the bypassed reach, as recommended by Interior, South Carolina DNR, and American Rivers would provide greater latitude for boat launching in the bypassed reach. However, the effect of diverting flows from the bypassed reach is unlikely to be significant because during summer months or in drought conditions, much of the Enoree River is too shallow for recreational boating, independent of project operations. E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 Spring and fall are the primary boating seasons on the Enoree, and during those periods flows through the project would be sufficient for use of the proposed portage trail and canoe put-in. Flow fluctuations associated with peaking also have the potential to affect recreational flows downstream from the project in the Enoree River. As discussed in section 3.3.2, Aquatic Resources, peaking operations would ultimately alter the existing natural flow regime to one of increased daily fluctuation downstream from the tailrace and in the bypassed reach. Lower flow through the project when the project’s impoundment recharges would negatively affect recreation downstream from the project by increasing the likelihood that boaters would need to portage shallow areas of the river. However, pulses of higher flows when peaking operation begins may provide recreational benefits by providing additional boating depth downstream from the project. Because Lockhart Power anticipates operating in ROR mode for much of the time, the effects of peaking operations are expected to be minimal. Drawdowns of the project impoundment associated with peaking operations, may also affect use and maintenance of the proposed canoe take-out and recreational boating upstream of the dam. However, standard canoe launch designs can accommodate a wide range of river levels, with proper siting and maintenance. Lockhart Power’s proposed canoe take-out would be a positive amenity on a section of the river that currently is undeveloped for recreation. Additionally, conditions for recreational boating immediately upstream of the project may improve with repair to the project’s flashboards and maintenance of the project impoundment. Land Use Lockhart Power proposes to restore the project to operating status and construct recreation enhancements within the project boundary. In addition, Lockhart Power proposes to maintain all lands within 25 feet of the project shorelines as a forested riparian buffer, unless those lands are required for other project purposes. Lockhart Power also proposes to negotiate with the Water District regarding maintenance of forested riparian buffers on any lands that the applicant cannot obtain through purchase. FWS and South Carolina DNR concur with the proposed land management measures to stabilize erosion of project shorelines, reduce runoff into the Enoree River, and provide wildlife habitat. VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 Our Analysis Refurbishing, operating, and maintaining the proposed project would have no effect on land use within the project boundary. The addition of a portage trail would add additional recreation lands to the project boundary; however, that use would be consistent with existing land use. Additionally, the portage trail would follow two existing transmission line ROW, limiting ground disturbance and reducing the potential for effects on terrestrial habitat within the project boundary. The applicant’s proposal to maintain a 25-foot forested buffer along project shorelines would be consistent with the recommendations by FWS and South Carolina DNR to protect shoreline and riparian habitats. Additional analysis of measures to reduce erosion, prevent runoff, and protect wildlife habitat are discussed in sections 3.3.1., Geologic and Soil Resources, and 3.3.3., Terrestrial Resources. The Enoree River’s designation on the NRI would not be affected by the proposed project. The reach of the Enoree River from RM 0 to RM 98 was listed on the NRI in 1982, when the project was operational. Returning the project to operating status would be unlikely to significantly affect or alter the character of the river. Further, the addition of a portage trail would improve recreation access to a reach of the Enoree River that has been identified for its outstanding recreation value. 3.3.6 3.3.6.1 Cultural Resources Affected Environment Area of Potential Effects Section 106 of the NHPA of 1966, as amended, requires that the Commission evaluate the potential effects of continued operation of the project on properties listed or eligible for listing on the National Register. Such properties listed, or eligible for listing, in the National Register are called historic properties. In this case, the Commission must take into account whether any historic property could be affected within the project’s area of potential effects (APE). The APE is defined as the geographic area or areas within which an undertaking may directly or indirectly cause alterations in the character or use of historic properties, if any such properties exist. We define the APE for the proposed Riverdale Project as: (1) Lands enclosed by the proposed project boundary; and (2) lands or properties adjoining the proposed project boundary, where the authorized project uses may cause changes in the PO 00000 Frm 00041 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 76943 character or use of historic properties, if historic properties exist. Cultural History Overview The archaeological record dates Native American presence in central South Carolina to at least the late PaleoIndian period (11,000 B.C.-8,000 B.C.). The earliest Native Americans in the area used the region to forage and hunt on a seasonal basis. Over the Archaic (8,000 B.C.-1,000 B.C.) and Woodland (1,000 B.C.-1000 A.D.) periods, Native populations grew larger and more sedentary. These populations developed trade networks and became more dependent on agriculture for subsistence (FERC, 2010). Prior to European settlement, the primary Native American groups in the region were the Catawba and Cherokee. The Cherokee maintained territory in the area of Spartanburg County until 1777 (Benson, 2006). Permanent European settlement in South Carolina began in 1670 on the Ashley River near present-day Charleston. By 1700, settlers had moved inland and up the Congaree River to the fall line (south of present-day Columbia, South Carolina), which marked the upper limit of navigation. Modern industrial development of upstate South Carolina began in 1815 with the construction of series of water-powered textile mills in Greenville and Spartanburg counties. Many early mills failed due to lack of capital, shortage of workers, limited distribution, and competition from more established textile mills in New England and New York. Following the Civil War, local investors began to renew their interest in the region’s textile mills. In 1888, a group of Charleston investors purchased property for the Riverdale Mill, which was constructed between two hills with Two Mile Creek running under the factory. The project’s original hydroelectric facilities, including the dam, forebay, headrace, penstock, and turbine were installed between 1910 and 1913 and were used to power the manufacturing operations at the mill. The mill changed owners several times during the twentieth century, being last owned by Inman Mills, which refurbished the project’s turbine and penstock in the 1980s. The project has been inoperable since 2001, when the adjacent textile mill was closed. The original mill buildings and powerhouse were removed by the current owner and the original concrete and brick masonry powerhouse was replaced with a wood frame building with a wood truss roof system and asphalt shingles. E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 76944 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices Archeological Resources and Historic Properties There are no known archeological sites or historic properties that would be affected by the proposed Riverdale Project. As discussed previously, while the project dates from the early 20th century, many of the mill’s original facilities were removed in recent years. 3.3.6.2 Environmental Effects On November 23, 2009, the Commission designated Lockhart Power as a non-federal section 106 representative, which enabled it to conduct the day-to-day section 106 consultation responsibilities pursuant to 36 CFR § 800.2(c)(4) of the Preservation Act regarding their proposal to repair or upgrade the existing turbine unit and return the project to operation. By letter dated December 7, 2009 and filed as part of the license application on August 31, 2010, the South Carolina SHPO determined that no historic properties listed in, or eligible for listing in, the National Register would be affected by the project. By letter filed September 30, 2010, the Catawba Indian Nation stated that they have no immediate concerns with regard to traditional cultural properties, sacred sites, or Native American archeological sites at the project. The Catawba Indian Nation also commented that the tribe should be notified if Native American artifacts and/or human remains are located during ground disturbing activities. In comments efiled January 18, 2012, the Catawba Indian Nation requested that the applicant consult with the tribe prior to any ground disturbing activities and indicated that a cultural resource survey involving shovel testing would likely be required. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 Our Analysis Based on the assessment of the South Carolina SHPO and the information in the record for this proceeding, operation of the proposed project would not alter the historic character of existing structures. In addition, there would be no historic properties affected by the construction and operation of the proposed project. At this time, there is also no evidence indicating the presence of archeological properties within the project’s APE that would warrant a cultural resource survey and shovel testing as recommended by the Catawba Indian Nation. However, it is possible that unknown archaeological or historic resources may be discovered in the future as a result of project construction, operation, or other project related VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 activities. If such resources are discovered, immediately stopping work and consulting with the Commission, the South Carolina SHPO and the Catawba Indian Nation to define appropriate treatment would prevent any further harm to previously unidentified archaeological or cultural artifacts. 3.4 No-Action Alternative Under the no-action alternative, the Riverdale Project would not be refurbished, operated, and maintained by Lockhart Power. There would be no changes to the physical, biological, or cultural resources of the area, and electrical generation from the project would not occur. The power that would have been developed from a renewable resource would have to be replaced from nonrenewable fuels. The proposed public recreation amenities and access points would not be built and public access to the Enoree River in this area would not be available. 4.0 Developmental Analysis In this section, we look at the Riverdale Project’s use of the Enoree River for hydropower purposes to see what effect various environmental measures would have on the project’s costs and power benefits. Under the Commission’s approach to evaluating the economics of hydropower projects, as articulated in Mead Corp.,54 the Commission compares the current project cost to an estimate of the cost of obtaining the same amount of energy and capacity using a likely alternative source of power for the region (cost of alternative power). In keeping with Commission policy as described in Mead, our economic analysis is based on current electric power cost conditions and does not consider future escalation of fuel prices in valuing the hydropower project’s power benefits. For each of the licensing alternatives, our analysis includes an estimate of: (1) The cost of individual measures considered in the EA for the protection, mitigation, and enhancement of environmental resources affected by the project; (2) the cost of alternative power; (3) the total project cost (i.e. for construction, operation, maintenance, and environmental measures); and (4) the difference between the cost of alternative power and the total project cost. If the difference between the cost of alternative power and the total 54 See Mead Corporation, Publishing Paper Division, 72 FERC ¶ 61,027 (July 13, 1995). In most cases, electricity from hydropower would displace some form of fossil-fueled generation, in which fuel cost is the largest component of the cost of electricity production. PO 00000 Frm 00042 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 project cost is positive, the project would produce power for less than the cost of alternative power. If the difference between the cost of alternative power and the total project cost is negative, the project would produce power for more than the cost of alternative power. This estimate helps to support an informed decision concerning what is in the public interest with respect to a proposed license. However, project economics is only one of many public interest factors the Commission considers in determining whether, and under what conditions, to issue a license. 4.1 Power and Developmental Benefits of the Project Table 12 summarizes the assumptions and economic information we use in our analysis. This information was provided by Lockhart Power in its license application and its responses to staff’s additional information requests. We find that the values provided by Lockhart Power are reasonable for the purposes of our analysis. Cost items common to all alternatives include: Taxes and insurance costs; net investment (the total investment in power plant facilities to be depreciated); estimated future capital investment required to maintain and extend the life of plant equipment and facilities; licensing costs; normal operation and maintenance cost; and Commission fees. Throughout this section all dollars are 2013, unless otherwise specified. TABLE 12—PARAMETERS FOR THE ECONOMIC ANALYSIS OF THE PROPOSED RIVERDALE PROJECT [Source: Staff and Lockhart Power] Economic parameter Average annual generation (MWh). Composite power value .......... Period of analysis ................... Term of financing .................... Capital investment .................. License application cost .......... Interest/discount rate .............. Federal tax rate ....................... State tax .................................. Insurance (percent) ................. Annual Operation and Maintenance. Value 4,895.a $72.31/ MWh.b 30 years. 20 years. $5,225,000.c $200,000.a 7.0 percent.d 34 percent.d 3.0 percent.d 0.25. $81,000.d a Value from license application dated August 31, 2010, as clarified in Lockhart Power’s responses to staff’s additional information request, filed on August 5, 2011. E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 76945 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices b The composite power value was provided by Lockhart Power and incorporates peak and off-peak energy and capacity rates and a value for Renewable Energy Credits offered by North Carolina. The basis of these values is a power purchase contract currently offered by Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC. c This value includes staff’s estimate of cost to purchase the project site and Lockhart Power’s estimate to rehabilitate the project features. d Assumed by staff. 4.2 Comparison of Alternatives Table 13 summarizes the installed capacity, annual generation, cost of alternative power, estimated total project cost, and the difference between the cost of alternative power and total project cost for the three alternatives considered in this EA: No-action, Lockhart Power’s proposal, and the staff alternative. TABLE 13—SUMMARY OF ANNUAL COST, POWER BENEFITS, AND ANNUAL NET BENEFITS OF THE ALTERNATIVES FOR THE RIVERDALE PROJECT [Source: Staff] Parameter No-action Annual generation (MWh) .......................................................................................... Annual cost of alternative power ............................................................................... ($/MWh) ..................................................................................................................... Annual project cost .................................................................................................... ($/MWh) ..................................................................................................................... Difference between the cost of alternative power and project cost .......................... ($/MWh) ..................................................................................................................... Lockhart Power’s proposal 0.0 $0 0.00 $0.00 0.00 $0.0 0.00 4,895 $353,957 72.31 $619,336 126.52 ($265,378) (54.21) Staff alternative 4,370 $315,995 72.31 $613,481 140.38 ($297,487) (68.07) Note: A number in parentheses denotes that the difference between the cost of alternative power and project cost is negative, thus the total project cost is greater than the cost of alternative power. 4.2.1 No-Action Alternative Under the no-action alternative, Lockhart Power would not rehabilitate the Riverdale Project; the project would not generate electricity; and no environmental protection, mitigation, or enhancement measures would be implemented. 4.2.2 Lockhart Power’s Proposal The Riverdale Project has been inoperable since 2001. After repairing the hydroelectric facilities, Lockhart Power proposes to operate the project in a ROR mode, with daily peaking under certain flow conditions. Upon completion of the proposed repairs, the project’s installed capacity would be 1.24 MW and would generate an average of 4,895 MWh of electricity annually. The average annual cost of alternative power under Lockhart Power’s proposal would be about $353,957 ($72.31/ MWh). The average annual project cost would be about $619,336 ($126.52/ MWh). Overall, the project would produce power at a cost that is about $265,378 ($54.21/MWh) more than the cost of alternative power. 4.2.3 Staff Alternative The staff alternative includes most of the measures proposed by Lockhart Power, with some modifications and additional recommended measures. The additional staff-recommended measures that would increase the annual cost of the project include: (a) A soil erosion and sediment control plan; (b) a sediment management plan; (c) a shoreline stabilization plan; (d) a water quality monitoring plan; (e) higher continuous minimum flows in the bypassed reach; (f) an operation compliance monitoring plan; (g) an invasive vegetation monitoring and control plan; and (h) an evaluation of the project transmission line consistency with APLIC guidelines. Under the staff alternative, the project would generate an average of 4,370 MWh of electricity annually. The average annual cost of alternative power under the staff alternative would be about $315,995 ($72.31/MWh). The average annual project cost would be about $613,481 ($140.38/MWh). Overall, the project would produce power at a cost that is about $297,487 ($68.07/MWh) more than the cost of alternative power. The staff alternative would increase the annual project cost about $32,109, or about $13.86/MWh, compared to the project as proposed by Lockhart Power. 4.3 Cost of Environmental Measures Table 14 gives the cost of each of the environmental enhancement measures considered in our analysis.55 We convert all costs to equal annual (levelized) values over a 30-year period of analysis to give a uniform basis for comparing the benefits of a measure to its cost. TABLE 14—COST OF ENVIRONMENTAL MITIGATION AND ENHANCEMENT MEASURES CONSIDERED IN ASSESSING THE ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS OF REFURBISHING, OPERATING, AND MAINTAINING THE RIVERDALE PROJECT [Source: Staff and Lockhart Power] Enhancement/mitigation measure Entities Capital cost (2013$) Annual cost (2013$) Levelized cost (2013$) tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 Geology and Soils Resources 1. Develop and implement a soil erosion and sediment control plan, which includes the BMPs described in the South Carolina DHEC’s Stormwater BMP Handbook. 55 Lockhart Power provided costs for specific protection, mitigation, and enhancement measures VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 South Carolina DNR, Staff. 5,000 in its license application dated August 31, 2010, and in its responses to the Commission’s additional PO 00000 Frm 00043 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 0 390 information request (Lockhart Power, 2011a; 2011b; 2012). E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 76946 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices TABLE 14—COST OF ENVIRONMENTAL MITIGATION AND ENHANCEMENT MEASURES CONSIDERED IN ASSESSING THE ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS OF REFURBISHING, OPERATING, AND MAINTAINING THE RIVERDALE PROJECT—Continued [Source: Staff and Lockhart Power] Enhancement/mitigation measure Entities 2. Implement a sediment management plan that consists of using the sand gates for periodic inspections and maintenance drawdowns and, if possible, avoiding drawdowns from March 15 through June 1. 3. Develop and implement a sediment management plan that includes provisions to: (a) Test impoundment sediments for heavy metals and other contaminants prior to beginning in-water construction activities; (b) prepare a contingency plan for proper disposal b of any contaminated sediments found in the impoundment; (c) monitor sediment accumulation in the impoundment annually; (d) develop criteria that would trigger, sediment removal and proper disposal, if necessary; (e) conduct maintenance drawdowns in late fall and winter (November through January); (f) avoid drawdowns from March 15 through June 1, if possible; and (g) file an annual report. 4. Develop and implement a shoreline stabilization plan with provisions to: (a) Identify eroding or potential projectinduced erosion sites on project shorelines prior to operation; (b) stabilize areas of shoreline erosion; (c) monitor shorelines after resuming operation and implement stabilization techniques as necessary; (d) conduct shoreline stabilization activities from September through February if possible; and (e) file an annual report. Lockhart Power ..... Capital cost (2013$) Annual cost (2013$) Levelized cost (2013$) 0 a0 0 c 12,000 d 1,000 1,597 5,000 1,000 1,050 20,000 0 1,561 Lockhart Power ..... 0 30,567 e 20,174 Interior,f South Carolina DNR, NMFS, American Rivers. 0 122,501 e 80,851 Staff ....................... 0 69,000 e 45,540 Interior, South Carolina DNR, NMFS, Staff. 7,000 0 546 South Carolina DNR, Interior, staff. Lockhart Power, Staff. 5,000 0 390 15,000 1,500 2,161 15,000 0 1,171 Interior, South Carolina DNR, Staff. Interior, Staff .......... Aquatic Resources tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 5. Develop and implement a water quality monitoring plan with provisions to: (a) Monitor DO, temperature, and turbidity prior to the start of construction, during construction, and for 1 year after project operation begins; (b) define sampling methods, timing, and locations for monitoring these parameters in consultation with South Carolina DHEC, FWS, and NMFS; and (c) file a report that presents the monitoring data, describes any project-related effects and identifies corrective actions if necessary. 6. Maintain a minimum flow of 50 cfs in the bypassed reach and a total minimum continuous flow of 60 cfs downstream from the project. 7. Provide the following seasonal minimum instream flows into the bypassed reach (based on the South Carolina Water Plan and a MADF of 393 cfs): 79 cfs (July–November), 118 cfs (May, June, and December), and 157 cfs (January–April). 8. Provide a continuous minimum instream flow of 75 cfs into the bypassed reach. 9. Develop and implement a plan to release required minimum flows into the bypassed reach that includes: (a) A feasibility assessment for using the sand gates as a flowrelease mechanism; (b) if found to be feasible, a study to determine how the sand gates would be used to distribute flow into the bypassed reach; (c) if the sand gates are not feasible, a description of how the minimum instream flows would be provided to the bypassed reach; (d) a report documenting the outcome of the feasibility assessment, flow study, and consultation with the agencies; and (e) an implementation schedule. 10. Develop and implement a low inflow protocol/drought contingency plan. 11. Develop and implement an operation compliance monitoring plan that includes: (a) A rating curve to provide the seasonally defined flows; (b) protocols to monitor and document compliance with required flows; (c) protocols to monitor and document impoundment fluctuations; and (d) an implementation schedule. 12. Modify trash rack bar spacing at the headrace intake by decreasing the spacing from 2.25 inches to 1 inch. VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 PO 00000 Interior, NMFS, Staff. Interior ................... Frm 00044 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 76947 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices TABLE 14—COST OF ENVIRONMENTAL MITIGATION AND ENHANCEMENT MEASURES CONSIDERED IN ASSESSING THE ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS OF REFURBISHING, OPERATING, AND MAINTAINING THE RIVERDALE PROJECT—Continued [Source: Staff and Lockhart Power] Capital cost (2013$) Annual cost (2013$) Levelized cost (2013$) Enhancement/mitigation measure Entities 13. Conduct fish surveys before and after construction, and 1 year after construction is complete. 14. Conduct comprehensive invertebrate surveys before and after construction, and 1 year after construction is complete. Interior ................... 30,000 0 2,341 Interior ................... 9,000 0 702 Lockhart Power, Interior, South Carolina DNR, and Staff. g0 g0 0 Staff ....................... h 6,000 h 1,000 1,128 Staff ....................... h 5,000 0 390 Lockhart Power, Interior, South Carolina DNR, and Staff. 15,000 4,000 e 3,811 Lockhart Power, Interior, South Carolina DNR, and Staff. Lockhart Power, Staff. 0 0 0 i0 1,000 e 660 0 0 0 h 10,000 0 780 Terrestrial Resources 15. Implement BMPs to protect vegetation within the project boundary, such as limiting vegetation and ground-disturbing activities and maintaining a minimum 25-foot-wide forested riparian buffer on project shorelines, as long as this does not interfere with Lockhart Power’s ability to perform project-related activities. 16. Develop and implement an invasive vegetation monitoring and control plan that includes: (a) Survey methods to determine the extent of alligatorweed in the impoundment and riparian area prior to beginning refurbishment activities; (b) BMPs, as well as monitoring and control methods to prevent the spread of alligatorweed in the impoundment to areas downstream from the dam during project refurbishment; (c) monitoring protocols to detect the introduction or spread of other invasive plants within the project boundary during operation and maintenance; (d) criteria that would determine when corrective actions would be required; and (e) a schedule for filing monitoring reports and any recommended control measures. 17. Determine if the project transmission line is consistent with APLIC guidelines, consult with FWS, and file a report with the Commission describing the results of the evaluation and any measures recommended by FWS. Recreational and Land Use 18. Construct and maintain a canoe take-out located approximately 220 feet upstream of the dam; a canoe put-in located approximately 1,075 feet downstream from the dam; a 1,650-foot-long portage trail connecting the proposed canoe take-out and put-in; and a parking area located adjacent to the proposed portage trail. 19. Provide informal public access for fishing at the project impoundment, tailrace, and bypassed reach. 20. Install informational signage that includes: (1) Identification of the canoe take-out and put in; (2) directions from the parking area to river access points; and (3) information regarding garbage disposal. Cultural Resources tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 21. Stop work and notify the South Carolina SHPO and the Catawba Indian Nation, and follow the South Carolina SHPO’s guidance if any unknown archaeological resources are discovered as a result of project construction, operation, or project-related activities. 22. Consult with the Catawba Indian Nation prior to any ground disturbing activities, and conduct a cultural resource survey involving shovel tests, if necessary. Staff ....................... Catawba Indian Nation. a Sediment management would occur in conjunction with periodic inspections and maintenance activities. There are no additional costs associated with this measure. b We assume that the cost of initial sediment disposal, if necessary, is included in Lockhart Power’s estimates for project refurbishment. c This cost includes the initial/capital cost of monitoring sediment accumulation in the impoundment. d The precise frequency of monitoring sediment accumulation would likely be determined after consultation with the South Carolina DHEC, the Corps, South Carolina DNR, and Interior. e In many cases in this table, the 30-year levelized cost is lower than the annual cost (i.e. operation and maintenance cost). The reason for this is the levelized cost includes an estimate of tax savings that the applicant would realize due to the combined high capital (including interest and depreciation) and operation and maintenance costs of the measure. f Interior’s recommendation actually called for a seasonal flow of 80 cfs from July through November instead of 79 cfs. VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 PO 00000 Frm 00045 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 76948 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices g We estimate that the implementation of the measure would not result in any appreciable additional cost. estimated by staff. cost is included in the $15K for constructing and maintaining the portage trail. The additional staff measures are not expected to increase the overall cost. h Cost i This 5.0 Conclusions and Recommendations Lockhart Power’s proposal as modified by staff, and the no-action alternative. We estimate the annual generation of the project under those three alternatives. Our analysis shows that the annual generation would be 4,895 MWh 5.1 Comparison of Alternatives In this section we compare the development and non-developmental effects of Lockhart Power’s proposal, for the proposed action and 4,370 MWh for the staff alternative. Under the noaction alternative, no power would be generated. We summarize the environmental effects of the different alternatives below in table 15. TABLE 15—COMPARISON OF ALTERNATIVES FOR THE RIVERDALE PROJECT [Source: staff] No action alternative Proposed action Staff recommended alternative Generation ................... Geology and Soils ....... 0 MWh ........................ Impoundment sediments would continue to accumulate and be flushed downstream from the dam during high flows. 4,895 MWh ...................................................... Project refurbishment would disturb about 2 acres of vegetation. Implementing BMPs would minimize soil disturbance and erosion. Avoiding drawing down the impoundment between March 15 and June 1 would prevent the release of large quantities of sediment into the bypassed reach in the Enoree River during fish spawning season. Water Quality (during construction). No change in existing water quality conditions. Short-term increases in turbidity and sedimentation during rehabilitation; BMPs would minimize erosion and sedimentation. Water Quality (postconstruction). No change in existing water quality conditions. Project flow diversions could reduce DO levels and raise water temperatures in bypassed reach. Fishery Resources (during construction). No change to the fishery resources. Short-term increases in turbidity and sedimentation during construction could adversely affect fish habitat in the Enoree River downstream from the dam. Fishery Resources (post-construction). No change to the fishery resources. No change in existing conditions. Reduction of flow to 50 cfs in the bypassed reach and 60 cfs downstream from the project would likely result in poor to low quality fishery and benthic habitat conditions in the bypassed reach; Impoundment surface elevation fluctuations of up to 4 feet below full pool with associated adverse effects on impoundment fish habitats; Entrainment of fish through the development’s 2.25-inch trashrack. Project refurbishment, operation, and maintenance would result in minor, temporary disturbances to upland vegetation and wildlife. However, in-water repair work, peaking operation, and sediment management activities could fragment and spread alligatorweed from the impoundment to areas downstream or facilitate introduction of other invasive plants. In addition, project transmission lines may represent an electrocution hazard to birds. 4,370 MWh. Same as proposed action, but implementing a site-specific soil erosion and sediment control plan and a more clearly defined sediment management plan would more effectively minimize erosion and impoundment sediment loads, helping to prevent an accidental release of large quantities of sediment downstream. Implementing a shoreline stabilization plan would further reduce potential erosion and sedimentation during operations and also benefit fish and wildlife in the riparian and littoral areas of the project. Same proposed action, but implementing a water quality monitoring plan during preand post- construction activities would provide a mechanism to identify and address water quality effects. Same as proposed action, except higher minimum flows would reduce the potential for elevated temperatures and low DO levels. Implementing a water quality monitoring plan would detect any effects to water quality caused by project operations and maintenance. Same as proposed action, except that implementation of a water quality monitoring plan and a soil erosion and sediment control plan during construction activities may minimize adverse effects of turbidity and sedimentation on fish habitat downstream from the dam. Same as the proposed action except that minimum flows in the bypassed reach would be reduced to 75 cfs year-round. Minimum flows would maintain adequate conditions for fish and benthic macroinvertebrates. Terrestrial Resources .. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 Resource Wetlands ...................... No effect ..................... No effect .......................................................... VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 PO 00000 Frm 00046 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 Same as proposed action, except developing and implementing an invasive vegetation monitoring and control plan, would minimize spread and introductions of non-native invasive plants and benefit native plant communities and the fish and wildlife in the project area. In addition, evaluating the transmission line for consistency with APLIC guidelines and consulting with FWS to identify mitigative measures, if needed, would minimize the risk of avian electrocution. No effect. E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices 76949 TABLE 15—COMPARISON OF ALTERNATIVES FOR THE RIVERDALE PROJECT—Continued [Source: staff] Resource No action alternative Proposed action Threatened and Endangered Species. Recreational Access .... No effect ..................... No effect .......................................................... No effect. No effect ..................... The addition of a portage trail, parking, and directional signage would improve canoe portaging around the project. Land Use ..................... No effect ..................... Cultural Resources ...... No effect ..................... Slight increase in recreation land use within the project boundary. This use would be consistent with existing land uses, and, therefore, would have no adverse effect. No effect .......................................................... Same as the proposed action. Additional signage requesting visitors to pack out their garbage would reduce the likelihood that any increase in recreation use at the project would negatively affect the surrounding environment. Same as proposed action. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 5.2 Comprehensive Development and Recommended Alternative Sections 4(e) and 10(a)(1) of the FPA require the Commission to give equal consideration to the power development purposes and to the purposes of energy conservation; the protection, mitigation of damage to, and enhancement of fish and wildlife; the protection of recreational opportunities; and the preservation of other aspects of environmental quality. Any license issued shall be such, as in the Commission’s judgment, will be best adapted to a comprehensive plan for improving or developing a waterway or waterways for all beneficial public uses. This section contains the basis for, and a summary of, our recommendations for licensing the Riverdale Project. We weigh the costs and benefits of our recommended alternative against other proposed measures. Based on our independent review of agency and public comments filed on this project and our review of the environmental and economic effects of the proposed project and its alternatives, we selected the staff alternative, as the preferred option. We recommend this option because: (1) Issuance of a hydropower license for the project would allow Lockhart Power to develop and operate the project and provide a dependable source of electrical energy for the region (4,370 MWh annually); (2) the 1.24 MW of electric energy generated from a renewable resource may offset the use of fossil-fueled, steam-electric generating plants, thereby conserving nonreviewable resources and reducing atmospheric pollution; (3) the public benefits of this alternative would exceed those of the no-action alternative; and VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 Staff recommended alternative (4) the recommended environmental measures would protect and enhance environmental resources affected by the project. In the following section, we make recommendations as to which environmental measures proposed by Lockhart Power or recommended by agencies and other entities should be included in any license issued for the project. In addition to Lockhart Power’s proposed environmental measures, we recommend additional staffrecommended environmental measures to be included in any license issued for the project. We also discuss which measures we do not recommend including in the license. Measures Proposed by Lockhart Power Based on our environmental analysis of Lockhart Power’s proposal discussed in section 3.0, Environmental Analysis, and the costs discussed in section 4.0, Developmental Analysis, we conclude that the following measures proposed by Lockhart Power would protect and enhance environmental resources in the project area, and would be worth the cost. Therefore, we recommend including these measures in any license issued for the project. • Implement BMPs to protect vegetation within the project boundary, such as limiting vegetation and grounddisturbing activities and maintaining a minimum 25-foot-wide forested riparian buffer on project shorelines, as long as this does not interfere with Lockhart Power’s ability to perform projectrelated activities. • Construct and maintain: (1) A canoe take-out located approximately 220 feet upstream of the dam; (2) a canoe put-in located approximately 1,075 feet downstream from the dam; (3) a 1,650- PO 00000 Frm 00047 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 No effect. However, if any unknown archaeological resources were found, Lockhart Power would stop work and notify the South Carolina SHPO and the Catawba Indian Nation. foot-long portage trail connecting the proposed canoe take-out and put-in; (4) a parking area located adjacent to the proposed portage trail; and (5) signage to improve public access at the project and to the Enoree River. • Provide informal public access for fishing at the project impoundment, tailrace, and bypassed reach. Additional Measures Recommended by Staff We recommend the measures described above, as well as 12 additional staff-recommended measures and modifications to Lockhart Power’s proposed measure(s). These additional and modified measures include the following: • Develop and implement a sitespecific soil erosion and sediment control plan, which includes the BMPs described in the South Carolina DHEC’s Stormwater BMP Handbook, to minimize erosion and sedimentation during soil-disturbing activities associated with project construction and repairs. • Develop and implement a sediment management plan that includes provisions to: (a) Test impoundment sediments for heavy metals and other contaminants prior to beginning inwater project construction activities and initial operation; (b) prepare a contingency plan for proper disposal of any contaminated sediments that may be found in the impoundment; (c) monitor sediment accumulation in the impoundment annually to facilitate planning of sediment management activities; (d) develop criteria that would trigger sediment removal from the impoundment (i.e. by opening the sand gates, if appropriate, during high flow events, or via mechanical E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 76950 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices methods); (e) conduct sediment management activities during the months of November through January except during high rain events (e.g. tropical storms or hurricanes); (f) avoid maintenance activities that would draw down the impoundment below normal operating levels and potentially pass sediment into the bypassed reach from March 15 through June 1, if possible, to minimize adverse impacts to spawning fish; and (g) prepare annual reports with sediment monitoring results, sediment management activities, and an evaluation of the effectiveness of the plan in minimizing sediment accumulation in the impoundment. • Develop and implement a shoreline stabilization plan that includes provisions to: (a) Identify eroding or potential project-induced erosion sites on the project shorelines prior to beginning operation; (b) stabilize areas of shoreline erosion using native vegetation, bio-engineering, slope flattening, toe armoring with anchored logs, and/or riprap that incorporates native vegetation plantings; (c) monitor shorelines after resuming operation, and implement stabilization measures if project-induced erosion is identified; (d) conduct shoreline stabilization activities from September through February to protect aquatic species and wildlife; and (e) file annual reports describing monitoring results and any implemented shoreline stabilization measures. • Develop and implement a water quality monitoring plan that includes provisions to: (a) Monitor DO, temperature, and turbidity prior to the start of project construction, during construction, and for 1 year after project operation begins to ensure the levels specified by the current state water quality standards are met and aquatic resources are protected; (b) define sampling methods, timing, and locations for these parameters in consultation with South Carolina DHEC, FWS, and NMFS; and (c) file a report that presents the monitoring data, describes any project-related effects and identifies corrective actions if necessary. • Release a continuous minimum flow of 75 cfs in the bypassed reach to protect aquatic habitat. • Develop and implement a plan to release required minimum flows into the bypassed reach that includes: (a) A feasibility assessment for using the sand gates as a flow-release mechanism; (b) if found to be feasible, a flow study to determine how the sand gates would be used to distribute flow into the bypassed reach to protect aquatic habitats; (c) if the sand gates are not feasible, a description of how the VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 minimum instream flows would be provided to the bypassed reach; (d) a report documenting the outcome of the feasibility assessment, flow study, and consultation with the agencies; and (e) an implementation schedule. • Develop and implement a low inflow protocol/drought contingency plan to define periods of extended drought and the low inflow protocols to minimize adverse effects on generation, and on fish and wildlife, water quality, water supply, and generation. • Develop and implement an operation compliance monitoring plan that includes: (a) A rating curve to provide the seasonally defined flows; (b) protocols to monitor and document compliance with required flows; (c) protocols to monitor and document impoundment fluctuations; and (d) an implementation schedule. • Develop and implement an invasive vegetation monitoring and control plan that includes: (a) Survey methods to determine the extent of alligatorweed in the impoundment and riparian area prior to beginning refurbishment activities; (b) BMPs, as well as monitoring and control methods to prevent the spread of alligatorweed in the impoundment to areas downstream from the dam during project refurbishment; (c) monitoring protocols to detect the introduction or spread of other invasive plants within the project boundary during project operation and maintenance; (d) criteria that would determine when control measures would be required; and (e) a schedule for filing monitoring reports and any recommended control measures with the Commission. • Determine whether the existing project transmission line is consistent with APLIC guidelines. Identify, in consultation with FWS, measures to minimize potential electrocution hazards to birds and file a report with the Commission describing the results of the evaluation and any measures recommended by FWS. • Install informational signage that includes: (a) Identification of the canoe take-out and put in; (b) directions from the parking area to river access points; and (c) information regarding garbage disposal in order to improve public information available at the project and protect environmental resources. • Stop work and notify the South Carolina SHPO and the Catawba Indian Nation if any unknown archaeological resources are discovered as a result of project construction, operation, or project-related activities to avoid, lessen, or mitigate potential adverse effects. PO 00000 Frm 00048 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 We discuss the basis for our recommended measures below. Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Plan Project refurbishment, tailrace dredging, and construction of the proposed canoe take-out, put-in, and portage trail would result in soildisturbing activities that could increase turbidity and sedimentation in the Enoree River. Lockhart Power’s proposal would limit ground-disturbing activities to previously disturbed areas within the footprint of the former textile mill and associated parking lots and roadways, minimizing adverse effects on vegetated areas. Developing a site-specific soil erosion and sediment control plan that includes standard industry BMPs (such as those found in South Carolina DHEC’s Stormwater BMP Handbook) would further reduce potential soil erosion and sedimentation effects. Applicable erosion and sediment control BMPs may include the use of silt fences, sediment traps, stabilized construction entrances, and alternative techniques that may be developed in consultation with the South Carolina DHEC. We do not expect that development of the soil erosion and sediment control plan would incur any additional costs not already included in the costs for project refurbishment. Based on our review and analysis contained in section 3.3.1, Geologic and Soil Resources, we find that the benefits of implementing a soil erosion and sediment control plan as described above are worth these costs. Initial Testing of Impoundment Sediments There currently is no information on the volume of sediment deposits and potentially embedded contaminants in the Riverdale impoundment. However, the Enoree River carries a high sediment load and visual observations indicate a significant buildup of sediment in the impoundment. Project refurbishment activities and operation could disturb the bottom sediments and release a large amount of sediment downstream, causing any heavy metals or other contaminants present within the sediments to re-suspend with clays, silt, sand, and other sediments in the water column. Depending on the toxicity, contaminants suspended and transported in the water column could then harm fish and wildlife and adversely affect other stream uses. Testing for heavy metals and other contaminants in the sediment in the impoundment prior to beginning operation, as recommended by Interior, would prevent the accidental release of any toxic substances and allow for their E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 proper disposal. The test results would help Lockhart Power, the resource agencies, and South Carolina DHEC design appropriate methods for shortand long-term sediment management at the project, discussed next. Preparing a contingency plan for handling any contaminated sediments would ensure that sediments are disposed of properly and would minimize potential adverse effects to aquatic resources. Based on our review and analysis contained in section 3.3.1, Geologic and Soil Resources, we find that the benefits of initial testing of impoundment sediments and preparing a plan for proper disposal of any identified contaminated sediments as elements of a sediment management plan are worth the estimated annual levelized cost provided below. Sediment Management Plan Project rehabilitation and periodic dam maintenance (e.g., repair the sand gates) would likely require drawing down the impoundment below the normal operating levels of four feet, resulting in the re-suspension and discharge of sediment from the impoundment. Heavy sediment loads can adversely affect fish and wildlife, recreation opportunities, and other stream uses. Lockhart Power’s proposal to avoid periodic inspection and maintenance drawdowns from March 15 to June 1 would prevent the release of large sediment loads during fish spawning periods, but would do little to actively manage sediment deposited behind the dam. Actively managing sediment within the impoundment, as recommended by Interior, and South Carolina DNR, would help prevent the buildup of sediment in the impoundment and minimize the risk of potentially releasing excessive sediment loads through the sand gates during planned and un-planned maintenance activities. Conducting maintenance drawdowns and sediment management activities between November and January, as recommended by the agencies, would ensure that sediment management is occurring when flows are most likely to be high enough to carry the sediment downstream from the sensitive shoals habitat and avoid fish spawning periods. To be effective, sediment management would need to include provisions to: (a) Test impoundment sediments for heavy metals and other contaminants prior to beginning project repairs; (b) prepare a contingency plan for proper disposal of any contaminated sediments that may be found; (c) monitor sediment accumulation in the impoundment VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 annually; (d) develop criteria triggering sediment removal from the impoundment (i.e. by opening the sand gates, if appropriate, during high flow events, or via mechanical methods); (e) conduct sediment management activities from November through January except during high rain events (e.g., tropical storms or hurricanes); and (f) avoid maintenance activities that would draw down the impoundment below normal operating levels and potentially pass sediment into the bypassed reach from March 15 through June 1 unless required for emergency purposes. Annual monitoring reports would assist the Commission and resource agencies in documenting compliance with the requirements of any license issued and evaluating the overall effectiveness of the sediment management plan. Based on our review and analysis contained in section 3.3.1, Geologic and Soil Resources, we find that the benefits of implementing a sediment management plan with the measures outlined above are worth the estimated annual levelized cost of $1,597. Shoreline Stabilization Plan Resuming project operation as Lockhart Power proposes would result in impoundment fluctuations between 1 and 4 feet. As Interior notes, such fluctuations may cause shoreline erosion and lead to instability in the riparian zone, channel aggradation, increased turbidity, and associated adverse effects to fish and invertebrates. Developing and implementing a shoreline stabilization plan, as recommended by Interior, would identify and stabilize any existing areas of active erosion, minimizing the potential for erosion due to project operation. It would also allow Lockhart Power to effectively and efficiently focus any monitoring efforts on specific areas prone to erosion in the project boundary and address those areas before they become a significant problem. Using native vegetation and techniques such as bio-engineering, slope flattening, toe armoring with anchored logs, and/or riprap that incorporates native vegetation plantings would stabilize eroding shorelines while providing habitat for wildlife and aquatic species. Implementing shoreline stabilization measures during the fall and winter (i.e. September through February), except under emergency situations, as recommended by Interior, would help minimize potential disturbances to aquatic species and wildlife. As with the sediment management plan discussed above, annual reports would assist the PO 00000 Frm 00049 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 76951 Commission and resource agencies in documenting compliance with the requirements of any license and evaluating the overall effectiveness of the shoreline stabilization plan. Based on our review and analysis contained in section 3.3.1, Geologic and Soil Resources, we find that the benefits of implementing a shoreline stabilization plan with the measures outlined above are worth the estimated annual levelized cost of $1,050. Water Quality Monitoring Plan Refurbishing and operating the project could increase turbidity levels, raise water temperatures, and lower DO levels in the impoundment and bypassed reach. Lockhart Power intends to monitor water quality as may be required by South Carolina DHEC, but did not propose any specific monitoring measures. Interior recommends that Lockhart Power: (1) Conduct water quality monitoring in the impoundment at all proposed operational drawdowns for a minimum of 1 year and (2) submit water quality monitoring results to South Carolina DHEC, South Carolina DNR, NMFS, Interior, and the Commission. Our understanding of water quality in the project vicinity under existing conditions is limited. Monitoring turbidity, DO, and temperature in the impoundment and bypassed reach prior to the start of construction, during construction, and for 1 year after project operation begins would provide a means to ensure that the current state water quality standards (table 4) are met and that erosion control measures and minimum flows are adequately protecting aquatic resources. Therefore, we recommend that Lockhart Power develop a water quality monitoring plan that defines sampling methods, timing, and locations for monitoring these parameters in consultation with South Carolina DHEC, FWS, and NMFS. Based on our review and analysis contained in section 3.3.2, Aquatic Resources, we find that the benefits of developing and implementing the water quality monitoring plan with the measures outlined above would be worth the estimated annual levelized cost of $1,561. Minimum Instream Flows Since 2001, flows at the project have passed over the dam rather than the through the powerhouse to generate electricity. These flows provide habitat conditions in the bypassed reach that support a diversity of fish and invertebrate species in the complex shoals habitat, including eight species identified by the State of South Carolina E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 76952 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices as ‘‘Conservation Species.’’ Two of the species, redeye bass and panhandle pebblesnail, are either declining or rare, and both are limited in their distribution within the state. Lockhart Power proposes to provide a minimum continuous flow of 60 cfs downstream from the tailrace and 50 cfs in the bypassed reach to maintain and protect aquatic resources in the bypassed reach and in the Enoree River. South Carolina DNR, Interior, NMFS, and American Rivers recommend the following minimum flows in the bypassed reach based on the state’s Water Plan: 79 cfs in July–November (20 percent of MADF); 157 cfs in January– April (40 percent of MADF); and 118 cfs in May, June, and December (30 percent of MADF). Using flow data for the period 1994 through 2009, South Carolina DNR, Interior, NMFS, and American Rivers calculated the flows based on a prorated MADF of 393 cfs. Using the most current flow data available (1994–2012), we calculated a MADF of 374 cfs and base our recommendations on this flow calculation. The Water Plan’s minimum flow regime is based on flow studies conducted at six regulated reaches in the South Carolina Piedmont, and three distinct periods that capture high (January–April), low (July–November), and increasing (December) or decreasing (May, June) flow periods (Bulak and Jobsis, 1989). The Water Plan states that seasonal variation in flow is important because fish have evolved to spawn in synchrony with the hydrologic cycle. While beneficial to a certain extent, there is currently no evidence that the fishes or invertebrates in the bypassed reach, or downstream from the tailrace require such annual variation in the flow regime to complete their life-cycle. The state’s Water Plan concludes that the 20 and 30 percent flows represent ‘‘generally adequate’’ and ‘‘adequate’’ flows, respectively, to protect aquatic habitat and fish during low flow periods, while 40 percent flows would protect fishery resources during high flow periods. As discussed in section 3.3.2.2, Environmental Effects, a flow of 60 cfs (16 percent of MADF) downstream of the tailrace and 50 cfs (13 percent of MADF) into the bypassed reach falls considerably short of the Water Plan’s recommended flows in most months, thus would not likely maintain adequate aquatic habitat conditions. However, the Water Plan recommended flows for January through April (150 cfs, 40 percent MADF) were based on flows needed to provide a 1.5foot-deep by 10-foot-wide passage route at shoals for striped bass. There are no VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 striped bass, or other anadromous species present at the project.56 In contrast, a flow of 75 cfs (20 percent MADF 57) from January to April is expected to provide a channel 1.0-footdeep by 10-foot-wide, which would be sufficient to maintain habitat and passage requirements for fish currently inhabiting the bypassed reach. A flow of 75 cfs also provides generally adequate flows during low flow periods based the study conducted by Bulak and Jobsis (1989). Based on the Tennant (1976) method, a flow of 60 cfs (16 percent of MADF) downstream of the tailrace and of 50 cfs (13 percent of MADF) into the bypassed reach would represent fair or degrading conditions during the dry season, and close to poor or minimum conditions during the wet season. South Carolina DNR’s variable flows based on the state Water Plan would result in good conditions year-round. However, a continuous minimum flow of 75 cfs (20 percent of MADF) year round would represent good conditions during the dry season and close to fair or degrading conditions during the wet season. The annual levelized cost of Lockhart Power’s minimum flow for the bypassed reach would be $20,174. Providing a continuous 75-cfs minimum flow to the bypassed reach would have an annual levelized cost of $45,540, which is $25,366 more than the annual levelized cost of Lockhart Power’s proposed flow regime. Providing the agencyrecommended minimum flows would have an annual levelized cost of $80,851, which would be $60,677 more than the annual levelized cost of Lockhart Power’s proposed flow regime. In consideration of the benefits and costs of the proposed and recommended minimum flows as well as the relative uniqueness of the bypassed reach fishery within the state of South Carolina, we conclude that the appropriate balance of the benefits and costs of the various flows is best met through a bypassed reach flow of 75 cfs. For this reason, we recommend a license condition requiring Lockhart Power to provide a continuous minimum flow of 75 cfs within the bypassed reach, or inflow if less. We see no need for a separate minimum flow requirement for the reach downstream of the powerhouse as proposed by Lockhart Power given that a continuous 56 Anadromous fish are also unable to pass upstream of Parr dam, which is located 65 miles downstream on the Broad River. 57 The study (i.e. Bulak and Jobsis, 1989) used to identify Water Plan minimum flows indicated that if a 1.0-foot-deep by 10-foot-wide was acceptable, required flows in shoals habitat ranged from 15 to 32 percent of MADF (mean = 24 percent of MADF). PO 00000 Frm 00050 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 75-cfs minimum flow in the bypassed reach would flow downstream to the reach below the powerhouse and provide the same benefits to aquatic resources. Flow Release Plan for Minimum Flows Into the Bypassed Reach Lockhart Power proposes to repair the sand gates and work with the resource agencies to determine which combination of gates to use to provide the required bypassed reach minimum flows. South Carolina DNR and Interior recommend Lockhart Power evaluate the feasibility of using the sand gates to reliably provide minimum instream flows on a continuous basis, and the flow distribution through the gate(s) to optimize aquatic habitat in the bypassed reach. American Rivers recommends Lockhart Power study alternatives to releasing minimum instream flows to select the best method to deliver flows that ensure that the bypassed reach is fully wetted. NMFS recommends conducting an instream flow study. The shoals below the dam are complex and its distinct physical features create different habitats on the north and south side of the bypassed reach that support different fish and benthic macroinvertebrate assemblages, including some rare species. Because the lack of access prevented Lockhart Power from determining if it could make the sand gates operable, a feasibility assessment would be necessary as proposed by Lockhart Power and recommended by the agencies. If the gates cannot be made operational or used in a manner to provide the required flows, alternative mechanisms would need to be identified and made operational prior to operating the project to ensure that the aquatic resources in the bypassed reach are protected. Assuming that the bypassed flows can be provided through the sand gates, distributing the flows across the shoals to optimize benthic invertebrate and fish habitat may require delivering flows from one or more sand gates. While fully wetting the shoals as recommended by American Rivers would likely provide some benthic invertebrate and fish habitat, it may not provide the best habitat for targeted channels supporting rare species. To determine which combination of gates to use would require a post-licensing flow study as recommended by NMFS. Such a study would not be used to establish required minimum flows because the minimum flow requirements have been determined as described above. Rather, it would be used to determine how to distribute the E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 required flows to optimize habitat. The study would need to examine depth, velocity, and wetted width across the shoals using various combinations of the sand gates. We recommend Lockhart Power select the targeted species and habitat suitability criteria to evaluate the flows in consultation with the South Carolina DNR, FWS, NMFS, and American Rivers. Developing a flow release plan that includes the feasibility assessment and the above flow study would have an estimated annualized cost of $546. The benefits of determining which combination of gates best optimize aquatic habitats would be worth the cost. Low Inflow Protocol/Drought Management Plan As discussed above, the staff recommended minimum flow releases would adequately maintain aquatic habitat in the bypassed reach during most years. However, during moderate and extreme drought years, such as those experienced in the Southeast U.S. from 1998–2002, 2005–2007, and 2012, inflows to the project may be insufficient to continually release the required flow. During such low inflow periods, Lockhart Power would implement the following low inflow protocol: When average daily project inflow is less than approximately 80 cfs (+/¥ 10 percent), continuous project outflow shall approximately (+/¥ 10 percent) equal project inflow. However, Lockhart Power does not explain how or where such flows would be released, or its basis for selecting 80 cfs as defining low inflow/drought conditions. A flow of 80 cfs represents about 20 percent of the MADF which would be ‘‘generally adequate’’ to maintain aquatic resources during typical low inflow periods (July through November), but would be inadequate if drought conditions extended into the typically high flow periods. The South Carolina DNR and Interior recommend that Lockhart Power develop low inflow protocol (i.e. a drought contingency plan) in consultation with appropriate federal and state agencies, local governments, and other stakeholders that continues to protect fish and wildlife and other water uses in the Enoree River. Ideally, a low inflow protocol would provide some flexibility to adjust minimum flows during drought periods so that the effects of low inflows are balanced among competing uses. We recommend Lockhart Power develop a low inflow protocol in consultation with South Carolina DNR, Interior, and NMFS. The protocol should define VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 76953 Invasive Vegetation Monitoring and Control Plan Existing mats of alligatorweed can become fragmented and spread during in-water construction activities, such as during the installation of the canoe portage facilities and repairs to the sand gates, as well as during sediment management activities. Fluctuations in the impoundment levels may also create conditions facilitating its spread. Lockhart Power does not propose any measures to monitor or control the spread of alligatorweed or other invasive plants that may become established in the project area. Developing and implementing an invasive vegetation monitoring and control plan would minimize the potential spread and adverse effects of alligatorweed during project refurbishment, and project-related recreation activities as well as other invasive plants that may be detected during project operation and maintenance. We recommend that Lockhart Power develop an invasive vegetation monitoring and control plan that includes surveying the impoundment to determine the distribution of alligatorweed prior to beginning construction repairs or installing the canoe portage facilities and identifying specific BMPs that should be taken to prevent spreading this species. We also recommend periodic monitoring for invasive species in the impoundment to facilitate early detection of new invasive plant introductions, as well as the spread of the existing mats of alligatorweed. Such monitoring would allow Lockhart Power, the resource agencies, and the Commission to determine when, and if, correction measures may be needed to protect native plant communities and the wildlife that depend on them. To be effective, the monitoring program should define the monitoring schedule, document changes in invasive species composition and distribution between monitoring events, and include criteria that would determine when corrective actions may be required. Based on our review and analysis contained in section 3.3.3, Terrestrial Resources, we find that the benefits of implementing an invasive vegetation management plan with the measures outlined above are worth the estimated levelized annual cost of $1,128. Alligatorweed is a prolific state noxious weed and that has become established in the project impoundment. Alligatorweed competes with native aquatic species, reducing the quality of fish and wildlife habitat where it becomes established. In mats covering extensive areas, it can impede boating and access to the shore. Avian Protection Lockhart Power proposes to use the existing transmission line which extends from the powerhouse along the project access road to an existing Duke Energy distribution line. Transmission lines with inadequate spacing between the conductors can represent an electrocution hazards for birds with water shortage severity levels (i.e. drought conditions), and how project operation would be adjusted depending on drought conditions to balance competing needs. Developing the low inflow protocol would have an annual levelized cost of $390. There could be additional costs in some years during droughts that depend on the operational changes needed and the frequency and severity of drought over the term of the license. We find that the benefits of these measures are worth the cost. Operation Compliance Monitoring Plan Lockhart Power proposes to operate the Riverdale Project using a combination of ROR and peaking modes, resulting in fluctuations between 1 and 4 feet from the top of the flashboards. Lockhart Power would ensure minimum flow releases are being provided through one or more of the sand gates by establishing a rating curve and verifying the rating curve every 6 years. To assist the Commission in monitoring compliance with operation limitations, we recommend Lockhart Power develop and implement an operation compliance monitoring plan. Such a plan would need to explain how Lockhart Power would monitor impoundment fluctuations to ensure that the impoundment is not drawn down below 4 feet unless required for maintenance or emergencies beyond the control of the applicant. The plan would also need to define how Lockhart Power would document flows through the sand gates into the bypassed reach as required based on the flow release plan. In addition, the plan should include a schedule for implementing the provisions of the plan, maintaining monitoring equipment, and filing annual reports with the resource agencies and the Commission. Based on our review and analysis contained in section 3.3.2, Aquatic Resources, we find that the benefits of implementing an operation compliance monitoring plan, with the measures outlined above, would be worth the estimated levelized annual cost of $2,161. PO 00000 Frm 00051 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 76954 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices broad wingspans, such as raptors. However, Lockhart Power’s limited access to the project prevented it from determining and whether the line could represent an electrocution hazard. Evaluating the consistency of the transmission line with APLIC guidelines would allow Lockhart Power to determine if a potential hazard exists and if protective measures may be needed. If the transmission lines do not meet APLIC guidelines, potential mitigation measures could include changing the relative position of conductors, or installing insulators, or structures to discourage perching and/or nesting (APLIC, 2006). A small cost would be incurred in evaluating the consistency of the transmission line design with APLIC guidelines, preparing a report, and consulting with the FWS to determine if potential measures are needed. Based on our review and analysis contained in section 3.3.3, Terrestrial Resources, we find that the benefits of evaluating the transmission line against APLIC guidelines would be worth the estimated levelized annual cost of $390. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 Recreation Signage Lockhart Power proposes to install a canoe put-in and take-out, a portage trail, a parking area, and to use informational and directional signage to indicate recreation access at the project. However, development of more formal recreation facilities is likely to induce greater amounts of garbage and debris. Although recreation use at the project is expected to remain relatively low, adding signage reminding users to ‘‘pack-it-in, pack-it-out’’ or a similar ‘‘leave no trace’’ message would help minimize the accumulation of garbage at project recreation facilities and reduce the maintenance responsibility for the applicant. Because Lockhart Power has proposed developing directional and informational signage for the project, the additional signage relating to garbage disposal would not result in a significant change to the applicant’s levelized annual cost of $660. Cultural Resources There are no known archeological sites or historic properties within the proposed project’s APE; however, there is a possibility that unknown archaeological resources may be discovered due to project construction, operation, or other project-related activities. To ensure proper treatment of any unknown archaeological resources that may be discovered at the project, we recommend in the case of any such discovery that Lockhart Power notify VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 and consult with the South Carolina SHPO and the Catawba Indian Nation to: (1) Stop work and determine if the discovered archaeological resource is eligible for the National Register; (2) determine if the proposed project would adversely affect the resource; and (3) if the resource would be adversely affected, obtain guidance from the South Carolina SHPO on how to avoid, lessen, or mitigate for any adverse effects. Also we recommend that Lockhart Power inform the Commission of its discovery of any unknown archaeological resource, and any measures proposed if the archaeological resource is eligible for the National Register and is adversely affected by project construction or operation. There is no estimated cost associated with this measure. Measures Not Recommended by Staff Fish Impingement and Entrainment Water intake structures at hydropower projects can injure or kill fish through impingement at intake screens/trashracks, or entrainment through intakes and into turbines. The Riverdale Project currently includes two sets of trash racks, one of which is located at the intake to the project headrace and has 2.25-inch bar spacing. Interior recommends that Lockhart Power install 1-inch bar spacing at the headrace trashrack to avoid and minimize fish entrainment and mortality. Our analysis in section 3.3.2.2, Environmental Effects, indicates that entrainment and turbine mortality impacts of a trash-rack design with 1inch bar spacing are potentially greater than the impacts of a design with the existing 2.25-inch bar spacing. Further, based on the intake velocities and the size of the bar spacing, most fish residing in the impoundment would be able to avoid impingement on the trashrack, but could be susceptible to entrainment through the turbines if they fail to use behavioral avoidance (i.e. burst swimming). The fish involved would likely consist of younger and smaller fish, which generally have high rates of mortality, even in the absence of hydropower operations. Fish populations have generally evolved to withstand losses of these smaller and younger individuals with little or no impact to long-term population sustainability. Consequently, replacing the existing trash-rack with a design having 1-inch bar spacing would not likely provide any benefits to fishery resources at the Riverdale Project. Therefore, we conclude that installation of 1-inch bar spacing at the headrace trashrack would not be worth the PO 00000 Frm 00052 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 estimated levelized annual cost of $1,171. Fish and Macroinvertebrate Surveys The bypassed reach supports seven species of fish and one macroinvertebrate that are considered of conservation concern by the state. Interior recommends that Lockhart Power conduct surveys for fish and invertebrates before and after construction at the project, and again 1 year later, to provide information on the presence of the eight Conservation Species. Interior requests that Lockhart Power design the surveys in consultation with South Carolina DNR, South Carolina DHEC, NMFS, and FWS, and that sampling efforts be concentrated in the multiple habitat types in the bypassed reach. Interior states that additional surveys may be necessary depending on the results. As explained in section 3.3.2.2, Environmental Effects, sufficient information already exists to document their occurrence in the bypassed reach and to evaluate how best to distribute flows to optimize aquatic habitat to support these species. Therefore, there is no need for this information. Consequently, we conclude that the information obtained from such surveys is not worth the estimated levelized annual costs of $2,341 and $702, for fish surveys and invertebrate surveys respectively. Cultural Resource Survey The Catawba Indian Nation recommends that Lockhart Power consult with the tribe prior to any ground-disturbing activity and states that Lockhart Power would most likely need to conduct a cultural resources survey involving shovel testing. Our analysis in section 3.3.6, Cultural Resources, indicates that there is no evidence archeological properties are present within the project’s APE that would warrant a cultural resource survey and shovel testing prior to project construction. Rather, we recommend that should unknown archeological or historic resources be discovered in the future, as a result of project construction, operation, or other project related activities, Lockhart Power cease ground disturbing activities and consult with the Commission, the South Carolina SHPO, and the Catawba Indian Nation to establish the proper treatment of any potential archaeological or cultural resources. Therefore, we conclude that a cultural resources survey and shovel testing prior to ground-disturbing activity would not be worth the estimated levelized annual cost of $780. E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 76955 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices 5.3 Unavoidable Adverse Effects Project refurbishment and the addition of canoe portage facilities would result in some land-disturbing activities that would affect approximately 2 acres of land. Implementing the erosion and sediment control plan would minimize these effects. Repairs to the sand gates on the Riverdale dam spillway would cause minor amounts of sediment to enter the Enoree River; however, the sediment management plan and sediment testing would ensure that the timing of sediment releases would occur when they would have the least adverse effect to aquatic resources. Repairs to the dam, penstock, powerhouse and other project facilities would also cause temporary and minor disturbances to wildlife near the construction activities. Project operation would reduce flows to the bypassed reach and may release water that has a lower DO concentration than existing flows. Recommended minimum flows would be adequate to protect existing aquatic resources. Water quality monitoring would allow identification of any needed measures to maintain state water quality standards. Project operation would result in some fish impingement and entrainment mortality of resident fish in the Enoree River, but these would represent young fish and be comprised of highly prolific species that have the ability to compensate for losses. 5.4 Fish and Wildlife Agency Recommendations Under the provisions of section 10(j) of the FPA, each hydroelectric license issued by the Commission shall include conditions based on recommendations provided by federal and state fish and wildlife agencies for the protection, mitigation, and enhancement of fish and wildlife resources affected by the project. Section 10(j) of the FPA states that whenever the Commission believes that any fish and wildlife agency recommendation is inconsistent with the purposes and the requirements of the FPA or other applicable law, the Commission and the agency will attempt to resolve any such inconsistency, giving due weight to the recommendations, expertise, and statutory responsibilities of such agency. In response to our REA notice, the following fish and wildlife agencies submitted recommendations for the project: Interior (letter filed September 10, 2012), South Carolina DNR (letter filed September 10, 2012), and NMFS (letter filed September 11, 2012). Table 16 lists the federal and state recommendations filed pursuant to section 10(j), and indicate whether the recommendations are included as part of the Staff Alternative. Environmental recommendations that we consider outside the scope of section 10(j) have been considered under section 10(a) of the FPA, and are addressed in the specific resource sections of this document. Of the 9 recommendations that we consider to be within the scope of section 10(j), we include 7, and do not include 2 in the staff alternative. We discuss the reasons for not including those recommendations in section 5.2, Comprehensive Development and Recommended Alternative. Table 16 indicates the basis for our preliminary determinations concerning measures that we consider inconsistent with section 10(j). TABLE 16—FISH AND WILDLIFE AGENCY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE RIVERDALE PROJECT [Source: staff] Recommendation Within the scope of section 10(j) Agency Annualized cost ($) Adopted? Erosion and Sediment Control Implement South Carolina DHEC’s stormwater BMP’s during construction and maintenance activities to prevent or minimize erosion and sedimentation. South Carolina DNR ... Yes .............................. 390 Yes.a tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 Sediment Management Plan Develop and implement a sediment management plan with provisions to: (a) Consult with South Carolina DHEC to address the potential presence of contaminated sediments in the impoundment and additional monitoring and sediment management needs; (b) test impoundment sediment for heavy metals and other contaminants; (c) monitor sediment accumulation in the impoundment annually; (d) develop criteria that would trigger sediment removal from the impoundment, by opening sand gates, if appropriate, during high flow events, or mechanical methods; (e) conduct sediment management activities from November–January; and (f) file an annual report describing sediment monitoring and management activities, and an evaluation of the effectiveness of the plan. VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 South Carolina DNR, Interior. PO 00000 Frm 00053 Fmt 4701 Yes .............................. Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 1,597 19DEN2 Yes.b c 76956 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices TABLE 16—FISH AND WILDLIFE AGENCY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE RIVERDALE PROJECT—Continued [Source: staff] Recommendation Within the scope of section 10(j) Agency Annualized cost ($) Adopted? Management of Shoreline Erosion Implement the following measures to minimize the effects of project operations and associated shoreline erosion: (a) Identify eroding or potential project-induced erosion sites on project shorelines prior to beginning operation; (b) stabilize areas of shoreline erosion with native plants, bioengineering, slope flattening, toe armoring, and/or rip-rap which incorporates native vegetation plantings; (c) monitor shorelines after operation and implement stabilization techniques as necessary; and (d) conduct shoreline stabilization activities September–February to protect aquatic species and wildlife. Interior ......................... Yes, because it could not be done prior to licensing. 1,050 Yes.d 1,561 Yes. Water Quality Monitoring Conduct Water quality monitoring for 1-year at the impoundment during all proposed project operational drawdowns. Interior ......................... No e ............................. Instream Flows Provide minimum seasonal instream flows into the bypassed reach based on a MADF of 393 cfs. Seasonal flows to include: Æ 79 cfs—July–November ............................... Æ 118 cfs—May, June, and December ........... Æ 157 cfs—January–April ................................ Develop an instream flow study plan within 6months of license issuance and implement the plan after spillway gate renovations are complete, in consultation with NMFS, Interior, South Carolina DNR. Develop and implement a low inflow protocol/ drought contingency plan, consistent with the South Carolina Water Plan including provisions for minimum flow requirements during drought periods. Evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of using sand gates to provide minimum flows into the bypassed reach. Evaluation should include optimizing downstream habitat. Not Adopted f (see section 5.2). Interior, South Carolina DNR, NMFS. Yes .............................. 80,851 NMFS .......................... Yes .............................. 6,244 South Carolina DNR, Interior. Yes .............................. 390 Yes. Interior, South Carolina DNR. Yes .............................. 546 Yes.h Yes.g tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 Aquatic Species Measures Modify trash rack bar spacing at headrace intake from 2.25 inches to 1 inch to avoid and minimize fish entrainment and mortality. South Carolina Conservation Species study: Conduct comprehensive fish surveys of redeye bass, santee chub, piedmont darter, thicklip chub, greenfin shiner, notchlip redhorse, flat bullhead, snail bullhead. Conduct surveys before and after construction activities as well as 1 year after construction is complete to provide status of above mentioned priority species. Survey areas are to include multiple habitats within bypassed reach. Enhance and protect the panhandle pebblesnail to include provisions of appropriate minimum flows in bypassed reach. VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 Interior ......................... Yes .............................. 1,171 Not Adopted f (see section 5.2). Interior ......................... No e ............................. 2,341 No.i Interior ......................... No e ............................. j0 PO 00000 Frm 00054 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 No (staff-recommended minimum flows would maintain habitat). 76957 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices TABLE 16—FISH AND WILDLIFE AGENCY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE RIVERDALE PROJECT—Continued [Source: staff] Recommendation Agency Within the scope of section 10(j) Conduct comprehensive invertebrate surveys within the bypassed reach before and after construction, and one year after construction is complete. Surveys should be designed in consultation with South Carolina DNR, NMFS, South Carolina DHEC, and Interior. Interior ......................... Annualized cost ($) No e ............................. Adopted? 702 No.i 0 Yes. Riparian Buffer Zone Implement BMPs to protect vegetation within the project boundary, such as limiting vegetation and ground-disturbing activities and maintaining a minimum of 25-foot-wide vegetated buffer zone on all shorelines within the project boundary. South Carolina DNR, Interior. Yes .............................. a The measure was adopted under the staff-recommended soil erosion control plan. measures were adopted under the staff-recommended sediment management plan. measures were adopted under the staff-recommended measure to conduct testing for contaminants in the impoundment sediments prior to beginning project refurbishment activities. d The measures were adopted under the staff-recommended shoreline stabilization plan. e Not specific measures to protect, mitigate, or enhance fish and wildlife resources. f Preliminary findings that recommendations found to be within the scope of section 10(j) are inconsistent with the comprehensive planning standard of section 10(a) of the FPA, including the equal consideration provision of section 4(e) of the FPA, are based on staff’s determination that the cost of the measures outweigh the expected benefits. g This measure is accommodated as part of the flow distribution study to determine how best to distribute flows in the bypassed reach to protect aquatic resources, but not to determine appropriate flows. h This measure was adopted under the staff-recommendation flow release plan. i Preliminary findings that recommendations found to be within the scope of section 10(j) are inconsistent with the substantial evidence standards of section 313(b) of the FPA based on a lack of evidence to support the reasonableness of the recommendation or a lack of justification for the measure. j The measure is too vaguely defined to assign a cost and instream flow costs are included in the minimum instream flow recommendations. b The tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 c The 5.5 Consistency With Comprehensive Plans Section 10(a)(2)(A) of the FPA,58 requires the Commission to consider the extent to which a project is consistent with the federal or state comprehensive plans for improving, developing, or conserving a waterway or waterways affected by the project. We reviewed 22 state and federal comprehensive plans that are applicable to the Riverdale Project, located in South Carolina. The project would be consistent with their provisions with the exception of the state Water Plan. As discussed in section 5.2, Comprehensive Development and Recommended Alternative, the Water Plan’s minimum flow regime is based on flow studies that capture high (January-April), low (July-November), and increasing (December) or decreasing (May, June) flow periods in the South Carolina Piedmont (Bulak and Jobsis, 1989). The Water Plan states that periods of seasonal variation in flow are important because fish have evolved to spawn in synchrony with the hydrologic cycle. While true, there is currently no evidence that the fishes or invertebrates 58 16 U.S.C. § 803(a)(2)(A). VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 in the bypassed reach, or downstream from the tailrace require such variation in the annual flow regime to complete their life-cycle. Based on the Tennant (1976) method, Lockhart Power’s proposed minimum flow of 60 cfs (16 percent of MADF) downstream of the tailrace and of 50 cfs (13 percent of MADF) into the bypassed reach would represent fair or degrading conditions during the dry season, and close to poor or minimum conditions during the wet season. However, a continuous minimum flow of 75 cfs (20 percent of MADF) year round would represent good conditions during the dry season and close to fair or degrading conditions during the wet season. In section 5.2 of this EA, we find that our recommended continuous minimum flow of 75 cfs provides the best balance between providing flows for generation and providing flows for aquatic resource protection. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. 1998. Interstate fishery management plan for Atlantic striped bass. (Report No. 34). January 1998. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. 1999. Amendment 1 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for shad and river herring. (Report No. 35). April 1999. PO 00000 Frm 00055 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. 2000. Technical Addendum 1 to Amendment 1 of the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for shad and river herring. February 2000. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. 2009. Amendment 2 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for shad and river herring, Arlington, Virginia. May 2009. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. 2010. Amendment 3 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for shad and river herring, Arlington, Virginia. February 2010. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. 2000. Interstate Fishery Management Plan for American eel (Anguilla rostrata). (Report No. 36). April 2000. National Park Service. 1993. The nationwide rivers inventory. Department of the Interior, Washington, DC 1993. South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. 1985. Water classifications and standards, and classified waters. Columbia, South Carolina. June 1985. South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. 1989. Assessment of non-point source pollution for the State of South Carolina. Columbia, South Carolina. April 1989. South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. 1989. Nonpoint source management program for the State E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 76958 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 of South Carolina. Columbia, South Carolina. April 1989. South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation, & Tourism. 2008. South Carolina State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP). Columbia, South Carolina. April 2008. South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation, & Tourism. The South Carolina State Trails Plan. 2002. Columbia, South Carolina. 2002. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. 2005. South Carolina Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy: 2005–2010. Columbia, South Carolina. September 2005. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. 2004. South Carolina Water Plan, Second Edition. Columbia, South Carolina. January 2004. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. 2000. Lower Saluda Scenic River Corridor Plan update. Columbia, South Carolina. December 2000. South Carolina Water Resources Commission. 1985. Instream flow study— Phase I: identification and priority listing of streams in South Carolina for which minimum flow levels need to be established. Report No. 149. Columbia, South Carolina. June 1985. South Carolina Water Resources Commission. 1988. Instream flow study— Phase II: determination of minimum flow standards to protect instream uses in priority stream segments. Report No. 163. Columbia, South Carolina. May 1988. South Carolina Water Resources Commission. National Park Service. 1988. South Carolina Rivers Assessment. Columbia, South Carolina. September 1988. South Carolina Wildlife and Marine Resources Department. 1989. South Carolina instream flow studies: a status report. Columbia, South Carolina. June 1989. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, and South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. 2001. Santee-Cooper Basin diadromous fish passage restoration plan. Charleston, South Carolina. August 2001. United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Canadian Wildlife Service. 1986. North American Waterfowl Management Plan. Department of the Interior. Environment Canada. May 1986. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Undated. Fisheries USA: The recreational fisheries policy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Washington, DC. 6.0 Finding of No Significant Impact Licensing the Riverdale Project would allow Lockhart Power to rehabilitate an existing, inoperable hydro facility and begin generating power. Project repairs and the addition of canoe portage facilities would result in some landdisturbing activities that would permanently affect a small amount of vegetation. Our recommended measures would ensure that erosion and sedimentation at the site is minimized. VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 Providing minimum flows in the bypassed reach would ensure state water quality standards are met and aquatic habitat is maintained. Project operation and associated fish impingement and entrainment would result in some loss of resident fish in the Enoree River, but these would represent young fish and be comprised of highly prolific species that have the ability to compensate for losses. Native vegetation and wildlife within the project boundary would be preserved by limiting vegetation and grounddisturbing activities and maintaining a minimum 25-foot-wide forested riparian buffer on project shorelines. Public recreation opportunities would be improved in the project area and historic resources are protected for the life of the license. On the basis of our independent analysis, we find that issuance of a license for the Riverdale Project, with our recommended environmental measures, would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. 7.0 Literature Cited American Whitewater. 2009. Whitewater Rivers in South Carolina. <http:// www.americanwhitewater.org/content/ River/state-summary/state/SC/> Accessed March 18, 2013. Andersen, C.B., K.A. Sargent, J.F. Wheeler, and S.K. Wheeler. 2001. Fluvial geochemistry of selected tributary watersheds in the Enoree River Basin, Northwestern South Carolina. South Carolina Geology 43:57–71. Appalachian Power. 2009. Claytor Hydroelectric Project fish entrainment and impingement assessment. Prepared by Normandeau Associates, Inc., Drumore, PA. Avian Power Line Interaction Committee (APLIC). 2006. Suggested practices for avian protection on power lines: The state of the art in 2006. Avian Power Line Interaction Committee, Edison Electric Institute, and the Raptor Research Foundation, Washington, DC. Bayley, P.B., and L.L. Osborne. 1993. Natural rehabilitation of stream fish populations in an Illinois catchment. Freshwater Biology 29: 295–300. Benson, R.L. 2006. Cultural Resources Overview of the Sumter National Forest. Southeastern Archeological Services, Inc., Athens, Georgia. April 2006. Bergmann, C., and J.M. Swearingen. 2005. Fact Sheet: Kudzu (Pueraria Montana var. lobata (Willd.)). Plant Conservation Alliance’s Alien Plant Working Group. <http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/ pdf/pumo1.pdf> Accessed April 16, 2013. Boschung, H.T., and R. L. Mayden. 2004. Fishes of Alabama. Smithsonian Books, Washington DC Bradford, M. J. 1997. An experimental study of stranding of juvenile salmonids on PO 00000 Frm 00056 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 gravel bars and inside channels during flow decreases. Regulated Rivers: Research and Management 13:395–401. Brown, L.R., and T. Ford. 2002. Effects of flow on the fish communities of a regulated California river: Implications for managing native fishes. River Research and Applications 18:331–342. Bulak, J.S., and G.J. Jobsis. 1989. South Carolina instream flow studies: A status report. South Carolina Wildlife and Marine Resources Department, Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. Bunn, SE., and A.G. Arthington. 2002. Basic principles and ecological consequences of altered flow regimes for aquatic biodiversity. Environmental Management 30(4):492–507. Carnagey Biological Services, LLC. 2010. Benthic macroinvertebrate assessment of the Enoree River near the Riverdale Project operated by Lockhart Power Company, Spartanburg County, South Carolina. Submitted to Kleinschmidt Associates, Lexington, South Carolina. Chernicoff, S., and R. Venkatakrishnan. 1995. Geology: An Introduction to Physical Geology. Worth Publishers, Inc., New York, New York. Coughlan, D.J., B.K. Baker, D.H. Barwick, A.B. Garner, and W.R. Doby. 2007. Catostomid fishes of the Wateree River, South Carolina. Southeastern Naturalist 6(2):305–320. Craven, SW., J T. Peterson, M.C. Freeman, T.J. Kwak, and E. Irwin. 2010. Modeling the relations between flow regime components, species traits, and spawning success of fishes in warmwater streams. Environmental Management 46:181–194. Cushman, R.M. 1985. Review of ecological effects of rapidly varying flows downstream from hydroelectric facilities. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 5:330–339. Dabrowski, K.R., L.Y. Kok, and F. Takashima. 1986. How efficiently do fish larvae and juveniles swim? Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology A 85:657– 661. Dodds, W., and M. Whiles. 2010. Freshwater Ecology: concepts and environmental application of limnology. Academic Press, San Diego, CA. Department of Interior (DOI). 1994. Animal Candidate Review for Listing as Endangered or Threatened Species. Federal Register 59(219):58982–59028. Dillon, R.T., Jr., M. Ashton, M. Kohl, W. Reeves, T. Smith, T. Stewart, and B. Watson. 2013. The freshwater gastropods of North America. <http:// www.fwgna.org.> Accessed October 30, 2013. Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). 1992. Fish entrainment and turbine mortality review and guidelines. Prepared by Stone and Webster Environmental Services, Boston, Massachusetts. EPRI Report No. TR– 101231, Project 2694–01. September 1992. lll. 1997. Turbine entrainment and survival database—field tests. Prepared by Alden Research Laboratory, Inc., E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices Holden, Massachusetts. EPRI Report No. TR–108630. lll. 2000. Technical evaluation of the utility of intake approach velocity as an indicator of potential adverse environmental impact under Clean Water Act Section 316(b). Palo Alto, CA. EPRI Report No. 1000731. lll. 2003. Evaluating the effects of power plant operations on aquatic communities: Summary of impingement survival studies. Palo Alto, CA. EPRI Report No. 1007821. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). 2010. Environmental assessment for the Pacolet Hydroelectric Project, FERC Project No. 2621–009, South Carolina. November 2010. 117 pp. lll. 2012a. Telephone Meeting Summary with the South Carolina State Historic Preservation Office for the Riverdale Hydroelectric Project No. 13590–001. Filed on May 24, 2012. lll. 2012b. Special Dam Safety Inspection Report, FERC Project No. 4362, South Carolina. September 2012. 15 pp. lll. 2013. Special Dam Safety Inspection Report, FERC Project No. 4362, South Carolina. March 2013. 26 pp. Federal Power Commission, Bureau of Power. 1970. Planning Status Report: water resource appraisals for hydroelectric licensing. Santee River Basin, South Carolina—North Carolina. 127pp. Freeman, M.C., Z.H. Bowen, K.D. Bovee, and E.R. Irwin. 2001. Flow and habitat effects on juvenile fish abundance in natural and altered flow regimes. Ecological Applications 11(1):179–190. Galat, D.L., C.R. Berry, E.J. Peters, and R.G. White. 2005. The Missouri River basin. In A.E. Benke, and C.E. Cushing (eds.), Rivers of North America. Elsevier Academic Press, San Diego, California. Gelwick, F.P. 1990. Longitudinal and temporal comparisons of riffle and pool fish assemblages in a northeastern Oklahoma Ozark stream. Copeia (4): 1072–1082. Gislason, J.C. 1985. Aquatic insect abundance in a regulated stream under fluctuating and stable diel flow patterns. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 5:39–46. Grabowski, T.B., and J.J. Isely. 2007. Spatial and temporal segregation of spawning habitat by catostomids in the Savannah River, Georgia and South Carolina, U.S.A. Journal of Fish Biology 70:782– 798. Jenkins, R.E., and N.M. Burkhead. 1993. Freshwater fishes of Virginia. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, Maryland. Kennon, R.A. 2007. Effects of spatial and temporal variability of shoal habitat on stream fish assemblages in Chattahoochee tributaries, Alabama. M.S. Thesis, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama. Knapp, W.E., B. Kynard, and S.P. Gloss (eds.). 1982. Potential effects of Kaplan, Osseberger, and bulb turbines on anadromous fishes of the northeastern United States. FWS/OBS–82/62. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Newton, VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 Massachusetts. September 1982. 132 pp. Knight, J.R. 2011. Age, growth, home range, movement, and habitat selection of redeye bass (Micropterus coosae) from the middle Tallapoosa River tributaries (Alabama, USA). M.S. Thesis, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama. Lawler, Matucky, and Skelly Engineers. 1991. Length/width size estimation. In Fish entrainment monitoring program at the Hodenpyl Hydroelectric Project, FERC No. 2599, Application. Consumers Power Company, Jackson, Mississippi. Lockhart Power Company, Inc. (Lockhart Power). 2009. Pre-Application Document for the Riverdale Hydroelectric Project, FERC No 13590. Prepared by Kleinschmidt Associates on behalf of Lockhart Power, Lexington, SC. Filed September 28, 2009. lll. 2010a. Application for license for the Riverdale Hydroelectric Project, FERC No. 13590–001. Prepared by Kleinschmidt Associates on behalf of Lockhart Power, Lexington, SC. Filed August 31, 2010. lll. 2010b. Letters regarding P–13590. Letter from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control regarding Coastal Zone Management Act Consistency; Comment Letter of the Catawba Indian Nation. Filed on September 30, 2010. lll. 2010c. Riverdale fish entrainment and turbine mortality analysis. Prepared by Kleinschmidt and Associates on behalf of Lockhart Power, Lexington, SC. lll. 2011a. Partial Response to March 8, 2011 FERC Letter Detailing License Application Deficiencies and Requesting Additional Information on the Riverdale Hydroelectric Project, FERC No. 13590– 001. Prepared by Kleinschmidt Associates on behalf of Lockhart Power, Lexington, SC. Filed on June 6, 2011. lll. 2011b. Partial Response to March 8, 2011 FERC Letter Requesting Additional Information on the Riverdale Hydroelectric Project, FERC No. 13590– 001. Prepared by Kleinschmidt Associates on behalf of Lockhart Power, Lexington, SC. Filed on August 5, 2011. lll. 2012. Response to December 22, 2011 FERC Letter Requesting Additional Information on the Riverdale Hydroelectric Project, FERC No. 13590– 001. Prepared by Kleinschmidt Associates on behalf of Lockhart Power, Lexington, SC. Filed on February 21, 2012. Madsen, J.D. Alligatorweed [Alternanthera philoxeriodes (Mart.) Griseb.]. Mississippi State, Mississippi. <http:// www.gri.msstate.edu/ipams/FactSheets/ Alligatorweed.pdf> Accessed February 13, 2013. Magoulick, D.D., and R.M. Kobza. 2003. The role of refugia for fishes during drought: a review and synthesis. Freshwater Biology 48: 1186–1198. Maraldo, DC, and H.R. MacCrimmon. 1981. Reproduction, distribution, and population size of largemouth bass, Micropterus salmoides, in an oligotrophic Precambrian Shield lake. Canadian Field Naturalist 95(3):298–306. PO 00000 Frm 00057 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 76959 Meffe, G.K. and A.L. Sheldon. 1990. Postdefaunation recovery of fish assemblages in southeastern blackwater streams. Ecology 71: 657–667. Mettee, M.F., P.E. O’Neil, and J.M. Pierson. 1996. Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin. Oxmoor House, Birmingham, Alabama. Mulholland, P. J., and D. R. Lenat. 1992. Streams of the Southern Piedmont, Atlantic Drainage. In C.T. Hackney, S.M. Adams, and W.H. Martin (eds.), Biodiversity of the Southeastern Unites States Aquatic Communities (pp. 193– 231). John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York, New York. Murray, D.E. 1974. A review of literature dealing with the swimming speeds of fishes of the Lake Erie vicinity. The Ohio State University Center for Lake Erie Area Research, Columbus, Ohio. Clear Technical Report No. 157. Nagrodski, A., G.D. Raby, C.T. Hasler, M.K. Taylor, and S.J. Cooke. 2012. Fish stranding in freshwater systems: Sources, consequences, and mitigation. Journal of Environmental Management 103:133– 141. NatureServe. 2013a. Georgia aster. In NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. http://www.natureserve.org/ explorer/servlet/ NatureServe?searchName= Symphyotrichum+georgianum Accessed April 16, 2013. Nilsson, C., and K. Berggren. 2000. Alterations of riparian ecosystems caused by river regulation. Bioscience 50(9):783–792. National Park Service (NPS). 2011. Nationwide Rivers Inventory. http:// www.nps.gov/ncrc/programs/rtca/nri/ index.html Accessed March 1, 2013. Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). 2012. The Twelve Orders of Soil Taxonomy poster). http://soils.usda.gov/ technical/soil_orders Accessed July 2, 2013. lll. 2013. Soil Series Classification Database. http://soils.usda.gov/technical/ classification/scfile/index.html. Accessed July 2, 2013. Olmsted, L.L., and D.G. Cloutman. 1979. Life history of the flat bullhead, Ictalurus platycephalus, in Lake Norman, North Carolina. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 108:38–42. Peterson, J.T., and P.B. Bayley. 1993. Colonization rates of fishes in experimentally defaunated warmwater streams. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 122: 199–207. Robinson, A.T., R.W. Clarkson, and R.E. Forrest. 1998. Dispersal of larval fishes in a regulated river tributary. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 127:772–786. Rohde, F.C., R.G. Arndt, J.W. Foltz, and J.M. Quattro. 2009. Freshwater fishes of South Carolina. University of South Carolina Press, Columbia, South Carolina. South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (South Carolina E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 76960 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices DHEC). 2005a. Stormwater BMP Handbook. https://www.scdhec.gov/ environment/water/swater/ BMPhandbook.htm Accessed June 27, 2013. lll. 2005b. Health Consultation: South Atlantic Galvanizing (a/k/a National Galvanizing) Soil, Surface Water, and Sediment Sampling Data; Travelers Rest, Greenville County, South Carolina; EPA Facility ID: SCD062640263. lll. 2007. Watershed Water Quality Assessment, Broad River Basin. Available https://www.scdhec.gov/ environment/water/shed/docs/bd-006– 07.pdf Accessed August 6, 2013. lll. 2013a. Enoree River, Watershed 03050108–01. Available https:// www.scdhec.gov/environment/water/ shed/docs/50108–01.pdf Accessed June 27, 2013. lll. 2013b. Enoree River, Watershed 03050108–02. Available https:// www.scdhec.gov/environment/water/ shed/docs/50108–02.pdf Accessed June 27, 2013. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (South Carolina DNR), Aquatic Nuisance Species Program. 2005. South Carolina Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy: 2005– 2010. Columbia, South Carolina. September 2005. lll. 2008. DNR biologists continue to study redeye bass. DNR News. Available http://www.dnr.sc.gov/news/yr2008/ sept1/sep1_redeye.html Accessed May 23, 2013. lll. 2010. Aquatic Nuisance Species Program, Illegal Aquatic Plants. Available http://www.dnr.sc.gov/water/ envaff/aquatic/illegal1.html Accessed March 22, 2013. lll. 2012. South Carolina Aquatic Plant Management Plan. Columbia, South Carolina. 2012. South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation, & Tourism (South Carolina DPRT). 2002. The South Carolina State Trails Plan. Columbia, South Carolina. lll. 2008. South Carolina State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP). Columbia, South Carolina. April 2008. South Carolina Water Resources Commission (South Carolina WRC) and NPS. 1988. South Carolina Rivers Assessment. Columbia, South Carolina. September 1988. Stanford, J.A., J.V. Ward, W.J. Liss, C.A. Frissell, R.N. Williams, J.A. Lichatowich, and C.C. Coutant. 1996. A general protocol for restoration of regulated rivers. Regulated Rivers: Research and Management 12(4–5):391–413. Swearingen, J.M. and P.D. Pannill. 2009. Fact Sheet: Tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima). Plant Conservation Alliance’s Alien Plant Working Group. Available http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/ pdf/aial1.pdf Accessed April 16, 2013. Tennant, D.L. 1976. Instream flow regimens for flush, wildlife, recreation and related environmental resources. Fisheries 1(4):6–10. VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 Tramer, E.J. 1977. Catastrophic mortality of stream fishes trapped in shrinking pools. American Midland Naturalist 97(2): 469– 478. Travnichek, V.H., and M.J. Maceina. 1994. Comparison of flow regulation effects on fish assemblages in shallow and deep water habitats in the Tallapoosa River, Alabama. Journal of Freshwater Ecology 9:207–216. Travnichek, V.H., M.B. Bain, and M.J. Maceina. 1995. Recovery of a warmwater fish assemblage after the initiation of a minimum-flow release downstream from a hydroelectric dam. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 124:836–844. Tyus, H.M., C.W. Brown, and J.F. Saunders, III. 2000. Movements of young Colorado pikeminnow and razorback sucker in response to water flow and light level. Journal of Freshwater Ecology 15(4):525– 535. U.S. Forest Service (Forest Service). 2010. Enoree River Canoe Trail. Available http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_ DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5275654.pdf Accessed March 15, 2013. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Invasive Species Information Center. 2013. Species Profile: Alligatorweed. Available http:// www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/aquatics/ alligatorweed.shtml Accessed April 16, 2013. lll. 2012. What is an invasive species? Available http:// www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/ whatis.shtml Accessed May 16, 2013. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). 2012. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Species Assessment and Listing Priority Assignment Form, Georgia aster (Symphyotrichum georgianum). Available http://ecos.fws.gov/docs/ candidate/assessments/2013/r4/Q2Z5_ P01.pdf Accessed June 1, 2013. U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). 2013. USGS surface-water for South Carolina Web page. Available http:// nwis.waterdata.usgs.gov/sc/nwis/uv/?cb_ 00065=on&cb_00060=on&format=html& period=&begin_date=1994–01–01&end_ date=2012–12–31&site_no=02160390. Accessed June 6, 2013. Venn Beecham, R., C.D. Minchew, and G.R. Parsons. 2007. Comparative swimming performance of juvenile pond-cultured and wild-caught channel catfish. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 27:729–734. Wallus R., and T.P. Simon. 2008. Reproductive Biology and Early Life History of Fishes in the Ohio River Drainage. Volume 6: Elassomatidae and Centrarchidae. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, USA. Wharton, C.H. 1978. The Natural Environments of Georgia. Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Atlanta, Georgia. Willis, D.W. 1986. Review of water level management of Kansas reservoirs. In G.E. Hall and M.J. Van Den Avyle (eds.), Reservoir fisheries management: strategies for the 80s (pp. 110–114), PO 00000 Frm 00058 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 American Fisheries Society, Southern Division, Reservoir Committee, Bethesda, Maryland. Wood, P.J., and P.D. Armitage. 1997. Biological effects of fine sediment in the lotic environment. Environmental Management 21(2):203–217. Wood, R. K. and D. E. Whelan. 1962. Lowflow regulation as a means of improving stream fishing. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Southeast Association of Fish Commissioners 16:375–386. Woodruff Roebuck Water District. 2012. Letter with scoping comments regarding the Riverdale Project (FERC No.13590). Filed on February 9, 2012. Worthen, W.B. 2002. The Structure of Larval Odonate Assemblages in the Enoree River Basin of South Carolina. Southeast Naturalist 1(3):205–216. Worthen, W.B., DC Haney, C.C. Cuddy, V.L. Turgeon, and C.B. Andersen. 2001. The Effect of an Industrial Spill on the Macrofauna of a South Carolina Stream: Physiological to Community-Level Responses. Journal of Freshwater Ecology 16(3):467–477. 8.0 List of Preparers Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Sarah Salazar—Project Coordinator, Geology and Soils, Terrestrial Resources, Threatened and Endangered Species (Environmental Biologist; B.A., Environmental Studies; M.S., Applied Ecology) Allan Creamer—Water and Fisheries Resources (Fisheries Biologist; B.S. and M.S., Fisheries Science) Jeanne Edwards—Water Resources (Environmental Biologist; B.S., Biology/Biochemistry; MM, Public Administration) Rachel McNamara—Recreation and Land Use, Cultural Resources (Outdoor Recreation Planner; B.A., Public Policy/Environmental Studies; M.C.P., Land Use and Environmental Planning) Adam Peer—Fisheries Resources (Fish Biologist; B.S. Biology; M.S., Fisheries Science; Ph.D., Marine, Estuarine and Environmental Sciences) Michael Spencer—Need for Power, Engineering and Developmental Analysis (Civil Engineer; B.S., Civil Engineering) Appendix A Fish lengths susceptible to impingement (shaded gray) and entrainment (shaded blue) as a function of burst swim speed. Horizontal dashed line is approach velocity and solid vertical line is minimum fish length susceptible to impingement. (Source: Staff). BILLING CODE 6717–01–P E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 PO 00000 Frm 00059 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 76961 EN19DE13.011</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices VerDate Mar<15>2010 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 PO 00000 Frm 00060 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 EN19DE13.012</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 76962 VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 PO 00000 Frm 00061 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 76963 EN19DE13.013</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices VerDate Mar<15>2010 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 PO 00000 Frm 00062 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 EN19DE13.014</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 76964 VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 PO 00000 Frm 00063 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 76965 EN19DE13.015</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices VerDate Mar<15>2010 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 PO 00000 Frm 00064 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 EN19DE13.016</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 76966 VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 PO 00000 Frm 00065 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 76967 EN19DE13.017</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices 76968 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / Notices [FR Doc. 2013–30183 Filed 12–18–13; 8:45 am] VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:45 Dec 18, 2013 Jkt 232001 PO 00000 Frm 00066 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 9990 E:\FR\FM\19DEN2.SGM 19DEN2 EN19DE13.018</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES2 BILLING CODE 6717–01–C

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 244 (Thursday, December 19, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 76903-76968]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-30183]



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No. 244

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Part II





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Federal Energy Regulatory Commission





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Lockhart Power Company, Inc.; Notice of Availability of Draft 
Environmental Assessment; Notice

Federal Register / Vol. 78 , No. 244 / Thursday, December 19, 2013 / 
Notices

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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

[Project No. 13590-001]


Lockhart Power Company, Inc.; Notice of Availability of Draft 
Environmental Assessment

    In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 
(NEPA) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (Commission or 
FERC) regulations, 18 CFR part 380, the Office of Energy Projects has 
reviewed Lockhart Power Company, Inc.'s application for license for the 
Riverdale Hydroelectric Project (FERC Project No. 13590-001), located 
on the Enoree River, near the town of Enoree, in Spartanburg and 
Laurens Counties, South Carolina. The project does not occupy federal 
lands.
    Staff prepared a draft environmental assessment (DEA), which 
analyzes the potential environmental effects of licensing the project, 
and concludes that licensing the project, with appropriate 
environmental protective measures, would not constitute a major federal 
action that would significantly affect the quality of the human 
environment.
    A copy of the DEA is available for review at the Commission in the 
Public Reference Room or may be viewed on the Commission's Web site at 
http://www.ferc.gov using the ``eLibrary'' link. Enter the docket 
number excluding the last three digits in the docket number field to 
access the document. For assistance, contact FERC Online Support at 
FERCOnlineSupport@ferc.gov, at (866)208-3676 (toll free), or, 202-502-
8659 (TTY).
    You may also register online at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/esubscription.asp to be notified via email of new filings and issuances 
related to this or other pending projects. For assistance, contact FERC 
Online Support.
    Any comments should be filed within 45 days from the date of this 
notice.
    The Commission strongly encourages electronic filing. Please file 
comments using the Commission's eFiling system at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling.asp. Commenters can submit brief comments up to 
6,000 characters, without prior registration, using the eComment system 
at http://www.ferc.gov/dcos-filing/ecomment.asp. You must include your 
name and contact information at the end of your comments. For 
assistance, please contact FERC Online Support.
    In lieu of electronic filing, please send a paper copy to: 
Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., 
Washington, DC 20426. The first page of any filing should include 
docket number P-13590-001.
    For further information, contact Sarah Salazar by phone at 202-502-
6863, or by email at sarah.salazar@ferc.gov.

    Dated: December 12, 2013.
Kimberly D. Bose,
Secretary.

Draft Environmental Assessment for Hydropower License

Riverdale Hydroelectric Project, FERC Project No. 13590-001, South 
Carolina

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Office of Energy Projects, 
Division of Hydropower Licensing, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 
20426
December 2013

Table of Contents

 
 
 
LIST OF FIGURES.............................................         iii
LIST OF TABLES..............................................         iii
ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS..................................           v
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY...........................................         vii
1.0 INTRODUCTION............................................           1
    1.1 APPLICATION.........................................           1
    1.2 PURPOSE OF ACTION AND NEED FOR POWER................           1
        1.2.1 Purpose of Action.............................           1
        1.2.2 Need for Power................................           3
    1.3 STATUTORY AND REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS...............           4
        1.3.1 Federal Power Act.............................           5
        1.3.2 Clean Water Act...............................           6
        1.3.3 Endangered Species Act........................           6
        1.3.4 Coastal Zone Management Act...................           6
        1.3.5 National Historic Preservation Act............           7
    1.4 PUBLIC REVIEW AND CONSULTATION......................           8
        1.4.1 Scoping.......................................           8
        1.4.2 Interventions.................................           8
        1.4.3 Comments on the License Application...........           9
2.0 PROPOSED ACTION AND ALTERNATIVES........................          10
    2.1 NO-ACTION ALTERNATIVE...............................          10
        2.1.1 Existing Project Facilities...................          10
        2.1.2 Project Safety................................          11
        2.1.3 Existing Project Operation and Environmental            11
         Measures...........................................
    2.2 APPLICANT'S PROPOSAL................................          11
        2.2.1 Proposed Project Facilities...................          11
        2.2.2 Proposed Project Operations...................          12
        2.2.3 Proposed Environmental Measures...............          13
    2.3 STAFF ALTERNATIVE...................................          14
    2.4 ALTERNATIVES CONSIDERED BUT ELIMINATED FROM FURTHER           16
     ANALYSIS...............................................
        2.4.1 Issuing a Non-power License...................          16
        2.4.2 Project Decommissioning.......................          17
3.0 ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYSIS..................................          18
    3.1 GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF THE RIVER BASIN..............          18
    3.2 SCOPE OF CUMULATIVE EFFECTS ANALYSIS................          19
        3.2.1 Geographic Scope..............................          19
        3.2.2 Temporal Scope................................          19
    3.3 PROPOSED ACTION AND ACTION ALTERNATIVES.............          20
        3.3.1 Geologic and Soil Resources...................          20

[[Page 76905]]

 
        3.3.2 Aquatic Resources.............................          29
        3.3.3 Terrestrial Resources.........................          67
        3.3.4 Threatened and Endangered Species.............          77
        3.3.5 Recreation and Land Use.......................          79
        3.3.6 Cultural Resources............................          86
    3.4 NO-ACTION ALTERNATIVE...............................          88
4.0 DEVELOPMENTAL ANALYSIS..................................          89
    4.1 POWER AND DEVELOPMENTAL BENEFITS OF THE PROJECT.....          89
    4.2 COMPARISON OF ALTERNATIVES..........................          90
        4.2.1 No-action Alternative.........................          91
        4.2.2 Lockhart Power's Proposal.....................          91
        4.2.3 Staff Alternative.............................          91
    4.3 COST OF ENVIRONMENTAL MEASURES......................          92
5.0 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS.........................         104
    5.1 COMPARISON OF ALTERNATIVES..........................         104
    5.2 COMPREHENSIVE DEVELOPMENT AND RECOMMENDED                    109
     ALTERNATIVE............................................
    5.3 UNAVOIDABLE ADVERSE EFFECTS.........................         124
    5.4 FISH AND WILDLIFE AGENCY RECOMMENDATIONS............         124
    5.5 CONSISTENCY WITH COMPREHENSIVE PLANS................         130
6.0 FINDING OF NO SIGNIFICANT IMPACT........................         132
7.0 LITERATURE CITED........................................         133
8.0 LIST OF PREPARERS.......................................         142
 


                             List of Figures
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Figure 1.........  Location of the Riverdale Project........           2
Figure 2.........  Percent of time during each month that             51
                    inflows to the Riverdale Project are
                    greater than 170 cfs and less than or
                    equal to 500 cfs (i.e. when peaking with
                    drawdown operation can occur under
                    Lockhart Power's proposed operations),
                    less than or equal to 170 cfs (i.e. flow
                    below turbine minimum turbine capacity
                    plus 50 cfs minimum flow), and > 500 cfs
                    (i.e. flows greater than maximum turbine
                    capacity plus 50 cfs minimum flow).
Figure 3.........  Illustration of the front of the 2.25-             61
                    inch headrace trashrack.
Figure 4.........  Illustration of the front of the 1-inch            62
                    headrace trash rack.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


                             List of Tables
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Table 1..........  Major statutory and regulatory                      4
                    requirements for the Riverdale Project.
Table 2..........  Select characteristics of mapped soil              21
                    units at the Riverdale Project.
Table 3..........  Synthesized monthly flow data (cfs) for            30
                    the Riverdale Project from USGS gage No.
                    02160390 Enoree River at Woodruff, South
                    Carolina.
Table 4..........  South Carolina water quality standards             31
                    for freshwaters.
Table 5..........  Fish species and number collected in the           35
                    vicinity of the Riverdale Project during
                    baseline sampling on June 10-11 and July
                    6-7, 2010.
Table 6..........  Spawning dates and habitat requirements            39
                    for eight Conservation Species observed
                    in the Riverdale bypassed reach.
Table 7..........  Flows through the bypassed reach at FERC           46
                    licensed projects in the Broad River
                    Basin, South Carolina.
Table 8..........  Minimum flow required for fish in streams          49
                    identified by Tennant (1976).
Table 9..........  Calculation of intake cross-sectional              63
                    area for the 2.25-inch and 1-inch
                    trashracks.
Table 10.........  Burst swim speeds of four species found            64
                    in the Riverdale impoundment.
Table 11.........  Minimum fish total lengths susceptible to          64
                    impingement at 1-inch and 2.25-inch
                    trashracks, based on trashrack bar
                    spacing and fish width-at-length
                    relationship (i.e. width = [alpha] x
                    total length [beta]) alone and exclusive
                    of burst swim speeds.
Table 12.........  Parameters for the economic analysis of            90
                    the proposed Riverdale Project.
Table 14.........  Summary of annual cost, power benefits,            90
                    and annual net benefits of the
                    alternatives for the Riverdale Project.
Table 14.........  Cost of environmental mitigation and               93
                    enhancement measures considered in
                    assessing the environmental effects of
                    refurbishing, operating, and maintaining
                    the Riverdale Project.
Table 15.........  Comparison of Alternatives for the                104
                    Riverdale Project.
Table 16.........  Fish and wildlife agency recommendations          125
                    for the Riverdale Project.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Acronyms and Abbreviations

APE area of potential effects
applicant Lockhart Power Company, Inc.
BMPs Best Management Practices
[deg]C degrees Celsius
certificate Water Quality Certificate
cfs cubic feet per second
Commission Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Conservation Species South Carolina Priority Species
Council Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
Corps U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
CWA Clean Water Act
CZMA Coastal Zone Management Act
DO dissolved oxygen
DOI U.S. Department of the Interior
EA environmental assessment
EPA U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
[deg]F degrees Fahrenheit
fps feet per second
FERC Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
FPA Federal Power Act
FWS U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
LIP low inflow protocol
Lockhart Power Lockhart Power Company, Inc.
MADF mean annual daily flow
MW megawatt
MWh megawatt-hour
mg/L milligrams per liter

[[Page 76906]]

msl mean sea level
National Register National Register of Historic Places
NEPA National Environmental Policy Act
NERC North American Electric Reliability Council
NHPA National Historic Preservation Act
NMFS National Marine Fisheries Service
NPDES National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
NRCS Natural Resource Conservation Service
NGVD National Geodetic Vertical Datum
PM&E measure protection, mitigation, and enhancement measure
Riverdale LLC Riverdale Development Venture, LLC
ROR run-of-river
ROW rights-of-way
SERC Southeastern Electric Reliability Council
SCORP Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan
SHPO State Historic Preservation Officer
South Carolina DHEC South Carolina Department of Health and 
Environmental Control
South Carolina DNR South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
South Carolina DPRT South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation, 
and Tourism
South Carolina EPPC South Carolina Exotic Pest Plant Council
South Carolina WRC South Carolina Water Resources Commission
THPO Tribal Historic Preservation Officer
USGS U.S. Geological Survey
Water District Woodruff-Roebuck Water District
Water Plan South Carolina Water Plan

Executive Summary

Proposed Action

    On August 31, 2010, Lockhart Power Company, Inc. (Lockhart Power or 
applicant), filed a license application for the Riverdale Hydroelectric 
Project (Riverdale Project or project) with the Federal Energy 
Regulatory Commission (Commission or FERC). Lockhart Power proposes to 
repair existing facilities and return the project,\1\ which has been 
inoperable since 2001, to operation. The proposed 1.24-megawatt (MW) 
project is located on the Enoree River near the city of Enoree, in 
Spartanburg and Laurens Counties, South Carolina. The project does not 
occupy any federal lands.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ The project was originally licensed to Inman Mills as FERC 
No. 4362 on September 29, 1982. Inman Mills, 20 FERC ] 62,586 
(1982).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Project Description

    The Riverdale Project is located at river mile 52 of the 110-mile-
long Enoree River in northwestern South Carolina. The proposed project 
would consist of the following: (1) An existing 425-foot-long, 12-foot-
high concrete gravity dam with three evenly spaced, integral sand 
gates, and 2-foot-high flashboards; (2) an existing 6.6-acre 
impoundment with a gross storage of 22.0 acre-feet; (3) an existing 85-
foot-long, 50-foot-wide concrete headrace canal with an intake 
structure equipped with trash racks with 2.25-inch bar spacing; (4) an 
existing 9-foot-diameter, 340-foot-long steel penstock equipped with a 
second set of trash racks with bar spacing of about 10 inches; (5) an 
existing wood frame powerhouse containing one 1.24-MW capacity 
generating unit; (6) an existing 510-foot-long tailrace; (7) an 
existing 700-foot-long transmission line from the powerhouse to an 
existing Duke Energy distribution line; (8) an existing approximately 
1,376-foot-long, 20-foot-wide paved access road; and (9) appurtenant 
facilities. Flow diverted to the powerhouse creates a 1,400-foot-long 
bypassed reach downstream from the dam.
    Since the project became in-operable 12 years ago, all flows have 
passed over the dam and into the 1,400-foot-long bypassed reach. The 2-
foot-high flashboards were partially damaged during high flow events in 
2012 and 2013.

Proposed Facilities

    Because Lockhart Power is not the current licensee or current owner 
of the project and has not had full access to the project, it plans to 
spend the first year following license issuance assessing the condition 
of project facilities and finalizing any engineering design needed to 
refurbish the project. To make the project operational, Lockhart Power 
expects it would, at a minimum need to: (1) Repair or replace the sand 
gates and gate operators; (2) repair or replace the 2-foot flashboards 
on the dam; (3) replace a 193-foot-long above ground section of the 
penstock; (4) modify the bar spacing on the penstock trashrack from 10 
to 5 inches; (5) refurbish the turbine generator; (6) repair the plant 
controls and governor; (7) repair the powerhouse roof; and (8) dredge 
sediment and debris from the tailrace.
    Lockhart Power would operate the project using a combination of 
run-of-river (ROR) and peaking modes. Lockhart Power would typically 
operate the project in a ROR mode, with project outflow approximately 
equaling project inflow, such that the impoundment surface elevation 
stays within 1 foot (+/-10 percent) of the top of the flashboards. When 
inflows are insufficient to operate the turbine at its maximum 
hydraulic capacity i.e. of 450 cubic feet per second (cfs) and provide 
a continuous minimum flow of 50 cfs to the bypassed reach (i.e. when 
inflow is less than 500 cfs), Lockhart Power would operate the project 
in a ``peaking'' mode. Peaking events would occur no more than once 
daily, until either the daily period of increased need for power ends 
or until the impoundment surface elevation is drawn down a maximum of 4 
feet (+/-10 percent) below the top of the flashboards. Following each 
peaking event, Lockhart Power would suspend operation and store inflow, 
minus the minimum flow to the bypassed reach, to refill the impoundment 
(likely overnight) to its normal elevation of within 1 foot (+/-10 
percent) of the top of the flashboards, allowing it to return to ROR 
mode until the next peaking event. Lockhart Power expects that peaking 
operation would occur less than half of the days in any given year.

Proposed Environmental Measures

    Lockhart Power proposes, once the project is operational, the 
following measures to protect or enhance environmental resources at the 
project:
     Implement a sediment management plan that consists of 
using the existing sand gates to draw down the impoundment below the 
normal operating range for periodic inspections and maintenance and, if 
possible, avoiding drawdowns from March 15 through June 1 to prevent 
significant accumulation of sediments in the project impoundment and 
untimely releases of sediment downstream.
     Monitor water quality as may be required by South Carolina 
Department of Health and Environmental Council (South Carolina DHEC).
     Maintain a minimum flow of 50 cfs in the bypassed reach 
and a total minimum continuous flow of 60 cfs, or inflow if less, in 
the Enoree River downstream from the confluence of the tailrace and the 
bypassed reach to protect aquatic habitat. The minimum flow in the 
bypassed reach would be provided through one or more of the three sand 
gates selected in consultation with South Carolina DNR, Interior, and 
NMFS, after repairs. Lockhart Power would develop a rating curve for 
the sand gates and verify it once every 6 years to ensure defined 
minimum flows are being provided. The remaining 10 cfs would be 
provided via leakage through the turbine.
     When average daily inflows are less than or equal to 80 
cfs (+/-10 percent), release all inflow into the bypassed reach (i.e. 
low inflow protocol [LIP]) to protect aquatic resources downstream from 
Riverdale dam, including during the fish spawning season.
     Implement best management practices (BMPs) to protect 
vegetation

[[Page 76907]]

within the project boundary, such as limiting vegetation and ground-
disturbing activities and maintaining a minimum 25-foot-wide forested 
riparian buffer on project shorelines, as long as this does not 
interfere with Lockhart Power's ability to perform project-related 
activities.
     Construct and maintain: (1) A canoe take-out located 
approximately 220 feet upstream of the dam; (2) a canoe put-in located 
approximately 1,075 feet downstream from the dam; (3) a 1,650-foot-long 
portage trail connecting the proposed canoe take-out and put-in; (4) a 
parking area located adjacent to the proposed portage trail; and (5) 
signage to improve public access at the project and to the Enoree 
River.
     Provide informal public access for fishing at the project 
impoundment, tailrace, and bypassed reach.

Alternatives Considered

    This draft environmental assessment (draft EA) considers the 
following alternatives: (1) Lockhart Power's proposal; (2) Lockhart 
Power's proposal with staff modifications (staff alternative); and (3) 
the no-action alternative, meaning that Lockhart Power would not 
refurbish the hydroelectric facilities and resume project operations.
    Under the staff alternative, the project would be operated and 
maintained as proposed by Lockhart Power with the modifications and 
additional measures described below. Our recommended modifications and 
additional environmental measures include, or are based on, 
recommendations made by federal and state resource agencies that have 
an interest in resources that may be affected by operation of the 
proposed project, as well as those identified by staff.
    The staff alternative includes the following additional measures 
and modifications to Lockhart Power's proposal:
     Develop and implement a site-specific soil erosion and 
sediment control plan, which includes the BMPs described in the South 
Carolina DHEC's Stormwater BMP Handbook, to minimize erosion and 
sedimentation during soil-disturbing activities associated with project 
construction and repairs.
     Develop and implement a sediment management plan to (a) 
test impoundment sediments for heavy metals and other contaminants, 
prior to beginning in-water construction activities and initial 
operation to prevent the release of any toxic substances, and (b) 
annually monitor and manage sediment accumulation in the impoundment to 
prevent the potential release of large quantities of sediment during 
maintenance activities.
     Develop and implement a shoreline stabilization plan to 
identify and stabilize eroding shorelines to minimize potential 
shoreline erosion from impoundment and flow fluctuations during peaking 
operation.
     Develop and implement a water quality monitoring plan to 
monitor dissolved oxygen (DO), temperature, and turbidity and implement 
corrective actions, if necessary, to protect aquatic resources located 
downstream of the dam.
     Release a continuous minimum flow of 75 cfs into the 
bypassed reach to protect aquatic habitat.
     Develop and implement a plan to determine the feasibility 
of using the sand gates as a mechanism for providing minimum flows to 
the bypassed reach and to evaluate methods to distribute minimum flows 
into the bypassed reach to protect aquatic habitat.
     Develop and implement a low inflow protocol/drought 
contingency plan to define periods of extended drought and low inflow 
protocols to minimize adverse effects on generation, and fish, 
wildlife, and water quality in the bypassed reach and downstream from 
the tailrace.
     Develop and implement an operation compliance monitoring 
plan to document impoundment fluctuations and minimum flow releases.
     Develop and implement an invasive vegetation monitoring 
and control plan to prevent the spread of alligatorweed and other 
invasive non-native plants during project refurbishment, operation, and 
maintenance activities.
     Determine whether the existing project transmission line 
is consistent with Avian Power Line Interaction Committee (APLIC) 
guidelines and identify measures to minimize potential electrocution 
hazards to birds, if needed.
     Modify Lockhart Power's proposed signage measures to 
include: (1) Identification of the canoe take-out and put in; (2) 
directions from the parking area to river access points; and (3) 
information regarding garbage disposal in order to improve public 
information available at the project and protect environmental 
resources.
     Stop work and notify the South Carolina SHPO and the 
Catawba Indian Nation if any unknown archaeological resources are 
discovered as a result of project construction, operation, or project-
related activities to avoid, lessen, or mitigate potential adverse 
effects on historic resources.
    Under the no-action alternative, the project would continue to be 
inoperable and no new environmental protection, mitigation, or 
enhancement measures would be implemented.

Public Involvement and Areas of Concern

    Before filing its license application, Lockhart Power conducted a 
pre-filing consultation process under the traditional licensing 
process. The intent of the Commission's prefiling process is to 
initiate public involvement early in the project planning process and 
to encourage citizens, governmental entities, tribes, and other 
interested parties to identify and resolve issues prior to an 
application being formally filed with the Commission. After the 
application was filed, we conducted scoping to determine what issues 
and alternatives should be addressed. A scoping document was 
distributed to interested parties on May 15, 2012. On July 13, 2012, we 
issued the Ready for Environmental analysis notice, requesting 
comments, recommendations, terms and conditions, and prescriptions.
    The primary issues associated with licensing the project include 
erosion and sediment control, sediment management, minimum flows to 
protect aquatic species and shoal habitat in the 1,400-foot-long 
bypassed reach, a low inflow protocol during extended droughts, 
invasive vegetation management, and recreation improvements.

Staff Alternative

Geology and Soils

    Refurbishing the hydropower facilities, dredging the tailrace, and 
constructing the recreation improvements would temporarily increase 
soil erosion. Implementing staff's recommended site-specific soil 
erosion and sediment control plan would minimize adverse effects on 
aquatic and terrestrial resources.
    Project repairs and the initial operation of the project would 
likely result in a discharge of a large amount of sediment downstream 
that could contain heavy metals and other contaminants. Staff's 
recommended testing of sediment for contaminants and developing a 
contingency plan, if needed, for removal and proper disposal of any 
contaminated sediment prior to beginning in-water construction 
activities and operation would prevent the unexpected release of any 
toxic substances and potential adverse effects on aquatic resources.

[[Page 76908]]

    Because the Enoree River is heavily sediment laden, regular 
management of sediment bed-load from the impoundment may be needed to 
maintain project operation. Developing and implementing staff's 
recommended sediment management plan, which would include Lockhart 
Power's proposal to avoid drawing down the impoundment below the normal 
operating range for periodic inspections and maintenance from March 15 
through June 1, would minimize adverse effects of sediment releases and 
lower impoundment levels on fish spawning in and downstream from the 
impoundment. The plan would also ensure that sediment in the 
impoundment is regularly monitored and managed, preventing excessive 
sediment accumulation and ensuring that sediment management activities 
occur when they are least likely to cause adverse effects on downstream 
resources.
    Because of areas of highly erodible soils along the project 
shoreline, peaking operation could cause bank sloughing and erosion. 
Developing and implementing a shoreline stabilization plan and 
maintaining a 25-foot forested buffer around the impoundment as 
recommended by staff would help prevent bank erosion and loss of 
riparian habitat.

Aquatic Resources

    In addition to the short-term increases in turbidity during project 
refurbishment, the diversion of flow for project operations would 
reduce flows in the bypassed reach, which could reduce DO levels and 
raise water temperatures in the bypassed reach. Monitoring water 
quality prior to the start of construction, during construction, and 
for 1 year after beginning operation as recommended by staff, would 
ensure that erosion control measures and minimum instream flows are 
adequately protecting water quality and allow for the timely 
identification of any needed corrective measures.
    Lockhart Power's proposed minimum continuous flow of 60 cfs (16 
percent of mean annual daily flow [MADF]) downstream from the tailrace 
and 50 cfs (13 percent of MADF) in the bypassed reach would not 
maintain aquatic resources in the bypassed reach. As defined by Tennant 
(1976),\2\ such flows provide ``fair or degrading'' conditions, and 
close to ``poor or minimum'' conditions during the dry and wet seasons, 
respectively. Compared to Lockhart's proposed flow, staff's recommended 
year-round minimum flow of 75 cfs (20 percent of MADF) would better 
protect aquatic resources because this flow represents ``good'' 
conditions and close to ``fair or degrading'' conditions, as defined by 
Tennant (1996), during the dry and wet seasons, respectively.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ The Tennant method establishes streamflow requirements on 
the basis of a percentage of the mean annual flow, and associates 
aquatic-habitat conditions with different percentages of mean annual 
flow.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Using the sand gates to release the bypassed reach minimum flows as 
proposed by Lockhart Power may not be feasible because the sand gates 
are currently inoperable. Also, sand gates are generally not designed 
for such activities and may become blocked with debris, preventing the 
release of specified flows. Developing and implementing staff's 
recommended minimum instream flow release plan would assess the 
feasibility of using the sand gates to release the minimum flows, 
identify which gate(s) best distribute flows across the bypassed reach, 
and identify alternative means to release minimum flows should using 
the gates prove impracticable.
    Developing a low inflow protocol/drought contingency plan, as 
recommended by staff, would allow Lockhart Power and the resource 
agencies to adjust operation and minimum instream flow requirements as 
specified by the plan during periods of extended drought that minimize 
adverse effects on generation, and on fish, wildlife, and water quality 
in the bypassed reach and downstream from the tailrace.
    Staff's recommended operation compliance monitoring plan would 
provide the Commission a mechanism to monitor compliance with Lockhart 
Power's proposed limits on impoundment fluctuations, minimum instream 
flow releases, and low inflow operation protocols.

Terrestrial Resources

    Limiting disturbances to soil and vegetation and maintaining a 
minimum 25-foot-wide forested riparian buffer along project shorelines, 
as proposed by Lockhart Power, would preserve existing vegetation and 
habitat for wildlife. Staff's recommended invasive plant management 
plan, would minimize the introduction or spread of non-native invasive 
vegetation within the project boundary, and would protect native plant 
communities and the fish and wildlife that depend on them. Implementing 
staff's recommended avian protection plan would facilitate a 
determination on whether the project transmission lines pose a risk of 
avian injury or mortality due to electrocution and identify mitigation 
measures, if needed.

Recreation and Land Use

    Lockhart Power's proposed canoe portage trail, put-in and take-out, 
parking, and directional signage at the project would enhance 
recreation amenities on a reach of the Enoree River designated for 
recreation use and future water trail development. Staff's recommended 
signage requesting that visitors pack out their garbage would reduce 
the likelihood that recreation use at the project would negatively 
affect the surrounding environment. Continued project operation would 
not affect land use.

Cultural Resources

    No historic properties were identified within the project's area of 
potential effects. The South Carolina SHPO concurred that the proposed 
project would have no adverse effect on historic properties. Stopping 
work and notifying the South Carolina SHPO and Catawba Indian Nation if 
any unknown archaeological resources are discovered during project 
construction, operation, or other project-related activities, would 
allow Lockhart Power to define the appropriate treatments necessary to 
avoid, lessen, or mitigate for potential adverse effects from the 
inadvertent discovery.

Conclusions

    Based on our analysis, we recommend licensing the project as 
proposed by Lockhart Power, with some staff modifications and 
additional measures.
    In section 4.2 of the EA, we compare the likely cost of alternative 
power for each of the three alternatives identified above. Under the 
no-action alternative, the project would not be rehabilitated as 
proposed; therefore, the project would not produce any electricity. Our 
analysis shows that during the first year of operating the project as 
proposed by the applicant, project power would cost $265,378, or 
$54.21/MWh more than the likely alternative cost of power. Under the 
staff alternative, project power would cost $297,487, or $68.07/MWh 
more than the likely alternative cost of power.
    We chose the staff alternative as the preferred alternative 
because: (1) The project would provide a dependable source of 
electrical energy for the region (4,370 MWh annually); (2) the 1.24 MW 
of electric energy capacity comes from a renewable resource that does 
not contribute to atmospheric pollution, including greenhouse gases; 
and (3) the recommended environmental measures proposed by Lockhart 
Power, as

[[Page 76909]]

modified by staff, would protect and enhance environmental resources 
affected by the project. The overall benefits of the staff alternative 
would be worth the cost of the proposed and recommended environmental 
measures.
    We conclude that issuing a new license for the project with the 
staff-recommended measures would not be a major federal action 
significantly affecting the quality of the human environment.

Environmental Assessment

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Office of Energy Projects, 
Division of Hydropower Licensing, Washington, DC

Riverdale Hydroelectric Project, FERC Project No. 13590-001--South 
Carolina

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Application

    On August 31, 2010, Lockhart Power Company, Inc. (Lockhart Power or 
applicant), filed a license application for the Riverdale Hydroelectric 
Project (Riverdale Project or project) with the Federal Energy 
Regulatory Commission (Commission or FERC).\3\ The 1.24-megawatt (MW) 
project is located on the Enoree River near Enoree, in Spartanburg and 
Laurens Counties, South Carolina (figure 1). The project does not 
occupy any federal lands. The project is currently inoperable, but as 
proposed by Lockhart Power, it would generate an average of about 4,895 
megawatt-hours (MWh) of energy annually.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ On September 29, 1982, the Riverdale Project was licensed to 
Inman Mills under FERC Project No. 4362. The project has not 
operated since January of 2001. Inman Mills' license expired on 
August 31, 2012, and was subsequently issued an authorization for 
continued project operation until the Commission issues someone else 
a license for the project or otherwise orders disposition of the 
project. Inman Mills did not file a notice of intent to relicense 
the project. On November 29, 2007, the Commission issued a notice 
soliciting applications for subsequent license by August 31, 2010. 
Lockhart Power filed the only timely license application and is 
therefore the only license applicant for the Riverdale Project.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

1.2 Purpose of Action and Need for Power

1.2.1 Purpose of Action

    The purpose of the Riverdale Project is to provide a source of 
hydroelectric power. Therefore, under the provisions of the Federal 
Power Act (FPA), the Commission must decide whether to issue a license 
to Lockhart Power for the Riverdale Project and what conditions should 
be placed on any license issued. In deciding whether to issue a license 
for a hydroelectric project, the Commission must determine that the 
project will be best adapted to a comprehensive plan for improving or 
developing a waterway. In addition to the power and developmental 
purposes for which licenses are issued (such as flood control, 
irrigation, or water supply), the Commission must give equal 
consideration to the purposes of: (1) Energy conservation; (2) the 
protection of, mitigation of damage to, and enhancement of fish and 
wildlife resources; (3) the protection of recreational opportunities; 
and (4) the preservation of other aspects of environmental quality.
BILLING CODE 6717-01-P

[[Page 76910]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TN19DE13.003

BILLING CODE 6717-01-C
    Issuing a license for the Riverdale Project would allow Lockhart 
Power to generate electricity for the term of a license, making 
electrical power from a

[[Page 76911]]

renewable resource available to the local utility Duke Energy, which 
would use it to serve its customers' needs.
    This environmental assessment (EA) assesses the effects associated 
with refurbishment, operation, and maintenance of the project and 
alternatives to the proposed project. It also includes recommendations 
to the Commission on whether to issue a license, and if so, includes 
the recommended terms and conditions to become a part of any license 
issued.
    In this EA, we assess the environmental and economic effects of 
refurbishing and operating the project: (1) As proposed by the 
applicant; and (2) as proposed with our recommended measures. We also 
consider the effects of the no-action alternative. Important issues 
that are addressed include erosion and sediment control, sediment 
management, minimum flows to protect aquatic species and shoals habitat 
in the 1,400-foot-long bypassed reach, a low inflow protocol during 
extended droughts, invasive vegetation management, and recreation 
improvements.

1.2.2 Need for Power

    The Riverdale Project would provide hydroelectric generation to 
meet part of South Carolina's power requirements, resource diversity, 
and capacity needs. With staff's recommended measures, the project 
would have an installed capacity of 1.24 MW and would generate 
approximately 4,370 MWh per year.
    The North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) annually 
forecasts electrical supply and demand nationally and regionally for a 
10-year period. The Riverdale Project is located in the VACAR sub-
region \4\ of the Southeastern Electric Reliability Council (SERC), 
which is one of eight regional reliability councils of NERC. According 
to NERC's 2012 forecast, annual energy requirement for the VACAR sub-
region is projected to grow at a compound annual rate of 1.11 percent, 
from 2012 through 2022 (NERC, 2012).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ The VACAR sub-region includes the states of Virginia, North 
Carolina, and South Carolina.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The power from the Riverdale Project would help meet a need for 
power in the VACAR sub-region of the SERC in both the short- and long-
term. The project provides low-cost power that may displace non-
renewable, fossil-fired generation and contributes to a diversified 
generation mix. Displacing the operation of fossil-fueled facilities 
may avoid some power plant emissions and create an environmental 
benefit.

1.3 Statutory and Regulatory Requirements

    A license for the Riverdale Project is subject to numerous 
requirements under the Federal Power Act (FPA) and other applicable 
statutes. We summarize the major regulatory requirements in table 1 and 
describe them below.

 Table 1--Major Statutory and Regulatory Requirements for the Riverdale
                                 Project
------------------------------------------------------------------------
          Requirement                 Agency               Status
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Section 18 of the FPA (fishway  U.S. Department    Interior and NMFS
 prescriptions).                 of the Interior    reserved authority
                                 (Interior),        to prescribe
                                 National Marine    fishways on
                                 Fisheries          September 10, and
                                 Service (NMFS).    September 11, 2012,
                                                    respectively.
Section 10(j) of the FPA......  Interior, NMFS,    Interior, South
                                 and South          Carolina DNR, and
                                 Carolina           NMFS provided
                                 Department of      section 10(j)
                                 National           recommendations on
                                 Resources (South   September 10,
                                 Carolina DNR).     September 10, and
                                                    September 11, 2012,
                                                    respectively.
Clean Water Act--Water quality  South Carolina     Application for water
 certification (certification).  DNR.               quality
                                                    certification
                                                    received on October
                                                    4, 2012; withdrawn
                                                    and reapplied on
                                                    September 20, 2013;
                                                    due by September 20,
                                                    2014.
Endangered Species Act (ESA)    Interior, U.S.     The project would not
 Consultation.                   Fish and           affect any listed
                                 Wildlife Service   species because none
                                 (FWS).             are known to occur
                                                    in the project
                                                    vicinity; therefore,
                                                    further consultation
                                                    under the ESA is not
                                                    necessary.
Coastal Zone Management Act     South Carolina     South Carolina DHEC
 (CZMA).                         Department of      indicated by letter
                                 Health and         filed September 30,
                                 Environmental      2010, that the
                                 Control (South     project is not
                                 Carolina DHEC).    located within South
                                                    Carolina's coastal
                                                    zone, that the
                                                    proposed project
                                                    poses no reasonably
                                                    foreseeable effects
                                                    on the coastal zone,
                                                    and that no
                                                    consistency
                                                    certification is
                                                    needed.
National Historic Preservation  South Carolina     By letter filed
 Act (NHPA).                     State Historic     August 31, 2010, the
                                 Preservation       South Carolina SHPO
                                 Office (SHPO).     concurred with
                                                    Lockhart Power's
                                                    determination that
                                                    no historic
                                                    properties would be
                                                    affected by the
                                                    project.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

1.3.1 Federal Power Act

1.3.1.1 Section 18 Fishway Prescriptions

    Section 18 of the FPA states that the Commission is to require 
construction, operation, and maintenance by a licensee of such fishways 
as may be prescribed by the Secretaries of Commerce or the U.S. 
Department of the Interior. Interior and Commerce through NMFS, by 
letters filed on September 10 and 11, 2012, respectively, request that 
a reservation of authority to prescribe fishways under section 18 of 
the FPA be included in any license issued for the project.

1.3.1.2 Section 10(j) Recommendations

    Under section 10(j) of the FPA, each hydroelectric license issued 
by the Commission must include conditions based on recommendations 
provided by federal and state fish and wildlife agencies for the 
protection, mitigation, or enhancement of fish and wildlife resources 
affected by the project. The Commission is required to include these 
conditions unless it determines that they are inconsistent with the 
purposes and requirements of the FPA or other applicable law. Before 
rejecting or modifying an agency recommendation, the Commission is 
required to attempt to resolve any such inconsistency with the agency, 
giving due weight to the recommendations, expertise, and statutory 
responsibilities of such agency.
    Interior, South Carolina DNR, and NMFS timely filed on September 
10, September 10, and September 11, 2012, respectively, recommendations 
under 10(j), as summarized in table 18 in section 5.4.1, 
Recommendations of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. In section 5.4,

[[Page 76912]]

we also discuss how we address the agency recommendations and comply 
with section 10(j).

1.3.2 Clean Water Act

    Under section 401 of the Clean Water Act (CWA), a license applicant 
must obtain certification from the appropriate state pollution control 
agency verifying compliance with the CWA. On October 3, 2012, Lockhart 
Power applied to the South Carolina DHEC for certification of the 
Riverdale Project. South Carolina DHEC received this request on October 
4, 2012. On September 20, 2013, Lockhart Power withdrew and re-filed 
for certification, and on the same day South Carolina DHEC received 
this request. South Carolina DHEC has not yet acted on the request. The 
certification is due by September 20, 2014.

1.3.3 Endangered Species Act

    Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act requires federal agencies 
to ensure that their actions are not likely to jeopardize the continued 
existence of endangered or threatened species or result in the 
destruction or adverse modification of the critical habitat of such 
species. There are no federally listed endangered or threatened species 
or critical habitat known to occur in the Riverdale Project vicinity. 
Therefore, licensing the project would not affect listed species and no 
further consultation under section 7 is needed.

1.3.4 Coastal Zone Management Act

    Under section 307(c)(3)(A) of the Coastal Zone Management Act 
(CZMA), 16 U.S.C. 1456(3)(A), the Commission cannot issue a license for 
a project within or affecting a state's coastal zone unless the state 
CZMA agency concurs with the license applicant's certification of 
consistency with the state's CZMA program, or the agency's concurrence 
is conclusively presumed by its failure to act within 180 days of its 
receipt of the applicant's certification.
    The project is not located within the state-designated Coastal 
Management Zone, which extends to South Carolina's eight coastal 
counties (Jasper, Beaufort, Colleton, Berkeley, Dorchester, Charleston, 
Georgetown, and Horry), and the project would not affect South 
Carolina's coastal resources. Therefore, the project is not subject to 
South Carolina coastal zone program review and no consistency 
certification is needed for the action. By letter filed September 30, 
2010,\5\ the South Carolina DHEC concurred.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ See letter dated September 13, 2010 from W. McGoldrick, 
Stormwater Permit Coordinator, South Carolina DHEC, Charleston, 
South Carolina, to S. Boring, Kleinschmidt Associates, Lexington, 
South Carolina.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

1.3.5 National Historic Preservation Act

    Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) 
requires that every federal agency ``take into account'' how each of 
its undertakings could affect historic properties. Historic properties 
are districts, sites, buildings, structures, traditional cultural 
properties, and objects significant in American history, architecture, 
engineering, and culture that are eligible for inclusion in the 
National Register of Historic Places (National Register).
    Pursuant to section 106, the applicant consulted with the South 
Carolina SHPO and affected Indian tribes to locate, determine National 
Register eligibility, and assess potential adverse effects to historic 
properties associated with the project. By letter filed August 31, 
2010,\6\ the South Carolina SHPO stated that it concurred with the 
applicant's assessment that no properties listed in or eligible for 
listing in the National Register would be affected by the by the 
federal licensing action. Staff reaffirmed the South Carolina SHPO's 
concurrence via teleconference on May 23, 2012.\7\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \6\ See letter dated December 7, 2009 from C. Wilson, Review and 
Compliance Coordinator, South Carolina State Historic Preservation 
Office, Columbia, South Carolina to J. Seay, Jr., Lockhart Power 
Company, Lockhart, South Carolina.
    \7\ See FERC. 2012a. Telephone Meeting Summary with the South 
Carolina State Historic Preservation Office for the Riverdale 
Hydroelectric Project No. 13590-001. Filed on May 24, 2012.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As a result of the findings made by Lockhart Power and the SHPO's 
concurrence that no historic properties would be affected by the 
project, the drafting of a programmatic agreement to resolve adverse 
effects on historic properties will not be necessary.

1.4 Public Review and Consultation

    The Commission's regulations (18 CFR, Sec.  4.38) require that 
applicants consult with appropriate resource agencies, tribes, and 
other entities before filing an application for a license. This 
consultation is the first step in complying with the Fish and Wildlife 
Coordination Act, the ESA, the NHPA, and other federal statutes. Pre-
filing consultation must be complete and documented according to the 
Commission's regulations.

1.4.1 Scoping

    Before preparing this EA, we conducted scoping to determine what 
issues and alternatives should be addressed. A Scoping Document 1 was 
distributed to interested agencies and other stakeholders on December 
22, 2011. It was noticed in the Federal Register on December 22, 2011. 
A Scoping Document 2 was issued on May 15, 2012. The following entities 
provided written comments on Scoping Document 1:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Commenting entities                      Date filed
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Caitlin Totherow, Catawba Indian    January 18, 2012.
 Nation Tribal Preservation
 Officer (THPO).
South Carolina SHPO...............  January 20, 2012.
Woodruff-Roebuck Water District     February 9, 2012.
 (Water District).
Greg Sveinsson, Riverdale           February 15, 2012.
 Development Venture, LLC
 (Riverdale, LLC).
American Rivers...................  February 16, 2012
South Carolina DNR................  February 21, 2012.
FWS...............................  February 21, 2012.
NMFS..............................  March 6, 2012.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

1.4.2 Interventions

    On May 7, 2012, the Commission issued a notice that Lockhart 
Power's application to license the Riverdale Project had been accepted 
for filing. This notice set July 6, 2012, as the deadline for filing 
protests and motions to intervene. In response to the notice, the 
following entities filed notices of intervention or motions to 
intervene (none opposed issuance of a license):

[[Page 76913]]



------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Intervenors                          Date filed
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Woodruff-Roebuck Water District...  June 12, 2012.
American Rivers...................  June 19, 2012.
Interior..........................  June 25, 2012.
South Carolina DNR................  June 29, 2012.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric    July 5, 2012.
 Administration (on behalf of
 NMFS).
------------------------------------------------------------------------

1.4.3 Comments on the License Application

    The July 13, 2012 notice also stated that the application was ready 
for environmental analysis, and requested that comments, 
recommendations, terms and conditions, and prescriptions be filed. The 
following entities commented:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
   Commenting agencies and other
             entities                            Date filed
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Interior..........................  September 10, 2012.
South Carolina DNR................  September 10, 2012.
NMFS..............................  September 11, 2012.
American Rivers...................  September 12, 2012.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The applicant, Lockhart Power, filed reply comments on October 24, 
2012.

2.0 Proposed Action and Alternatives

2.1 No-Action Alternative

    We use existing conditions as the baseline environmental condition 
for comparison with other alternatives. Under the no-action 
alternative, the project would not be refurbished and operated, the dam 
and other facilities would remain in place, and all flows would remain 
in the Enoree River by passing over the spillway or through leaks in 
the sand gates.

2.1.1 Existing Project Facilities

    The Riverdale Project would consist of an existing 425-foot-long, 
12-foot-high concrete gravity dam with three evenly spaced, integral 
sand gates,\8\ and 2-foot-high flashboards that form a 6.6-acre 
impoundment with a gross storage of 22.0 acre-feet. On the north end of 
the dam is an existing 85-foot-long, 50-foot-wide concrete headrace 
canal with an intake structure equipped with trash racks with 2.25-inch 
bar spacing. The canal feeds an existing 9-foot-diameter, 340-foot-long 
steel penstock,\9\ which is equipped with trash racks having bar 
spacing of about 10 inches. The penstock connects to an existing wood 
frame powerhouse building containing one 1.24-MW capacity generating 
unit. An existing 510-foot-long tailrace extends from the powerhouse to 
the Enoree River, and an existing 700-foot-long transmission line 
extends from the powerhouse to an existing Duke Energy distribution 
line. An existing paved access road, approximately 1,376 feet long and 
20 feet wide extends from Highway 221 to the project powerhouse.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \8\ Three low level sand gates are located within three 
concrete-framed piers along the spillway dam.
    \9\ Staff used GIS software to estimate the length of the 
penstock. Current Exhibit F drawings only defined the below ground 
portion of the penstock as 110 feet long.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The project boundary includes about 25.9 acres. The project 
boundary encloses the project impoundment, the existing hydropower 
facilities, the bypassed reach (including the braided channels), 
tailrace, project access road, and the proposed canoe take-out, put-in, 
portage trail, and parking area. Riverdale, LLC currently owns 
approximately 2.5 acres of land within Lockhart Power's proposed 
project boundary which encompasses the project powerhouse, intake 
structure, penstock, and tailrace. The Water District owns the majority 
of the remaining lands within the project boundary and retains an 
option to acquire the dam. Two other private individuals own the 
remaining parcels which are located on the south side of the 
impoundment.

2.1.2 Project Safety

    The project has been inoperable for more than 12 years under the 
existing license; nonetheless, during this time, Commission staff has 
conducted inspections focusing on the continued safety of the 
structures, identification of unauthorized modifications, efficiency 
and safety of operations, compliance with the terms of the license, and 
proper maintenance. As part of the licensing process, the Commission 
would evaluate the adequacy of the proposed project facilities. Special 
articles would be included in any license issued, as appropriate. 
Commission staff would continue to inspect the project both during and 
after construction to repair existing project facilities. Before the 
project is refurbished, engineers from the Commission's Atlanta 
Regional Office would review the designs, plans and specifications of 
the proposed repairs to equipment and structures. Inspections during 
project refurbishment would concentrate on adherence to Commission-
approved plans and specifications, special license articles relating to 
construction, and accepted engineering practices and procedures. 
Operational inspections would focus on the continued safety of the 
structures, identification of unauthorized modifications, efficiency, 
and safety of operations, compliance with the terms of the license, and 
proper maintenance.

2.1.3 Existing Project Operation and Environmental Measures

    Inman Mills ceased operating the project (under FERC No. 4362) in 
2001, when the adjacent textile mill closed. The 2-foot-high 
flashboards washed out during storm events in 2012 and 2013 and there 
is currently no practical way to control flows from Riverdale dam. The 
current owner demolished the original concrete and brick powerhouse and 
replaced it with a wood frame building. All flows pass over the dam and 
into the 1,400-foot-long bypassed reach. No environmental measures are 
currently being implemented at the project.

2.2 Applicant's Proposal

2.2.1 Proposed Project Facilities

    Lockhart Power proposes to use the existing hydropower facilities 
described above, and rehabilitate all equipment rendering the project 
inoperable. Because Lockhart Power is not the current licensee or 
current owner of the project and has not had full access to the 
project, it plans to spend the first year following license issuance

[[Page 76914]]

assessing the condition of project facilities and finalizing any 
engineering design needed to refurbish the project. To make the project 
operational, Lockhart Power expects it would, at a minimum: (1) Repair 
or replace the sand gates and gate operators; (2) repair or replace the 
2-foot flashboards on the dam; (3) replace a 193-foot above ground 
section of the penstock; (4) modify the bar spacing on the penstock 
trashrack from 10 to 5 inches; (5) refurbish the turbine generator; 
\10\ (6) repair plant controls and governor; (7) repair the powerhouse 
roof; and (8) dredge the sediment and debris in the tailrace. There 
would be a total of 25.9 acres within the proposed project boundary, of 
which 11.3 acres are land and the remainder is occupied by waters of 
the impoundment, bypassed reach, and tailrace.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \10\ Lockhart Power anticipates that significant electrical, 
mechanical, and hydraulic system improvements and refurbishments 
will be necessary to restore the project to reliable long term 
operating condition. Certain improvements, such as turbine 
refurbishment, may improve the design efficiency of and thereby 
increase the rated capacity of the turbine-generator to a range of 
1.2-1.45 MW.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

2.2.2 Proposed Project Operations

    Lockhart Power would operate the project using a combination of 
run-of-river (ROR) and peaking modes. The project would operate semi-
automatically with an operator on standby. Lockhart Power would 
remotely monitor impoundment levels and control the water flow through 
the project's turbine to maintain impoundment levels. The Riverdale 
impoundment would fluctuate between 1 and 4 feet of the top of the 
flashboards.
    Lockhart Power would typically operate the project in a ROR mode, 
with project outflow approximately equaling inflow, such that the 
impoundment surface elevation stays within 1 foot (+/-10 percent) of 
the top of the flashboards. When inflows are insufficient to operate 
the turbine at its maximum hydraulic capacity of 450 cubic feet per 
second (cfs) and provide a continuous minimum flow of 50 cfs to the 
bypassed reach (i.e. when inflow is less than 500 cfs), Lockhart Power 
would operate the project in a ``peaking'' mode. Peaking events would 
occur no more than once daily, until either the daily period of 
increased need for power ends or until the impoundment surface 
elevation is drawn down a maximum of 4 feet (+/- 10 percent) below the 
top of the flashboards. Following each peaking event, Lockhart Power 
would suspend operation and store inflow, minus the minimum flow to the 
bypassed reach, to refill the impoundment (likely overnight) to its 
normal elevation of within 1 foot (+/- 10 percent) of the top of the 
flashboards, allowing it to return to ROR mode until the next peaking 
event. Lockhart Power expects that peaking operation would occur less 
than half of the days in any given year (Lockhart Power, 2011a).

2.2.3 Proposed Environmental Measures

    Lockhart Power proposes to construct and operate the project with 
the following environmental protection, mitigation, and enhancement 
(PM&E) measures:
     Implement a sediment management plan that consists of 
using the sand gates to draw down the impoundment below the normal 
operating range for periodic inspections and maintenance and, if 
possible, avoid drawdowns from March 15 through June 1 to prevent 
significant accumulation of sediments in the project impoundment and 
untimely releases of sediment downstream.
     Monitor water quality as may be required by the South 
Carolina DHEC.
     Maintain a minimum flow of 50 cfs in the bypassed reach 
and a total minimum continuous flow of 60 cfs, or inflow if less, in 
the Enoree River downstream from the confluence of the tailrace and the 
bypassed reach to protect aquatic habitat. The minimum flow in the 
bypassed reach would be provided through one or more of the three sand 
gates selected in consultation with South Carolina DNR, Interior, and 
NMFS, after repairs. Lockhart Power would develop a rating curve for 
the sand gates and verify it once every 6 years to ensure defined 
minimum flows are being provided.
     When average daily inflows are less than or equal to 80 
cfs (+/- 10 percent), release all inflow into the bypassed reach (i.e. 
low inflow protocol [LIP]) to protect aquatic resources downstream from 
Riverdale dam, including during the fish spawning season.
     Implement best management practices (BMPs) to protect 
vegetation within the project boundary, such as limiting vegetation and 
ground-disturbing activities and maintaining a minimum 25-foot-wide 
forested riparian buffer on project shorelines, as long as this does 
not interfere with Lockhart Power's ability to perform project-related 
activities.
     Construct and maintain: (1) A canoe take-out located 
approximately 220 feet upstream of the dam; (2) a canoe put-in located 
approximately 1,075 feet downstream from the dam; (3) a 1,650-foot-long 
portage trail connecting the proposed canoe take-out and put-in; (4) a 
parking area located adjacent to the proposed portage trail; and (5) 
signage to improve public access at the project and to the Enoree 
River.
     Provide informal public access for fishing at the project 
impoundment, tailrace, and bypassed reach.
     Notify and consult with the South Carolina SHPO regarding 
any project-related construction or other ground-disturbing 
activities.\11\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \11\ Although Lockhart Power proposes this measure in its 
license application, we consider Lockhart Power's consultation 
requirements under section 106 of the NHPA to be complete because of 
the SHPO's finding that no properties listed in or eligible for 
listing in the National Register would be affected by the project 
(letter from C. Wilson, Review and Compliance Coordinator, South 
Carolina SHPO, Columbia, South Carolina to J. Seay, Jr., Lockhart 
Power, Lockhart, South Carolina, December 7 2009). Therefore no 
further analysis of this measure is necessary.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

2.3 Staff Alternative

    The staff alternative includes the following additional measures 
and modifications to Lockhart Power's proposal:
     Develop and implement a site-specific soil erosion and 
sediment control plan, which includes the BMPs described in the South 
Carolina DHEC's Stormwater BMP Handbook, to minimize erosion and 
sedimentation during soil-disturbing activities associated with project 
construction and repairs.
     Develop and implement a sediment management plan that 
includes provisions to: (a) Test impoundment sediments for heavy metals 
and other contaminants prior to beginning in-water construction 
activities and initial operation; (b) prepare a contingency plan for 
proper disposal of any contaminated sediments should they be found in 
the impoundment; (c) monitor sediment accumulation in the impoundment 
annually to facilitate planning of sediment management activities; (d) 
develop criteria that would trigger sediment removal from the 
impoundment (i.e. by opening the sand gates, if appropriate, during 
high flow events, or via mechanical methods); (e) conduct sediment 
management activities during the months of November through January 
except during high rain events (e.g., tropical storms or hurricanes); 
(f) avoid maintenance activities that would draw down the impoundment 
below normal operating levels and potentially pass sediment into the 
bypassed reach from March 15 through June 1, if possible, to minimize 
adverse impacts to spawning fish; and (g) file annual reports with

[[Page 76915]]

sediment monitoring results, sediment management activities, and an 
evaluation of the effectiveness of the plan in minimizing sediment 
accumulation in the impoundment.
     Develop and implement a shoreline stabilization plan that 
includes provisions to: (a) Identify eroding or potential project-
induced erosion sites on the impoundment shorelines and streambanks 
downstream from the dam and powerhouse prior to beginning operation; 
(b) stabilize areas of shoreline erosion using native vegetation, bio-
engineering, slope flattening, toe armoring with anchored logs, and/or 
riprap that incorporates native vegetation plantings; (c) monitor 
shorelines after resuming operation and implement stabilization 
measures if project-induced erosion occurs; (d) conduct shoreline 
stabilization activities from September through February to protect 
aquatic species and wildlife; and (e) file annual reports describing 
monitoring results and any implemented shoreline stabilization 
measures.
     Develop and implement a water quality monitoring plan with 
provisions to: (a) Monitor dissolved oxygen (DO), temperature, and 
turbidity prior to the start of construction, during construction, and 
for 1 year after project operation begins to ensure the levels 
specified by the current state water quality standards are met and 
aquatic resources are protected; (b) define sampling methods, timing, 
and locations for monitoring these parameters in consultation with 
South Carolina DHEC, FWS, and NMFS; and (c) file a report that presents 
the monitoring data, describes any project-related effects and 
identifies corrective actions, if necessary.
     Release a continuous minimum flow of 75 cfs into the 
bypassed reach to protect aquatic habitat.
     Develop and implement a plan to release required minimum 
flows into the bypassed reach that includes: (a) A feasibility 
assessment for using the sand gates as a flow-release mechanism; (b) if 
found to be feasible, a flow study to determine how the sand gates 
would be used to distribute flow into the bypassed reach to protect 
aquatic habitat; (c) if the sand gates are not feasible, a description 
of how the minimum instream flows would be provided to the bypassed 
reach; (d) a report documenting the outcome of the feasibility 
assessment, flow study, and consultation with the agencies; and (e) an 
implementation schedule.
     Develop and implement a low inflow protocol/drought 
contingency plan to define periods of extended drought and the low 
inflow protocols to minimize adverse effects on generation, and on 
fish, wildlife, and water quality in the bypassed reach and downstream 
from the tailrace.
     Develop and implement an operation compliance monitoring 
plan that includes: (a) A rating curve to provide the seasonally 
defined flows; (b) protocols to monitor and document compliance with 
required flows; (c) protocols to monitor and document impoundment 
fluctuations; and (d) an implementation schedule.
     Develop and implement an invasive \12\ vegetation 
monitoring and control plan that includes: (a) Survey methods to 
determine the extent of alligatorweed in the impoundment and riparian 
area prior to beginning refurbishment activities; (b) BMPs, as well as 
monitoring and control methods to prevent the spread of alligatorweed 
in the impoundment to areas downstream from the dam during project 
refurbishment; (c) monitoring protocols to detect the introduction or 
spread of other invasive plants within the project boundary during 
operation and maintenance; (d) criteria that would determine when 
control measures would be required; and (e) a schedule for filing 
monitoring reports and any recommended control measures with the 
Commission.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \12\ For the purposes of this document, an ``invasive species'' 
is defined, consistent with Executive Order 13112, as a species that 
is: (1) Non-native (or alien[/exotic]) to the ecosystem under 
consideration; and (2) whose introduction causes or is likely to 
cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health (USDA, 
2012).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

     Determine whether the existing project transmission line 
is consistent with Avian Power Line Interaction Committee (APLIC) 
guidelines. Identify, in consultation with FWS, measures to minimize 
potential electrocution hazards to birds and file a report with the 
Commission describing the results of the evaluation and any measures 
recommended by FWS.
     Modify the applicant's proposal for signage at recreation 
sites to include: (1) Identification of the canoe take-out and put in; 
(2) directions from the parking area to river access points; and (3) 
information regarding garbage disposal in order to improve public 
information available at the project and protect environmental 
resources.
     Stop work and notify the South Carolina SHPO and the 
Catawba Indian Nation if any unknown archaeological resources are 
discovered as a result of project construction, operation, or project-
related activities to avoid, lessen, or mitigate potential adverse 
effects on historic resources.

2.4 Alternatives Considered but Eliminated From Further Analysis

2.4.1 Issuing a Non-Power License

    A non-power license is a temporary license that the Commission will 
terminate when it determines that another governmental agency will 
assume regulatory authority and supervision over the lands and 
facilities covered by the non-power license. At this point, no agency 
has suggested a willingness or ability to do so. No party has sought a 
non-power license and we have no basis for concluding that the project 
should no longer be used to produce power. Thus, we do not consider 
issuing a non-power license a realistic alternative to relicensing in 
this circumstance.

2.4.2 Project Decommissioning

    Project decommissioning could be accomplished with or without dam 
removal. Both Interior and American Rivers recommended that the 
Commission analyze project decommissioning with dam removal as an 
alternative in this EA. Because Lockhart Power neither owns nor 
operates the project under the existing license, the Commission cannot 
require Lockhart Power to remove the dam. Decommissioning the project 
would involve denial of Lockhart Power's license application and then 
the surrender or termination of Inman Mills' existing license with 
appropriate conditions under separate action by the Commission.
    Decommissioning with dam removal would remove the only barrier to 
fish movement in the Enoree River from its confluence with the Broad 
River to its headwaters, allow for natural sediment movement through 
the project area, eliminate the need to portage canoes around the 
project, remove lake recreation, and eliminate a potential source of 
renewable energy. However, as we explain herein, the project's power 
would serve to meet regional energy needs. Further, a license can be 
conditioned to address adverse environmental effects of project 
operation such that project benefits can be retained with minimal 
effects on the environment. Considering there is a willing developer of 
the project, we see no reason not to develop the project power. 
Therefore, we do not consider project decommissioning with or without 
dam removal as a reasonable alternative to Lockhart Power's proposal.

3.0 Environmental Analysis

    In this section, we present: (1) A general description of the 
project

[[Page 76916]]

vicinity; (2) an explanation of the scope of our cumulative effects 
analysis; and (3) our analysis of the proposed action and other 
recommended environmental measures. Sections are organized by resource 
area. Under each resource area, historic and current conditions are 
first described. The existing condition is the baseline against which 
the environmental effects of the proposed action and alternatives are 
compared, including an assessment of the effects of proposed 
mitigation, protection, and enhancement measures, and any potential 
cumulative effects of the proposed action and alternatives.\13\ We 
present the estimated cost of the proposed and recommended measures in 
section 4.0, Developmental Analysis. Our conclusions and recommended 
measures are discussed in section 5.2, Comprehensive Development and 
Recommended Alternative.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \13\ Unless otherwise indicated, our information is taken from 
the license application for this project (Lockhart Power, 2010a) and 
Lockhart Power's responses to the Commission staff's additional 
information requests (Lockhart Power, 2011a; 2011b; 2012).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

3.1 General Description of the River Basin

    Situated within the Piedmont Physiographic Region and encompassing 
approximately 731 square miles within the lower portion of the Broad 
River Basin, the Enoree River Basin spans portions of Greenville, 
Spartanburg, Union, and Newberry Counties in northwestern South 
Carolina. The Enoree River originates near the city of Travelers Rest 
and then flows 110 miles to its confluence with the Broad River. The 
Broad River flows into the Congaree, which merges with the Wateree to 
form the Santee River. The Santee River flows into the Atlantic Ocean.
    The Enoree River is the primary source of water for the project. 
Tributaries to the Enoree River include Beaverdam Creek \14\ as well as 
Warrior and Duncan creeks. Approximately 29 miles upstream of the 
project, are the remains of the Pelham dam \15\ and Pelham Mills, 
closed in the 1930's. There are no other dams on the Enoree River 
upstream of, or downstream from, the Riverdale dam. The nearest dam is 
Parr Shoals dam (FERC Project No. 1984), located on the Broad River 65 
miles downstream from the confluence of the Enoree and Broad rivers.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \14\ Beaverdam Creek enters the Enoree River approximately 0.5 
mile upstream of the project.
    \15\ There are no records of a hydroelectric license at the 
Pelham dam location (Federal Power Commission, 1970).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Enoree River has a variety of aquatic habitats, including seven 
shoal reaches and frequent long stretches of riffles and runs separated 
with short sections of glides and pools. The topography of the basin is 
generally moderate, varying from steep to rolling hills. Land uses in 
the basin and surrounding the Riverdale Project are primarily forest or 
agriculture with small developed areas near the headwaters of the 
Enoree River and along main roads in the project area.
    Climate in the Enoree River Basin is subtropical, marked by high 
summer humidity and moderate winters that rarely drop below freezing. 
The average annual temperature is 60 [deg]F to 70 [deg]F. Rainfall is 
high year-round, with an annual average of 40 to 60 inches, typically 
greatest during the summer.

3.2 Scope of Cumulative Effects Analysis

    According to the Council on Environmental Quality, a cumulative 
effect under NEPA is the impact on the environment which results from 
the incremental impact of the action when added to other past, present, 
and reasonably foreseeable future actions regardless of what agency 
(federal or non-federal) or person undertakes such other actions 40 CFR 
1508.7 (2013). Cumulative effects can result from individually minor 
but collectively significant actions taking place over a period of 
time, including hydropower and other land and water development 
activities.
    Based on our review of the license application, agency and public 
comments from scoping, and other filings related to the project, we 
have identified fisheries as a resource that could be cumulatively 
affected by the proposed project in combination with other actions such 
as sand mining operations in the Enoree River Basin.

3.2.1 Geographic Scope

    The geographic scope of the analysis defines the physical limits or 
boundaries of the proposed action's effects on the resources. Because 
the proposed action would affect the resources differently, the 
geographic scope for each resource may vary. For fisheries, we 
identified the geographic scope to extend from the remains of the 
Pelham dam downstream to the mouth of the Broad River.

3.2.2 Temporal Scope

    The temporal scope of our cumulative effects analysis in the EA 
includes a discussion of past, present, and future actions and their 
effects on these resources. Based on the potential term of license, we 
will look 30 to 50 years into the future, concentrating on the effect 
on the resources from reasonably foreseeable future actions. The 
historical discussion is limited, by necessity, to the amount of 
available information. We identify the present resource conditions 
based on the license application, agency comments, and comprehensive 
plans.

3.3 Proposed Action and Action Alternatives

    In this section, we discuss the effect of the project alternatives 
on environmental resources. For each resource, we first describe the 
affected environment, which is the existing condition and baseline 
against which we measure effects. We then discuss and analyze the site-
specific environmental issues.
    Only the resources that would be affected, or about which comments 
have been received, are addressed in detail in this EA. We have not 
identified any substantive issues related to aesthetic resources or 
socioeconomics associated with the proposed action, and, therefore, 
these issues are not assessed in this EA.

3.3.1 Geologic and Soil Resources

3.3.1.1 Affected Environment

    The Enoree River is located within the greater Broad River Drainage 
Basin and flows through the geologic region known as the Piedmont. The 
Piedmont geologic region extends from the Blue Ridge region to the fall 
line, at Columbia, South Carolina, and consists of stream and river 
valleys and rolling hills with elevations ranging from 375 to over 
1,000 feet mean sea level (msl).\16\ Bedrock in this region is 
dominated by granite which is found mostly below the surface, except at 
shoals within streams. The Enoree River passes through various geologic 
formations including the Six Mile Thrust Sheet, the Laurens Thrust 
Stack, and the Charlotte Terrane before entering the Broad River, 
approximately 52 miles downstream from the project. Surficial 
geological material within the project area and within the vicinity of 
the project consists of fluvial deposited sediments, as well as 
weathered felsic igneous and metamorphic rocks of the Piedmont uplands.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \16\ Elevations in this document are based on the National 
Geodetic Vertical Datum 1929 (NGVD 29).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Dominant soils within the project area and general vicinity of the 
project include the following series: Cartecay, Congaree, and Enoree 
(entisols); \17\ and

[[Page 76917]]

Cecil, Madison, and Pacolet (ultisols) \18\ (NRCS, 2013a). In 
particular, the northern shoreline of the Riverdale impoundment is 
composed of Cartecay-Toccoa complex, Pacolet sandy clay loam with 10 to 
15 percent slopes, and Pacolet sandy loam with 25 to 40 percent slopes. 
The southern shoreline of the impoundment consists largely of Enoree 
soils. Downstream from the dam, bordering the bypassed reach, tailrace, 
and Enoree River are Madison & Pacolet soils with 15 to 40 percent 
slopes and wet, mixed alluvial land.\19\ Table 2 describes key features 
of these soils.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \17\ Entisols are mineral soils that typically occur in areas 
where the rate of erosion or deposition of soil parent materials 
exceeds the rate of soil horizon development (NRCS, 2012).
    \18\ Ulitsols are highly weathered soils rich in clays and 
minerals commonly found in mesic forests in the Lower Broad River 
Basin (Andersen et al., 2001).
    \19\ Alluvial land is an area such as a portion of a stream 
channel or floodplain where stream-born sediment has been deposited 
(Chernicoff and Ramesh, 1995).

                                      Table 2--Select Characteristics of Mapped Soil Units at the Riverdale Project
                                                             [Source: Lockhart Power, 2010A]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                         Capacity to        Erodibility
            Soil type                   Slope            Landform           Drainage class           Flooding         transmit water \1\        \2\
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                   Northern Shoreline
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cartecay-Toccoa complex..........             0-2  Floodplain..........  Somewhat poorly       Occasional..........  High...............            0.24
                                                                          drained.
Pacolet sandy clay loam..........           15-25  Interfluves \3\.....  Well drained........  None................  Mod. high to high..            0.20
Pacolet sandy loam...............           25-40  Interfluves \3\.....  Well drained........  None................  Mod. high to high..            0.20
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                   Southern Shoreline
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Enoree...........................             0-2  Depressions/          Poorly drained......  Frequent............  Mod. high to high..            0.32
                                                    floodplain.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                             Downstream from Riverdale Dam
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Madison & Pacolet................             0-2  Floodplain..........  Moderately well       Frequent............  High...............            0.32
                                                                          drained.
mixed alluvial land..............           15-40  Interfluves \3\.....  Well drained........  None................  Mod. high to high..           0.20
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Measured as Ksat, or saturated hydraulic capacity, as an indicator of seepage potential in the upper 60 inches.
\2\ Measured as the K factor, or the erodibility of soil and other surface substrates, taking into account soil texture, content (e.g., clay, silt,
  organic matter, minerals, rocks), and structure (NRCS, 2013b). Values range from 0.02 to 0.69. The higher the value, the more susceptible the soil is
  to sheet and rill erosion by water. Moderate range is about 0.20-0.40.
\3\ Upland landform located between two adjacent valleys containing streams.

    The characteristics of dominant soil types along with active local 
mining operations likely contribute to the load of suspended solids in 
the Enoree River. According to the Natural Resource Conservation 
Service (NRCS), the majority of lands in the Enoree watershed, 
including those of the project, represent a resource concern due to 
erosion and are classified as `highly erodible lands.' As shown in 
table 2, the soils bordering the project impoundment have a K factor 
that indicates moderate erodibility. In addition, there are several 
mine sites upstream of the Riverdale Project, including granite, 
vermiculite, and sand mines (South Carolina DHEC, 2013a; 2013b).
    During licensing studies conducted the summer of 2010,\20\ Lockhart 
Power collected qualitative data on substrate content and bank 
stability at the Riverdale Project.\21\ The substrates were dominated 
by silt and sand in the impoundment and at the confluence of the Enoree 
River and Two-Mile Creek. Boulders and bedrock occur immediately 
downstream from the dam. Clay, gravel, pebble, cobble, detritus, and 
mud were also found in the substrates within the project boundary. The 
study results indicated areas of stable shorelines and some areas with 
evidence of erosion and undercutting. The current extent of erosion is 
not known at this time, but the majority of the project shoreline is 
forested with portions armored by bedrock.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \20\ The survey report for Carolina heelsplitter, a freshwater 
mussel species, provided qualitative information on substrate 
content and compactness, sand and gravel bars, woody debris, beaver 
activity, bank stability, riparian buffer width and vegetation 
types, land use, turbidity, and water level.
    \21\ Survey locations included the impoundment and the Enoree 
River in the riffle habitat immediately upstream of the impoundment, 
Two-Mile Creek, the tailrace, the bypassed reach, and the Enoree 
River downstream from the project near a road (i.e. SC 49) crossing.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Heavy metals and other contaminants from an industrial spill are 
known to occur in the Upper Enoree River watershed. In 1985, a 
galvanizing facility spilled 75,700 liters of hydrochloric acid, zinc, 
lead, barium, chromium, and other contaminants from a ruptured waste 
containment pond. The contaminants infiltrated the soil and seeped into 
the groundwater at the headwaters of the Enoree River near Travelers 
Rest, South Carolina. Also in 1985, the U.S. Environmental Protection 
Agency (EPA) removed contaminated materials from the waste containment 
ponds, from soil around the facility, as well as drums and other 
containers of stored hazardous materials, some of which appeared to 
have leaked (South Carolina DHEC, 2005). Studies conducted in 1999 and 
2000 documented the residual adverse effects of these contaminants on 
salamanders, fish, dragonfly and damselfly larvae, and other aquatic 
species in the Enoree River (Worthen, et al., 2001; Worthen, 2002). 
While South Carolina DHEC determined that the surface water, sediment, 
soils, and groundwater adjacent to the facility pose no public health 
hazard,\22\ a South Carolina DHEC's survey in October 2004 indicated 
that zinc concentrations in surface water and sediments were above 
ambient conditions and could negatively impact aquatic species at the 
headwaters of the Enoree River (South Carolina DHEC, 2005). The type 
and quantity of contaminants that may have

[[Page 76918]]

been transported in the Enoree River and deposited within the sediments 
of the project impoundment since the 1985 industrial spill is unknown 
at this time.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \22\ According to South Carolina DHEC, the levels of chemicals 
measured at the spill site do not pose a risk to people who may 
ingest or come in contact with water and sediment in the area; 
however, the threshold for adverse effects to aquatic organisms is 
much lower.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Enoree watershed is transport limited, meaning that material, 
primarily eroding soils, collects at a faster rate than river flows can 
transport. In small impoundments such as the one at the project, 
sediments tend to collect seasonally or during low flow periods. This 
is exemplified by the large amount of fine sediments (e.g., sand, silt, 
and clay), tree trunks, branches, and other debris that have 
accumulated within the project impoundment, including in front of the 
intake structure and the dam spillway (FERC, 2012b; 2013). Some of the 
sediments and debris in these areas are covered by mats of 
alligatorweed and other vegetation (Lockhart Power, 2012). Turbidity 
and thick vegetation growing along the canal between the intake 
structure and the penstock limited visual inspection during recent 
project inspections (FERC, 2012b; 2013). The precise volume of sediment 
deposits in the impoundment and the canal are unknown at this time.

3.3.1.2 Environmental Effects

Construction-Related Effects

    At this time, Lockhart Power cannot define exactly what will be 
required to make the project operable. However, anticipated activities 
associated with replacing the approximately 193-foot-long section of 
the penstock, dredging the tailrace, repairing the powerhouse, and 
constructing the canoe put-in, take-out, portage trail, and parking 
area would result in soil-disturbing activities that could cause 
erosion and sedimentation in the impoundment and Enoree River. Soil 
erosion and subsequent sedimentation of aquatic habitats can adversely 
affect fish and wildlife habitat and degrade water quality.
    To address the issue of erosion and sedimentation at the project, 
Lockhart Power would limit ground-disturbing activities whenever 
possible on lands acquired for project purposes. South Carolina DNR 
recommends Lockhart Power consult with state and federal agencies to 
implement construction and maintenance \23\ BMPs described in the South 
Carolina DHEC's Stormwater BMP Handbook (South Carolina DHEC, 2005).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \23\ Both Lockhart Power's proposal and South Carolina DHEC's 
recommendation appear to apply to all future ground-disturbing 
maintenance activities. While we are not opposed to such protective 
measures, we cannot analyze the effects of undefined, broad 
measures. Therefore, this EA only considers the effects of 
refurbishing the project and general operation and maintenance of 
the project. Any future modifications that result in ground-
disturbing activities may require prior Commission approval.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Our Analysis

    Lockhart Power anticipates that construction and repairs of the 
hydroelectric facilities and installation of the proposed recreation 
facilities would be confined to about 2 acres. Ground-disturbing 
activities would occur predominantly within the footprint of the former 
textile mill, parking lots, and roadways, minimizing effects to 
undisturbed areas. Implementing standard industry BMPs for controlling 
erosion would ensure adverse effects are minor and temporary. Such BMPs 
could include the use of silt fences, sediment traps, stabilized 
construction entrances, and alternative techniques that may be approved 
after consultation with the South Carolina DHEC (South Carolina DHEC, 
2013a; 2013b; 2005).

Operation and Maintenance-Related Effects

    Heavy sediment loads in the Enoree River and years of in-operation 
have resulted in significant sediment deposits and the establishment of 
vegetation in the project impoundment. The exact amount of sediment 
deposit is unknown. Repairs to the sand gates prior to project 
operation would likely require lowering the impoundment which could 
release large quantities of sediments downstream. Any heavy metals and 
other contaminants that may have been deposited and covered by the 
sediment over the years could be suspended and released downstream.
    Resuming project operation and maintenance activities could affect 
several geomorphological processes and/or conditions such as stream 
bank and shoreline erosion, bed scour, and sediment accumulation within 
the impoundment, and sediment transport to downstream river reaches. 
Because of the heavy sediment loads and lower velocities in the 
impoundment, sediments would continue to accumulate in the impoundment 
during project operation. Periodic maintenance activities, such as 
inspections or repairs to the sand gates that would require lowering 
the project impoundment below the normal operating levels, could result 
in untimely flushing of sediments and the accidental releases of large 
quantities of sediment. During peaking operation, impoundment 
fluctuations of up to 4 feet could cause bank erosion and sedimentation 
in the impoundment.
    To prevent significant accumulation of sediments in the project 
impoundment and untimely releases of sediment downstream, Lockhart 
Power proposes to implement a sediment management plan, which consists 
of the following: Lockhart Power would use the sand gates to draw down 
the impoundment below the normal operating range (i.e. for periodic 
inspections and maintenance purposes) and avoid drawdowns from March 15 
through June 1. These measures are intended to minimize sediment 
releases that could affect fish spawning in the project impoundment and 
downstream areas.
    South Carolina DNR recommends that Lockhart Power develop and 
implement a sediment management plan with provisions to: (a) Monitor 
stream-borne sediment accumulations in the impoundment; (b) regularly 
flush sediments downstream or remove them from the impoundment; (c) 
prepare annual reports describing monitoring and management activities 
and evaluating the overall effectiveness of the plan; (d) conduct 
sediment management activities from November through January, if 
possible; and (e) consult with the South Carolina DHEC to address the 
potential presence of contaminated sediments in the impoundment.
    Interior also recommends Lockhart Power develop and implement its 
sediment management plan with guidelines for periodic inspections and 
maintenance drawdowns, as well as the following additional provisions: 
(a) Test impoundment sediment for heavy metals and other contaminants; 
(b) develop a schedule and criteria that would trigger sediment removal 
from the impoundment, by opening the sand gates, if appropriate, during 
high flow events, or via mechanical methods; (c) develop a method to 
monitor future sediment accumulation in the impoundment; and (d) 
conduct maintenance drawdowns in late fall and winter to avoid impacts 
to spawning fish upstream and downstream of the dam.
    To protect project shorelines from water level fluctuations 
associated with peaking operation, Interior recommends Lockhart Power 
develop and implement a shoreline stabilization plan. As part of the 
plan, Lockhart Power would be required to identify and address any 
existing areas of active erosion along the impoundment, as well as 
areas downstream from the dam with the potential for erosion due to 
project operation. Interior recommends that Lockhart Power use native 
vegetation and techniques such as bio-engineering, slope flattening, 
toe armoring with anchored logs, and/or riprap that

[[Page 76919]]

incorporates native vegetation plantings to stabilize shorelines 
subject to potential erosion.

Our Analysis

Sediment Management

    Refurbishing the dam, sand gates, and intake structures, and 
beginning initial operation would likely result in the re-suspension 
and subsequent transport of a large quantity of sediments downstream 
from the project. High loads of suspended solids [sediment] increase 
turbidity in riverine habitats leading to reduced light penetration, 
decreased primary productivity, which then can lead to adverse effects 
to the rest of the food chain. Sedimentation can modify the substrate 
surfaces and morphology of a stream channel, reducing habitat 
availability and smothering and killing aquatic flora and fauna (Wood 
and Armitage, 1997). If heavy metals and other contaminants are present 
in the impoundment, they could also be suspended and transported in the 
water column, harming fish and wildlife.
    Conducting an initial test for heavy metals and other contaminants 
in the impoundment sediments prior to beginning project operations, as 
recommended by Interior, would determine if such contaminants are in 
the project impoundment. The test results would also help Lockhart 
Power, the resource agencies, South Carolina DHEC, and the Commission 
to identify suitable methods for removing and disposing of any 
contaminated sediments, preventing the inadvertent re-suspension and 
release of contaminants. The information would also help to design 
appropriate methods for short- and long-term sediment management at the 
project.
    Avoiding impoundment draw downs between March 15 and June 1 to 
initially repair the sand gates and to conduct any maintenance once it 
is operational, would avoid adverse effects on spawning fish and 
reproductive success. Limiting any such maintenance actions to the late 
fall and winter, as recommended by Interior, would also protect a broad 
range of aquatic species, which undergo less critical life-cycle events 
during this time of year and are often dormant or less active. In 
addition, during the fall and winter there would likely be sufficient 
flows to keep any suspended sediment moving downstream instead of 
settling in the shoal habitat of the bypassed reach.
    Regular management of impoundment sediment loads would help prevent 
sediment buildup and the accidental release of large quantities of 
sediment during scheduled and unscheduled maintenance activities that 
could have adverse effects on downstream resources. Such an event 
occurred in October of 2011 at the Neal Shoals Hydroelectric Project 
(FERC Project No. 2315) which is located on the Broad River about 16 
miles upstream from the confluence with the Enoree River. About 112,841 
cubic yards of sediment was released \24\ during a reservoir drawdown 
associated with the replacement of four sand gates, installation of new 
trash racks on the sand gates, temporary installation and removal of a 
bulkhead in the sand gate opening, and the replacement of the controls 
for the sand gates and trash racks.\25\ The Commission was informed 
that the sediment release resulted in a fish kill and affected water 
quality in the Broad River.\26\ Analysis of the effects the sediment 
release on aquatic resources downstream from the Neal Shoals Project is 
ongoing.\27\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \24\ See letter from Michael C. Summer, General Manager, Fossil/
Hydo Technical Services, South Carolina Electric and Gas Company 
(SCE&G), Cayce, South Carolina, filed on January 25, 2012.
    \25\ See letter from Michael C. Summer, General Manager, Fossil/
Hydo Technical Services, SCE&G, Cayce, South Carolina, to Charles D. 
Wagner, Regional Engineer, FERC, Atlanta Regional Office, Duluth, 
Georgia, filed on March 7, 2011.
    \26\ See letter from Thomas J. LoVullo, Chief, Aquatic Resources 
Branch, FERC, Division of Hydropower Administration and Compliance 
to Michael C. Summer, General Manager, Fossil/Hydo Technical 
Services, SCE&G, Cayce, South Carolina, issued on November 14, 2011.
    \27\ See letter from Michael C. Summer, General Manager, Fossil/
Hydo Technical Services, SCE&G, Cayce, South Carolina, filed on 
August 8, 2013.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Developing a sediment management plan would facilitate detection 
and timely management of sedimentation at the project, which would 
protect aquatic and riparian resources at and near the project. The 
plan would be most effective if it includes regular monitoring of 
sediment loads, defines criteria for when sediment loads are reaching 
levels requiring flushing or removal, and establishes a schedule for 
flushing sediments or mechanically removing the sediments during 
periods when such releases would be least harmful to aquatic resources. 
Annual sediment management reports, as recommended by South Carolina 
DNR, would ensure continued stakeholder involvement in sediment 
management activities at the project and that sedimentation is managed 
effectively from year to year. Such report(s) would be most informative 
if they include sediment monitoring results, sediment management 
activities that were undertaken, and an evaluation of the effectiveness 
of the sediment management plan in minimizing adverse effects on 
downstream resources.

Fluctuating Water Levels

    Resuming project operations, as Lockhart Power proposes, would 
result in impoundment fluctuations of up to 4 feet that could 
compromise the stability of soils along the project shorelines. The 
total length of the impoundment shoreline is about 2,394 feet.\28\ 
Since the shoreline contains areas of highly erodible soils, such 
fluctuations could cause physical weathering through saturation, 
subsequent drying, exposure to rainfall, runoff, and freeze/thaw 
conditions. These mechanisms can cause slumping of soils and fracturing 
of rocks on the shorelines. Bank slumping and erosion is likely to be 
greatest during the initial years of operation. Identifying and 
stabilizing areas of active erosion, as well as areas that exhibit the 
potential for erosion prior to commencing project operation would 
prevent and/or minimize potential shoreline erosion problems. Annually 
monitoring the banks for erosion and implementing corrective measures 
as needed would minimize future adverse effects of bank erosion on fish 
and wildlife habitat. Using native vegetation and techniques such as 
bio-engineering, slope flattening, toe armoring with anchored logs, 
and/or riprap that incorporates native vegetation plantings would 
effectively stabilize eroding shorelines and provide habitat for 
wildlife and aquatic species that use the riparian zone, littoral zone 
of the impoundment, and bank areas of stream reaches in the project 
area. Monitoring banks and shorelines after Lockhart Power resumes 
project operation as well as implementing stabilization techniques if 
erosion is observed, would address any areas of future shoreline 
erosion. Installing shoreline or bank stabilizers during the fall and 
winter (i.e. September through February), except under emergency 
situations, would help minimize potential disturbances to aquatic 
species and wildlife. As with the sediment management plan discussed 
above, annual reports documenting the results of monitoring and any 
shoreline stabilization activities would ensure continued stakeholder 
involvement in activities to minimize erosion and protect littoral, 
bank, and riparian areas within the project area over the term of any 
license issued for the project.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \28\ Staff used GIS software to estimate the length of the 
impoundment shoreline. The individual lengths of the northern and 
southern impoundment shorelines are 1,234 feet and 1,160 feet, 
respectively.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 76920]]

3.3.2 Aquatic Resources

3.3.2.1 Affected Environment

Water Quantity

    The project impoundment has a surface area of 6.6 acres at the 
normal pool elevation of 512 feet above msl and a gross storage 
capacity of 22 acre-feet. The impoundment extends 0.25 mile upstream of 
the dam to a bedrock ledge about 225 feet downstream from the Highway 
221 Bridge. The impoundment is about 250 to 300 feet wide, shallow, and 
includes mid-channel sandbars and large woody debris. All flows 
currently pass over the dam and flow into the project's 1,400-foot-long 
bypassed reach.
    The impoundment drainage area is 280.5 square miles. The estimated 
mean annual daily flow (MADF) at the project is 374 cfs.\29\ The 
maximum peak flow for the period of record was approximately 52,200 cfs 
on August 27, 1995, as a result of Tropical Storm Jerry (table 3). As 
expected, the lowest flow periods occur during the summer and early 
fall (June-November).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \29\ This MADF is based on data collected during the following 
period of record: January 1, 1994 through December 31, 2012, as pro-
rated from U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) gage No. 02160390, located 
on the Enoree River near Woodruff, SC.

       Table 3--Synthesized Monthly Flow Data (CFS) for the Riverdale Project From USGS Gage No. 02160390 Enoree River at Woodruff, South Carolina
                                            [Source: Lockhart Power, 2010a; USGS, 2013, as modified by staff]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                            90 Percent      75 Percent                                      25 Percent      10 Percent
                  Month                       Minimum       exceedance      exceedance         Mean           Maximum       exceedance      exceedance
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
January.................................             153             180             252             475            6938             492             828
February................................             156             193             267             503            5853             521             803
March...................................             191             247             298             590            8204             586             895
April...................................             164             218             258             442            4656             498             709
May.....................................             127             160             188             343             463             359             557
June....................................              62             107             140             300            2915             341             544
July....................................              53              92             122             269            6893             263             489
August..................................              38              68              90             307           22600             283             467
September...............................              44              71              98             271            7255             276             414
October.................................              59              87             115             256            5311             272             406
November................................              73              98             131             296            4497             301             512
December................................             101             149             188             439            5198             475             748
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: Period of Record is January 1, 1994 through December 31, 2012. The Woodruff gage is located about 6.7 miles upstream of the project and has a
  drainage area of about 249 square miles. Flows were pro-rated to the project using the formula 280.5/249.

Water Use

    Public water supply is the primary surface water use of the Enoree 
River. The Enoree River serves as the water supply for Lauren and 
Spartanburg counties. The town of Whitmire and city of Clinton withdraw 
water from the Enoree River downstream from the project. There are no 
current water withdrawals occurring at the project. However, the 
Woodruff-Roebuck Water District, South Carolina anticipates future 
withdrawals of 5 million gallons per day or 7.74 cfs from the Riverdale 
impoundment to support probable increases in area water demands.\30\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \30\ See letter from Curtis M. Dillard, PE, General Manager, 
Woodruff-Roebuck Water District, Woodruff, South Carolina, filed on 
February 9, 2012.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Water Quality

    South Carolina DHEC designated the Enoree River waters at the 
project as freshwater, suitable for primary and secondary contact 
recreation, and as a source for drinking water supply after 
conventional treatment in accordance with the requirements of the South 
Carolina DHEC. State water quality standards that would be applicable 
for project discharge are described in table 4.

     Table 4--South Carolina Water Quality Standards for Freshwaters
   [Source: South Carolina Regulation 61-68--Water classifications and
                               standards]
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    Quality standards for freshwaters
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Items                              Standards
------------------------------------------------------------------------
a. Garbage, cinders, ashes, oils,        None allowed.
 sludge, or other refuse.
b. Dissolved oxygen....................  Daily average not less than 5.0
                                          mg/l with a low of 4.0 mg/1.
c. E. coli.............................  Not to exceed a geometric mean
                                          of 126/100 ml based on at
                                          least four samples collected
                                          from a given sampling site
                                          over a 30 day period, nor
                                          shall a single sample maximum
                                          exceed 349/100 ml.
d. Temperature.........................  Temperature of all freshwaters
                                          which are free flowing shall
                                          not be increased more than
                                          5[deg]F (2.8[deg]C) above
                                          natural temperature conditions
                                          and shall not exceed a maximum
                                          of 90[deg]F (32.2[deg]C) as a
                                          result of the discharge of
                                          heated liquids unless a
                                          different site-specific
                                          temperature standard has been
                                          established, a mixing zone has
                                          been established, or a Section
                                          316(a) determination under the
                                          Federal Clean Water Act has
                                          been completed.
e. Turbidity (except for lakes)........  Not to exceed 50 NTUs provided
                                          existing uses are maintained.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 76921]]

    In general, water quality of the Enoree River upstream of, and 
downstream from, the project fully supports aquatic life, but 
recreational uses are only partially supported because of high fecal 
coliform levels (South Carolina DHEC, 2007). South Carolina DHEC's 2007 
Water Quality Assessment identified 23 locations that are impaired in 
the Enoree River for fecal coliform bacteria. Sources of these water 
quality impairments include pastureland, cropland, and active point 
sources discharging fecal coliform bacteria (2007). South Carolina DHEC 
(2007, 2012) notes that aquatic life uses in Beaverdam Creek, a 
tributary immediately upstream of the Riverdale Project, are not 
supported based on macroinvertebrate community data due to excess 
copper. However, South Carolina DHEC (2007) documents some stream 
reaches in the Enoree River watershed with significant decreasing 
trends in turbidity, total phosphorus, total nitrogen, five-day 
biological oxygen demand, and fecal coliform, as well as increasing 
trends in DO concentrations which suggest that the water quality 
conditions are improving in portions of the Enoree River.
    Lockhart Power intended to collect temperature, DO, pH, 
conductivity, and turbidity data throughout the 2010 and 2011 sampling 
season. However, limited access to the project area permitted Lockhart 
Power to collect water quality data in the morning and evening of June 
18 and 30, and August 2, 2010 in the following areas: One location 
upstream of the impoundment, two locations within the impoundment at a 
depth of 1.5- and 3-feet, one location each in the bypass reach, 
tailrace, and at the confluence of the Broad and Enoree Rivers. 
Lockhart Power also used USGS data collected at the Whitmire gage.\31\ 
Impoundment samples taken during the evening on June 18, 2010, at both 
depths, fell below the minimum instantaneous standard for DO (4.0 mg/
L). All other samples collected by Lockhart Power met South Carolina's 
state standards for DO, temperature, conductivity, and pH.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \31\ The USGS Whitmire gage (USGS 02160700 Enoree River at 
Whitmire, SC) collects water quality parameters and was sampled as a 
point of reference.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Fishery Resources

    The 6.6-acre impoundment is mostly riverine in nature with 
substrates of silt, clay, sand, and/or detritus. Upstream of the dam, 
just below the HWY 221 Bridge, a small shelf composed of boulder and 
bedrock provides shoal habitat. Littoral habitat in the impoundment 
includes shallow banks composed of sand, mud and submerged aquatic 
vegetation. The riparian forest at the edge of the impoundment provides 
overhanging vegetation with occasional snags and roots.
    The tailrace is approximately 5 to 6 feet wide and 8 inches to 1 
foot deep. The most prevalent substrate is sand, which covers bedrock, 
boulders and cobble. Root mats, aquatic vegetation, and a few logs are 
also present (Carnagey Biological Services, 2010).
    The Enoree River bypassed reach extends for approximately 1,400 
feet downstream from the toe of the dam to the confluence with the 
project's powerhouse tailrace. The bypassed reach is largely composed 
of habitat consistent with shoals in Piedmont streams of the 
Southeastern U.S. (Mulholland and Lenat, 1992). Shoals only comprise 2 
percent of all habitats in the Enoree River (Lockhart Power, 2011b). 
The project bypassed reach, which contains 10 percent of the available 
shoals habitat in the Enoree River, includes a natural ledge, a braided 
portion, and a main channel.
    The natural ledge or fall stretches across the entire width of the 
river, approximately 15 to 20 feet below the dam. Downstream from the 
natural ledge, the main channel runs on the south side of the river, 
and flows over small and large boulders with aquatic vegetation 
dispersed throughout. The main channel provides a series of riffle, run 
and pool habitat types. The substrate in the main channel consists 
mostly of bedrock and sand, interspersed with some boulders, cobble and 
gravel. Logs, root mats, and aquatic vegetation are also present 
(Carnagey Biological Services, 2010).
    The north side of the bypassed reach is more complex and splits 
into three braided channels. The braided channels are approximately 6.5 
to 19.5 feet wide and from 4 inches to greater than 2 feet deep, with a 
canopy cover of 45 percent. Substrate in this area is composed of 
boulders, cobble, gravel, sand, and some bedrock. Snags, root mats, 
leaf packs, and some aquatic vegetation provide other habitat (Carnagey 
Biological Services, 2010).
    To characterize the fish resources within the Riverdale Project 
area, Lockhart Power conducted a baseline fisheries survey on June 10-
11 and July 6-7, 2010 (Lockhart Power, 2010a). Sampling was conducted 
at six stations: One station was in the impoundment, three stations 
were in the bypassed reach, and one station each was in the tailrace 
and the confluence of the tailrace with the Enoree River. During the 
baseline fisheries survey, 29 freshwater fish species were collected in 
the vicinity of the Riverdale Project (table 5). The highest number of 
species (20) occurred in the bypassed reach upstream of the braiding. 
Fewer species were collected in the main channel along the southern 
shoreline of the bypassed reach (13), the braided reach along the 
northern shoreline (11), and the Riverdale impoundment (12). The lowest 
number of species (6) was collected at the confluence of the Enoree 
River and the powerhouse tailrace, which is a relatively homogenous 
habitat composed mostly of woody debris and undercut banks.

[[Page 76922]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TN19DE13.004


[[Page 76923]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TN19DE13.005

Macroinvertebrates

    Carnagey Biological Services (2010) conducted benthic 
macroinvertebrate surveys in the Riverdale Project vicinity on June 30, 
2010. Collections of aquatic macroinvertebrates were made at six 
sampling stations. Stations were located above the Riverdale Project 
impoundment (i.e. reference location, station 1), in the tailrace 
(station 2), upstream of the braided area in the bypassed reach 
(station 3), in the main channel of the bypassed reach (station 4), in 
the braided flow channel of the bypassed reach (station 5), and at the 
confluence of the tailrace and the Enoree River (station 6). A total of 
1,807 organisms, comprising 81 distinct taxa,

[[Page 76924]]

were collected. Station 4 had the most taxa and specimens collected, 
while station 6 had the fewest taxa and station 3 had the fewest 
specimens collected. The number of EPT taxa (i.e. insect orders 
Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, and Trichoptera) was highest (17 taxa) at 
the reference station, lowest at stations 3 (11 taxa) and 6 (12 taxa), 
while stations 2, 4, and 5 had 15 to 16 EPT taxa.
    Two indices were used to evaluate the quality of the environment 
for benthic macroinvertebrates. The North Carolina biotic index (NCBI) 
utilizes a pollution tolerance value developed over a wide range of 
conditions and pollution types to assess the amount of impact. The 
South Carolina DHEC bioclassification is determined by averaging scores 
for the NCBI and EPT index at each station. Based on NCBI, the 
environment at station 2 was ``excellent'' and all other stations were 
``good.'' Based on the South Carolina DHEC bioclassification, the 
environment at station 2 was ``good'' and all others stations were 
``good-fair.''

Freshwater Mussels

    Alderman Environmental Services conducted freshwater mussel and 
snail surveys July 6-8, 2010 (Lockhart Power, 2010a). Visual and 
tactile sampling occurred in five reaches. Reach 1 was upriver of the 
dam, reach 2 was in the tailrace, reach 3 was at the confluence of the 
tailrace and the Enoree River, reach 4 was in the vicinity of SC 49 
crossing (~ 4.75 miles downstream from project), and reach 5 was in the 
bypassed reach. Although there was no evidence of any mussels, six 
snail species were observed, including the panhandle pebblesnail, which 
was found in reaches 4 and 5.

Special Status Aquatic Species

Fish

    None of the species identified during the survey are state or 
federally listed as threatened or endangered. However, eight fish 
species collected in the survey are listed as Conservation Species: 
redeye bass, Santee chub, thicklip chub, greenfin shiner, flat 
bullhead, snail bullhead, Piedmont darter, and notchlip redhorse (table 
5).
    Redeye bass is a Conservation Species of Highest Priority due to 
its restricted range, as well as competitive displacement and 
hybridization when found together with the introduced, non-native 
spotted bass (SCDNR, 2005). The species typically inhabits small to 
medium sized headwater streams within the Appalachian foothills of Gulf 
and Atlantic Slope drainages (Boschung and Mayden, 1999). It spawns in 
the spring (April-June; table 6) in headwater streams in gravel nests 
built in eddy waters at the heads of pools (Wallus and Simon, 2008). 
Outside of the spawning season, adult and juvenile redeye bass appear 
to prefer areas close to shorelines with heavy canopy cover (Knight, 
2011). Redeye bass were observed in the impoundment, bypassed reach, 
and at the confluence of the tailrace and the Enoree River (table 5).
    The Santee chub is a Conservation Species of High Priority due to 
its limited distribution (South Carolina DNR, 2005). Within its 
distribution, the Santee chub is found in small- to medium-sized 
streams over gravel, sand, and rubble; however, it is most abundant in 
sand-bottomed runs of larger streams. The life-history of the Santee 
chub is not well understood (including spawning season), but is 
probably similar to the thicklip chub (table 6; Rohde et al., 2009). 
Santee chub were found in the bypassed reach, tailrace, and confluence 
during 2010 fish surveys (table 5).
    The piedmont darter is a Conservation Species of High Priority, 
largely because one-third of its global distribution is in South 
Carolina and many of its preferred habitats are at risk (South Carolina 
DNR, 2005). Piedmont darter occupy cool to warm moderate-sized streams 
and rivers, but are usually found in riffles with gravel and rock 
substrate (Rohde et al., 2009). Little else is known about the life-
history of this species, but it likely spawns in mid- to late-spring 
(table 6; Jenkins and Burkhead, 1993). Piedmont darter was found in all 
sections of the bypassed reach during 2010 fish surveys (table 5).
    The thicklip chub is a Conservation Species of Moderate Priority 
because it occurs only in the Carolinas and Georgia and only within a 
few drainages. About one-half of the global distribution of the species 
is in South Carolina (South Carolina DNR, 2005). It is primarily found 
in warmer, clear to turbid streams and rivers of the Piedmont. Adults 
occupy runs and riffles over sand and gravel, as well as sites 
characterized by rubble, boulder and bedrock (Jenkins and Burkhead, 
1993). Thicklip chub spawning biology is not well understood, but 
likely occurs from mid-May to late August (table 6; Jenkins and 
Burkhead, 1993). Thicklip chub was found in the bypassed reach, 
upstream of channel braiding during 2010 fish surveys (table 5).

                Table 6--Spawning Dates and Habitat Requirements for Eight Conservation Species Observed in the Riverdale Bypassed Reach
                                                               [South Carolina DNR, 2005]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                               Common name                               Spawning dates                            Habitat Use
                                ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Species                                                                                                                             Literature
                                        Range         Literature source            Range            Literature source          Category           source
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ------------
Micropterus coosae.............  Redeye Bass.......  April-June.........  Mettee et al. (1996)     fluvial \1\         Freeman and Marcinek
                                                                           Wallus and Simon         specialist.         (2006) Rohde et al.
                                                                           (2008).                                      (2009)
Cyprinella zanema..............  Santee Chub.......  information not      none...................  fluvial specialist  Rohde et al. (2009)
                                                      available.
Cyprinella labrosa.............  Thicklip Chub.....  possibly mid-May--   Jenkins and Burkhead     fluvial specialist  Freeman and Marcinek
                                                      late August.         (1993).                                      (2006) Rohde et al.
                                                                                                                        (2009)
Cyprinella chloristia..........  Greenfin Shiner...  information not      none...................  fluvial specialist  Freeman and Marcinek
                                                      available.                                                        (2006) Rohde et al.
                                                                                                                        (2009)
Ameiurus platycephalus.........  Flat Bullhead.....  June-July            Olmsted and Cloutman     generalist\2\.....  Rohde et al. (2009)
                                                      (impoundment         (1979).
                                                      population).
Ameriurus brunneus.............  Snail Bullhead....  May--early June....  Jenkins and Burkhead     fluvial specialist  Freeman and Marcinek
                                                                           (1993).                                      (2006) Rohde et al.
                                                                                                                        (2009)
Percina crassa.................  Piedmont Darter...  mid- to late-spring  Jenkins and Burkhead     fluvial specialist  Rohde et al. (2009)
                                                                           (1993).

[[Page 76925]]

 
Moxostoma collapsum............  Notchlip Redhorse.  March--early June..  Jenkins and Burkhead     fluvial specialist  Freeman and Marcinek
                                                                           (1993) Grabowski and                         (2006) Rohde et al.
                                                                           Isely (2007) Coughlan                        (2009)
                                                                           et al. (2007).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Fluvial specialists are species that require flowing water for most or all of their life cycle (Galat et al., 2005).
\2\ Habitat generalists are species that are capable of successfully utilizing a variety of habitats to complete their life-cycle.

    The greenfin shiner is a Conservation Species of Moderate Priority 
because they only occur in the Carolinas and Georgia, and only within a 
few drainages. About two-thirds of the global distribution is in South 
Carolina (South Carolina DNR, 2005). The species is found over sandy 
and rocky pools and in the runs of larger creeks and small to medium-
sized rivers (Rohde et al., 2009). The spawning biology of greenfin 
shiner is not well understood; however, it likely exhibits behavior 
similar to other species in its genera, which deposit eggs in crevices 
of submerged logs and rocks (Rohde et al., 2009). The greenfin shiner 
was found in the impoundment and bypassed reach during 2010 fish 
surveys (table 5).
    The notchlip redhorse is a Conservation Species of Moderate 
Priority due to habitat degradation such as deforestation and siltation 
(South Carolina DNR, 2005). The species occurs in large creeks to large 
rivers on the inner Coastal Plain and Piedmont of South Carolina (Rohde 
et al., 2009). Its temporal spawning range may occur from March to 
early June (table 6), and it is thought to gather near shoals and flats 
to spawn over coarse gravel (Jenkins and Burkhead, 1993; Jennings et 
al., 1996). The notchlip redhorse was found in the braided and main 
channel of the bypassed reach during 2010 fish surveys (table 5).
    The flat bullhead is a Conservation Species of Moderate Priority 
due to sedimentation, hydrologic modification, impoundments, nonpoint 
source pollution, and development, as well as competition with and 
predation by non-native catfish species like the flathead and blue 
catfish (South Carolina DNR, 2005). The species occupies a variety of 
habitats, including impoundments (Olmstead and Cloutman, 1979). 
Spawning biology is not well understood in stream or riverine 
environments, though spawning in Lake Norman, North Carolina occurs 
during June and July (table 6; Olmstead and Cloutman, 1979). The flat 
bullhead was found in the impoundment during 2010 fish surveys (table 
5).
    The snail bullhead is a Conservation Species of Moderate Priority 
for the same reasons as flat bullhead. The species is frequently found 
in warm and medium-sized rivers, often in rocky runs and riffles, and 
appears to prefer shoals compared to pools (Kennon, 2007; Rohde et al., 
2009). Little is known about snail bullhead biology, but it likely 
spawns from May to early June (table 6). The snail bullhead was found 
in the main channel and upstream of braided sections of the bypassed 
reach during 2010 fish surveys (table 5).
    All Conservation Priority Fish Species, with the possible exception 
of the flat bullhead, are fluvial specialists.\32\ In contrast, habitat 
generalists,\33\ such as flat bullhead, can be found in both lentic and 
lotic systems (Galat et al., 2005).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \32\ Fluvial specialists are species that require flowing water 
for most or all of their life cycle (Galat et al., 2005).
    \33\ Habitat generalists are species that are capable of 
successfully utilizing a variety of habitats to complete their life-
cycle.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Benthic macroinvertebrates

    The panhandle pebblesnail is a Conservation Species of Highest 
Priority. Siltation of streams and rivers from agricultural runoff and 
erosion of unstable stream banks are the main factors affecting the 
distribution of the species (South Carolina DNR, 2005). The species is 
generally found in rivers and streams throughout the Piedmont--
typically in rocky riffles with good flow and often with the hornleaf 
riverweed. Solid substrate seems to be a key habitat requirement. Its 
biology is not well understood; however, like all snails in the mud 
snail family it likely requires solid substrate to attach eggs (Dillon 
et al., 2006). The panhandle pebblesnail was found in the bypassed 
reach and about 4.75 miles downstream from the project during 
freshwater mussel and snail surveys (Lockhart Power, 2010a).

3.3.2.2 Environmental Effects

Effects of Project Refurbishment and Operation on Water Quality

    As discussed in section 3.3.1, Geologic and Soil Resources, if 
erosion control measures do not adequately mitigate soil erosion and 
sedimentation, there may be temporary increases in turbidity above the 
current state standard of 50 NTU in the Enoree River. Similarly, 
drawing down the impoundment to repair the sand gates and initial 
operations may result in the discharge of a large amount of sediment 
from the project impoundment. Peaking operation may also affect DO and 
temperature within the impoundment, particularly during low flows. 
Releasing poorly oxygenated, warm water from the impoundment could 
affect fish, mussels, and other aquatic species in the bypassed reach.
    Lockhart Power is willing to monitor water quality in the project 
vicinity, as required by South Carolina DHEC, but did not specifically 
propose any water quality monitoring.
    Interior recommends that Lockhart Power: (1) Conduct water quality 
monitoring in the impoundment at all proposed operational drawdowns for 
a minimum of 1 year; and (2) submit water quality monitoring results to 
South Carolina DHEC, South Carolina DNR, NMFS, Interior, and the 
Commission.

Our Analysis

    Our understanding of water quality in the project vicinity under 
existing conditions is limited because it is based on three water 
quality samples collected by Lockhart Power, as described above. Low DO 
concentrations for the June 18, 2010 sample may have been due to high 
levels of decomposed organic matter in the impoundment, water 
temperature, or water quality of the impoundment's inflows.
    Because of the limited storage capacity of the project impoundment, 
ROR operation would likely predominate. Water quality conditions

[[Page 76926]]

within the impoundment are not expected to differ greatly from existing 
conditions during ROR operation because all inflow would continually 
pass through the project as it currently does. However, during peaking 
operation, which would occur during lower flow periods, DO levels could 
decrease and water temperatures could increase as water retention times 
increase. The extent to which these water quality parameters would be 
affected is unknown, and would depend on inflow rates and ambient 
conditions.
    Because all flows currently spill over the dam into the bypassed 
reach, some degree of aeration occurs. Given the presence of several 
species of fish and macroinvertebrates, sufficient aeration is likely 
occurring. Once operation begins, flows in the bypassed reach would be 
limited to minimum flows provided through the low-level sand gates, 
except when inflow exceeds the project's hydraulic capacity. Although 
the flows would be less than that which occurs currently, flows would 
be constant and aeration over the shoals is likely to be sufficient to 
protect aquatic biota. Thermal stratification of the impoundment, which 
could affect DO levels in the bypassed minimum flow to the bypassed 
reach, is unlikely because of its shallow depth (Dodds et al., 2010).
    Turbidity monitoring prior to the start of construction as well as 
during project rehabilitation would ensure that the erosion control and 
sediment management plan is meeting its objectives and that discharges 
are consistent with the current state water quality standards (table 4) 
and other permitting requirements throughout the project rehabilitation 
phase.
    Monitoring water quality in the impoundment and in the bypassed 
reach prior to construction, during construction, and during the first 
year of project operation under the various operational levels, as 
recommended by Interior, would determine if operations are adversely 
affecting water quality parameters and if potential corrective actions 
are warranted. Depending on the results, monitoring may need to be 
extended beyond the first year.

Effects of Project Refurbishment and Operation on Fishery Resources

Instream Flow Releases

    The proposed Riverdale Project would divert existing river flows 
away from the bypassed reach and toward the turbines for hydropower 
generation. Flow diversions would ultimately reduce the volume of flow 
in the bypassed reach, resulting in dewatering of habitat and modifying 
aquatic habitat parameters in the 1,400 feet of complex shoals habitat 
in the bypassed reach. Peaking operations would result in flow 
fluctuations within the impoundment, and in the Enoree River below the 
tailrace confluence. Such fluctuations could strand and isolate fish in 
back channels and on gravel bars, causing increased risk of predation 
and natural mortality, or dewater fish nests in the impoundment and 
downstream from the tailrace, leaving eggs vulnerable to predation and 
desiccation.
    Lockhart Power proposes to provide a continuous minimum flow of 50 
cfs through the bypassed reach and a downstream continuous minimum flow 
of 60 cfs, or inflow, whichever is less. Lockhart Power plans to 
release at least 10 cfs into the tailrace when the project is not 
generating via leakage, or through gate operations if necessary. In the 
event of a plant outage, Lockhart Power would release flows into the 
bypassed reach via the dam's sand gates or over the spillway.
    South Carolina DNR recommends Lockhart Power release flows in the 
bypassed reach that are consistent with the Water Plan. Based on an 
estimated MADF of 393 cfs for a period of record from 1994-2009, the 
minimum flows should meet or exceed the following: July-November, 20 
percent of MADF (79 cfs); January-April, 40 percent of MADF (157 cfs); 
and May, June, and December, 30 percent of MADF (118 cfs). 
Interior,\34\ NMFS, and American Rivers support the recommendations 
provided by South Carolina DNR.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \34\ See email correspondence dated May 31, 2013 from Thomas 
McCoy, Deputy Field Supervisor, FWS, Charleston, South Carolina, to 
Sarah Salazar, FERC, Washington, DC, filed on June 6, 2013.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Although NMFS supports South Carolina DNR's proposed minimum flows, 
it also recommends Lockhart Power conduct an instream flow study after 
a license is issued, and when the project's sand gates are operational. 
NMFS states that this is because Lockhart Power could not provide an 
instream flow study to support flows needed to protect aquatic 
resources in the bypassed reach. NMFS recommends that Lockhart Power 
develop the study plan within 6 months of license issuance.

Our Analysis

    The current licensee has not operated the project since 2001, and 
no river flow has been diverted for hydropower purposes since that 
time. Rather, all river flow has and continues to run over the dam/
spillway and into the shoals of the 1,400-foot-long bypassed river 
channel. These conditions represent the no-action alternative.
    Piedmont streams like the Enoree River naturally exhibit large 
seasonal variations in stream flow with varying amounts of habitat. 
High rates of evapotranspiration during the growing season deplete soil 
moisture content and reduce groundwater input to streams, resulting in 
average stream flows that are generally much lower during the summer 
compared with winter and early spring. During winter and early spring, 
evapotranspiration is very low and groundwater discharge is usually 
considerably higher, resulting in higher baseflows (Mulholland and 
Lenat, 1992).
    Many fish species have evolved life history strategies in the 
context of natural flow regimes. Consequently, fishes are generally 
adapted to the monthly, seasonal, annual, and interannual variations in 
flow, and are capable of surviving flows from drought to flood 
conditions (Bunn and Arthington, 2002; Thompson and Larsen, 2004). Some 
fishes also benefit from particular magnitudes of flow during specific 
periods of the year. For example, higher flow during spring can provide 
access to spawning grounds for migratory species, or access to the 
floodplain, where nursery value and foraging opportunities are optimal 
for some fish species (Bunn and Arthington, 2002). Thus, certain 
seasonal components of an annual flow regime can be important for some 
fishes.
    A diversity of species currently exist in the bypassed reach, which 
is composed of complex shoals habitat. Shoals represent only 2 percent 
of all habitat in the Enoree River, and the bypassed reach contains 10 
percent of shoals habitat in the Enoree River (Lockhart Power, 2011b). 
Wharton (1978) describes a Piedmont shoal as ``shallow, oxygenated 
water,'' and shoals as ``swift, rocky areas'' that are abundant with 
life. Despite their rarity, they are structurally complex habitats that 
support a higher number of species than more homogenous habitats in 
Piedmont rivers (Kennon, 2007).
    The bypassed reach had the highest number of species collected, 
compared to all other habitats sampled during the 2010 fish surveys 
(table 5). A total of 21 species was observed in the bypassed reach, 
and seven of those species are listed by South Carolina as Conservation 
Species (table 5). Each of these species is a fluvial specialist, 
requiring flowing water for most or all of their life cycle (Galat et 
al., 2005).
    Redeye bass is one of the more unique species present in the 
bypassed reach, and is listed as Conservation Species of Highest 
Priority. This species is restricted to watersheds in northwest

[[Page 76927]]

South Carolina, and is currently in decline in the state due to 
hybridization with the introduced Alabama spotted bass (South Carolina 
DNR, 2008). Continued hybridization could eventually restrict redeye 
bass populations to isolated tributaries (Barwick et al., 2006).
    The panhandle pebblesnail is another unique and rare species 
present in the bypassed reach, and also is listed as a Conservation 
Species of Highest Priority. In 1994, this species was under candidate 
review for listing under the Endangered Species Act; however, it was 
determined that persuasive data on biological vulnerability and threat 
were not available to support listing at the time (DOI, 1994). This 
species is only documented at seven locations in South Carolina (Dillon 
et al., 2006). Siltation of streams and rivers from agricultural runoff 
and erosion of unstable streambanks are the main factors affecting the 
distribution of the species (South Carolina DNR, 2005).
    Because Lockhart Power could not conduct a controlled-flow study of 
the instream flows needed to support aquatic resources in the bypassed 
reach or downstream from the tailrace, it proposed to provide a minimum 
continuous flow of 60 cfs downstream from the tailrace and 50 cfs 
through the bypassed reach when operating. Lockhart Power asserts that 
such flows would meet 7Q10 \35\ requirements (56 cfs) in the Enoree 
River established by South Carolina DHEC.\36\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \35\ The 7Q10 is the lowest 7-day average flow that occurs (on 
average) once every 10 years.
    \36\ The 50-cfs minimum flow in the bypassed reach represents an 
increase from the 30-cfs minimum flow requirement of the existing 
license.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The proposed 50 cfs is 13 percent of the MADF, or 393 cfs. Lockhart 
Power states that this flow is within the range of minimum bypass flows 
for five other Commission-licensed projects located within South 
Carolina's Broad River Basin (table 7), each of which were built at a 
shoal site, have similar fish species as found at the Riverdale 
Project, and were based on flow studies. Lockhart Power asserts that if 
a field study could have been conducted at the Riverdale Project it 
would have yielded similar results, supporting a similar percent of 
MADF for minimum flows in the project bypassed reach. Consequently, 
Lockhart Power states that its proposed flow would adequately protect 
aquatic habitat in the bypassed reach and the Enoree River. However, 
for each of the projects cited by Lockhart Power (i.e. table 7), site-
specific instream flow studies were conducted to support the minimum 
flows . No instream flow studies have been conducted in the Riverdale 
bypassed reach or downstream from the tailrace to support Lockhart 
Power's proposed minimum flows.

  Table 7--Flows Through the Bypassed Reach at FERC Licensed Projects in the Broad River Basin, South Carolina
                                            [Source: Lockhart Power]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                              Range of flow
              Project Name                   MADF (cfs)     through bypassed         Percent range of MADF
                                                              reach  (cfs)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gaston Shoals...........................             2,170           150-350  7 to 16.
Lockhart................................             3,600           200-385  5 to 11.
Catawba.................................             4,878           550-950  11 to 19.
Columbia................................             6,923           500-900  7 to 13.
Pacolet.................................               505             22-49  4 to 9.
Riverdale Proposed......................               393                50  13.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Without a site-specific flow study, desktop standard-setting 
methods, such as 7Q10, the Water Plan, and Tennant (1976) can be used 
to provide minimum flow recommendations.
    The 7Q10 flow is a hydrologically-based design flow that represents 
the lowest 7-day average flow that occurs, on average, once every 10 
years. The 7Q10 flow does not necessarily take into account biological 
needs of aquatic resources. Nonetheless, Lockhart Power's proposed 
minimum flow of 50 cfs is not equivalent to the 7Q10 flow (56 cfs) in 
the bypassed reach; however, it is equivalent to the 7Q10 flow below 
the tailrace when combined with leakage through the turbine.
    Where site-specific flow studies are not available, South Carolina 
DNR uses the state Water Plan \37\ to recommend flows that will protect 
fishery resources in all waters of the state when natural streamflow 
regimes cannot be maintained. The Water Plan minimum flow requirements 
are based on instream flow studies conducted at six regulated reaches 
in the South Carolina Piedmont. These minimum flow requirements were 
designed to provide a useable width for migratory fish \38\ passing 
through shoals during high flows, provide ``generally adequate'' flows 
to protect fisheries during low flows, provide ``adequate'' flows 
during periods when flows are increasing or decreasing, and provide 
flows that conform to seasonal variation in flow. These objectives 
resulted in three distinct minimum flow periods that capture high 
(January-April; 40 percent of MADF), low (July-November; 20 percent of 
MADF), and increasing (December; 30 percent of MADF) or decreasing 
(May, June; 30 percent of MADF) flow periods (Bulak and Jobsis, 1989).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \37\ The Water Plan states that the current policy for 
determining instream flow requirements for fishery resources can be 
found in South Carolina Instream Flow Studies: A Status Report 
(Bulak and Jobsis, 1989).
    \38\ Striped bass were considered a migratory species of prime 
importance in the instream flow studies, and habitat suitability 
(i.e. stream width and depth requirements) was based on passage of 
this species.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Based on the stipulations of the Water Plan and the flow record at 
the time, which established a MADF of 393 cfs for the bypassed reach, 
South Carolina DNR, Interior, and NMFS concluded that the minimum flows 
should meet or exceed the following: 79 cfs from July-November (20 
percent of MADF); 157 cfs from January-April (40 percent of MADF); and 
118 cfs in May, June, and December (30 percent of MADF). Using the most 
current flow data available, staff calculated the MADF to be 374 cfs, 
which results in the following slightly lower flows: July-November, 75 
cfs (20 percent of MADF); January-April, 150 cfs (40 percent of MADF); 
and May, June, and December, 112 cfs (30 percent of MADF). In contrast, 
Lockhart Power's proposed flows of 60 cfs (16 percent of MADF) 
downstream from the tailrace

[[Page 76928]]

and 50 cfs (13 percent of MADF) in the bypassed reach would fall below 
all of the Water Plan's minimum flows and would not be adequate to 
protect the existing fishery in the bypassed reach. In addition, unlike 
the Water Plan's seasonally variable minimum flows, Lockhart Power's 
proposed year-round flows would not maintain or mimic the natural flow 
regime, which according to the Water Plan, can be important because 
fish have evolved to spawn in synchrony with the seasonal hydrologic 
cycle.
    One of the criteria used to establish minimum flow requirements of 
the Water Plan is to provide sufficient depth for passage of striped 
bass. Bulak and Jobsis (1989) concluded that in Piedmont streams, where 
striped bass are generally of prime importance, a minimum depth of 1.5 
feet and passage width of 10 feet is necessary for unimpeded passage 
for the spawning migration. During high flow periods, study results 
from the six Piedmont reaches indicated that establishing a 1.5-foot-
deep by 10-foot-wide passage route required flows at shoals to range 
from 39-70 percent of MADF (Bulak and Jobsis, 1989). Therefore, the 40 
percent of MADF flow recommended by South Carolina DNR, Interior, and 
NMFS for the period between January and April represents the lower end 
of flows deemed necessary for maintaining a zone-of-passage for striped 
bass.
    Striped bass are not present in the bypassed reach and a spawning 
migration does not occur up to the Riverdale Project due to the lack of 
passage at Parr dam, located 65 miles downstream from the Riverdale 
Project. Therefore, the passage requirements outlined in the Water Plan 
are not relevant for the Riverdale bypassed reach. While a 1.5-foot-
deep by 10-foot-wide passage was determined to be suitable for striped 
bass, which at maturity can range in length from 18 inches to greater 
than 40 inches, the species with the largest adult size range that 
presently inhabits the Riverdale bypassed reach is redeye bass, which 
in South Carolina, can range from 6-17 inches in length (Rohde et al., 
2009). Based on size, redeye bass do not require the same depths as 
striped bass for movement within the bypassed reach, nor is there 
evidence that other species require depths of 1.5 feet. Therefore, 
flows of 40 percent MADF from January to April are not necessary for 
maintenance of suitable habitat for the current fish community in the 
bypassed reach.
    Based on the study conducted by Bulak and Jobsis (1989), flows 
ranging from 15 to 32 percent of MADF are acceptable from January to 
April if a channel 1.0-foot-deep by 10-feet-wide is adequate for the 
species present. Given the absence of striped bass and other anadromous 
species at the Riverdale Project, a minimum flow of 20 percent of MADF 
(75-cfs) between January and April should provide suitable passage 
conditions in the bypassed reach for the existing aquatic community. 
Bulak and Jobsis (1989) also concluded that a minimum flow of 20 
percent MADF is generally adequate during the low flow period. Although 
a year-round minimum flow of 75 cfs would not mimic the seasonal 
variation in hydrology sought by the Water Plan, there is currently no 
evidence that the fishes or invertebrates in the bypassed reach, or 
downstream from the tailrace require such annual variation in flow to 
complete their life-cycle.
    In addition to using the parameters of the Water Plan, we analyzed 
flows in the bypassed reach using the Tennant method. The Tennant 
method is based on the assumption that a proportion of MADF would 
maintain suitable depths and water velocities for fish. Although 
Tennant's method is derived from rivers in Montana, Wyoming, and 
Nebraska, analyses in the southeast exhibit general agreement with his 
recommendations (Wood and Whelan, 1962). Bulak and Jobsis (1989) also 
used Tennant as one of the factors to establish South Carolina's policy 
on minimum flows. Tennant concluded that 10 percent of MADF is the 
minimum instantaneous flow needed to sustain short-term survival and is 
considered the lower limits for aquatic life. Tennant also concluded 
that at 20 percent of MADF, the widths, depths, and velocities of most 
streams would be ``good'' during the dry season and close to ``fair or 
degrading'' during the wet season.
    Table 8 shows the percentages of mean annual flows and 
corresponding narrative descriptions of the habitat created by these 
flows in the Enoree River using the Tennant method. According to this 
method, and using the most current flow data available (i.e. 1994-2012; 
MADF = 374 cfs), a flow of 60 cfs (15 percent of MADF) downstream of 
the tailrace and 50 cfs (13 percent of MADF) in the bypassed reach 
would provide fair or degrading conditions, and close to poor or 
minimum conditions during the dry and wet seasons, respectively. In 
contrast, the South Carolina DNR's recommended minimum flows of 20 
percent of MADF during the dry season and 40 percent of MADF during the 
wet season, would provide good conditions year round at the project. A 
year-round minimum flow of 75 cfs (20 percent of MADF), would result in 
good, and close to fair or degrading conditions during the dry season 
and wet season, respectively.

Table 8--Minimum Flow Required for Fish in Streams Identified by Tennant
                                 [1976]
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                     % of MADF
           Description of flow           -------------------------------
                                            Dry season      Wet season
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Outstanding.............................              40              60
Excellent...............................              30              50
Good....................................              20              40
Fair or degrading.......................              10              30
Poor or minimum.........................              10              10
Severe degradation......................            0-10            0-10
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    NMFS recommended that an instream flow study be conducted after the 
license is issued, and when the sand gates have been renovated to allow 
management of flows into the bypassed reach. However, as discussed 
above, we already have sufficient information to evaluate bypassed 
reach minimum flow alternatives. For this reason, an instream flow 
study is not needed for this project.

Fluctuating Water Levels

    Lockhart Power's peaking operation would result in periods of daily 
discharge fluctuations downstream from the tailrace. Lockhart Power's 
proposed

[[Page 76929]]

peaking operations would also involve a 4-foot impoundment drawdown 
during peaking events.
    Beyond the minimum flow alternatives described above, no one 
recommended changing proposed project operations.

Our Analysis

    Lockhart Power states that peaking operation would occur when 
inflows to the project are greater than 170 cfs (i.e. 50 cfs minimum 
bypass flow and about 120 cfs minimum hydraulic capacity of the 
turbine). Lockhart Power also indicates that flow would be spilled over 
the dam when inflow is greater than 500 cfs (i.e. 50 cfs minimum bypass 
flow and about 450 cfs maximum hydraulic capacity of the turbine) 
(Lockhart Power, 2011b). Based on this proposed operation, peaking 
could occur when inflow to the project is greater than 170 cfs and less 
than or equal to 500 cfs. Accordingly, peaking could occur as little as 
38.6 percent of the time in August, to as much as 75.2 percent of the 
time in April (figure 2). Peaking would occur greater than 50 percent 
of the time during January, February, March, April, May, June, and 
December (figure 2).
    Downstream from the tailrace, the highest fluctuations would occur 
from December through June, when monthly mean flows range from 300-590 
cfs (see table 3). During this period, daily flows downstream from the 
tailrace could range from 60 cfs when the project is not operating and 
the pond is refilling, to pulses of 500 cfs during operation.
BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TN19DE13.006

BILLING CODE 6717-01-C

Downstream Effects

    Flow fluctuations associated with peaking may have negative 
consequences for fish occurring downstream from the tailrace. When 
flows are high, large areas of habitat can be used by fish for 
foraging, cover, or reproduction. However, when water levels recede, 
the connection between side channels and the main channel can be lost 
(Bradford, 1997). As a result, fish stranding can occur on gravel bars, 
back channels, or pot-holes that become isolated from the main flow 
(Cushman, 1985). These isolated off-channel habitats often expose fish 
to greater predation risk, lower DO, and higher water temperature, 
which can lead to stranding mortality (Nagrodski et al., 2012). Early-
life stages (i.e. larvae, juveniles), which have a reduced swimming 
capacity compared to older fish, are particularly vulnerable to 
stranding and associated mortality, because they are unable to reach 
the main channel as flows decrease (Dabrowski et al., 1986). 
Furthermore, many riverine fishes, spawn on stony

[[Page 76930]]

substrate in off-channel locations that are susceptible to dewatering, 
which can leave eggs vulnerable to predation and desiccation (Nagrodski 
et al., 2012).
    Alterations in discharge during the spawning season can 
particularly affect reproduction of species with short spawning seasons 
(Craven et al., 2010). Freeman et al. (2001) demonstrated that fish 
assemblages below projects with peaking operations in Piedmont rivers 
are dominated numerically by species that display prolonged spawning 
seasons (i.e. extending into July or later; Freeman et al., 2001). In 
contrast, species that spawn exclusively during the spring are less 
abundant below peaking projects compared to unregulated sites, due to 
unstable and sometimes unavailable spawning habitat (Freeman et al., 
2001). Redeye bass, snail bullhead, Piedmont darter and notchlip 
redhorse are fluvial specialists that spawn exclusively during the 
spring. These species are currently present in the bypassed reach, but 
their populations could decline due to flow variability associated with 
peaking operation.
    As discussed above, under Lockhart Power's proposed operation, 
daily flows downstream from the tailrace could range from 60 cfs when 
the project is not operating and the impoundment is refilling, to 
pulses of 500 cfs during operation. The magnitude of this flow 
fluctuation would be 440 cfs. Higher minimum instream flows recommended 
by South Carolina DNR would reduce the magnitude of the flow 
fluctuation proportionally and would result in less exposed shoreline 
downstream from the tailrace when the project is not generating.

Impoundment Effects

    Fluctuating water levels may produce unfavorable spawning 
conditions and recruitment for resident fish species that occupy the 
Riverdale impoundment. Effects may be particularly pronounced for 
centrarchids, which build nests and spawn at shallow depths in the 
littoral zone during spring and summer. When water levels decrease 
during drawdowns, nests become exposed and egg desiccation can occur 
(Maraldo and MacCrimmon, 1981). Lower water levels can also result in 
reduced shoreline cover and increased predation on juvenile fish 
(Willis, 1986).
    Inflows are greater than 170 cfs and less than 500 cfs, between 
50.6 and 75.2 percent of the time during April through June, when most 
centrarchids build nests and spawn (figure 2). Thus, peaking operation, 
with up to a 4-foot drawdown, could occur daily about 50 to 75 percent 
of the time during April through June when centrarchids are building 
nests and spawning (figure 2).
    Proposed peaking operation, with up to a 4-foot drawdown, would 
change the littoral zone fish habitat in the project impoundment, 
compared to the natural flow conditions that have been present at the 
project for the last 12 years. Frequent drawdowns from April through 
June have the potential to dewater fish nests, disturb spawning, and 
reduce reproductive success of the four centrarchid species occupying 
the impoundment (see table 5). Peaking operation at the project could 
affect each of these species. However, three centrarchids are multiple 
spawners (e.g., bluegill, red breast sunfish, and redear sunfish) and 
could spawn again if project operation disrupts initial spawning 
activities.
    With regard to redeye bass, the impoundment likely does not possess 
significant amounts of spawning or juvenile habitat. The impoundment's 
littoral zone includes shallow banks composed of sand, mud, and 
submerged aquatic vegetation (Carnegey Biological Services, 2010). 
Redeye bass, however, spawn in gravel nests built in eddy waters at the 
heads of pools (Wallus and Simon, 2008) and juveniles appear to prefer 
areas close to shorelines with heavy canopy cover (Knight, 2011). These 
types of habitats are not present in the project impoundment, but are 
present in the bypassed reach, where Lockhart Power captured the most 
redeye bass during 2010 baseline fisheries survey (table 5).

Low Inflow/Drought Conditions

    The project is located in the Southeast U.S., which is susceptible 
to severe drought events that can reduce water supplies for several 
years at a time. Recently, severe droughts occurred from 1998-2002, 
2005-2007, and 2012. During these events, incoming flow can fall below 
minimum continuous flows, stressing aquatic resources and creating 
conflicts among competing uses, including generation, water supply, and 
recreation.
    To address drought conditions, Lockhart Power developed what it 
terms a low inflow protocol (LIP), which states that ``when average 
daily project inflow is less than approximately 80 cfs (+/- 10 
percent), the following would be in effect: Continuous project outflow 
shall approximately (+/- 10 percent) equal project inflow.'' \39\ South 
Carolina DNR recommends Lockhart Power develop and implement a LIP for 
the project, consistent with the Water Plan. They also recommend that 
Lockhart Power implement the LIP during periods of extended drought and 
design it to provide instream flows to protect fish and wildlife and 
other water uses associated with the Enoree River in the Project 
vicinity.\40\ Interior concurs with South Carolina DNR's recommended 
LIP.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \39\ Based on pro-rated inflow data from the USGS gage near 
Woodruff, SC (02160390).
    \40\ The Water Plan does not prescribe specific flows, 
recommends that a Water-shortage Contingency Plan (i.e., drought 
contingency plan) be developed and coordinated with appropriate 
federal and state agencies, local governments, and other 
stakeholders. The Water Plan also recommends that the Water-shortage 
Contingency Plan include water-shortage severity levels and water 
releases associated with each severity level.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Our Analysis

    The overall objective of a LIP is to provide sufficient instream 
flows to protect fish, wildlife and other water uses in the project 
vicinity during droughts. Lockhart Power and stakeholders have agreed 
that the project needs a LIP to adequately protect fishery resources. 
The recent high frequency of severe drought events in the Southeast 
U.S. reinforces this need.
    Severe drought events can affect fishes in a number of ways. Low 
streamflows during a drought reduce stream width and depth, limiting 
habitat availability and the ability of fish to move freely among 
habitats (Lohr and Fausch, 1997). Droughts also affect water 
temperature and DO concentrations, which can negatively affect 
reproduction and juvenile recruitment (Schlosser et al., 2001). This 
can reduce stream fish populations and change fish assemblage structure 
by favoring hypoxia-tolerant species and reducing intolerant species 
(Smale and Rabeni, 1995). Moreover, drought can simply kill fish 
directly (Lohr and Fausch, 1997).
    Ideally, a LIP would be designed to provide flexibility to adjust 
minimum flows during drought periods so that the effects of low flows 
are balanced among competing uses, while still protecting fish and 
wildlife. As written, Lockhart Power's proposed LIP does not provide a 
mechanism to adjust minimum flows during drought periods; rather it 
proposes to ensure project outflow is equal to inflow when average 
daily inflow is less than 80 cfs. This would ensure no interruption of 
flow (i.e. storage of water) through the project to downstream 
resources when flows are 80 cfs or less. However, Lockhart Power's LIP 
is not clear as to how that flow would be passed through the project. 
In other words, would all flow be provided through the sand gates into 
the bypassed reach, or as a combination

[[Page 76931]]

of bypassed reach minimum flows and generation? The project's minimum 
operating hydraulic capacity of 120 cfs suggests that all inflow would 
be released into the bypassed reach when average daily inflow to the 
project is 80 cfs or lower.
    Eighty cfs represents 20 to 21 percent of MADF, depending on 
whether the flow record includes 1994-2009 (MADF = 393 cfs) or the most 
complete record from 1994-2012 (MADF = 374 cfs), respectively. Bulak 
and Jobsis (1989) determined that during the low flow period (July-
November) in South Carolina Piedmont streams, 20 percent of MADF was 
``generally adequate'' for aquatic resources. If drought conditions 
were to extend into the high flow period (January-April), 20 percent of 
MADF was within the range (15-32 percent of MADF) of flow that provides 
a 1-foot-deep by 10-feet-wide stream of water. Thus, 80 cfs would 
provide good habitat in the bypassed reach and downstream from the 
tailrace. Any inflows that are lower would represent natural flow 
conditions that Lockhart Power could not control, and would result in 
the best aquatic habitat conditions possible given drought conditions. 
However it would also limit the project's ability to generate until 
drought conditions subside.
    Lockhart Power also does not explain the basis for selecting an 
average daily inflow of 80 cfs to represent low flow/drought 
conditions, only noting that this was being discussed with resource 
agencies during its application development. Developing and 
implementing an LIP, as recommended by South Carolina DNR and Interior, 
would allow Lockhart Power and the resource agencies to cooperatively 
define water-shortage severity levels (i.e. drought conditions) and 
potentially adjust minimum flows, depending on the severity of the 
drought so that the effects of low flows are balanced among competing 
uses.
    The LIPs recommended by South Carolina DNR inherently allow flows 
to drop below the minimum flow releases determined to be suitable for 
fish and benthic invertebrates in the bypassed reach. Although further 
reductions of minimum flow requirements are likely to have additional 
effects on aquatic habitat and fish populations, fishes have developed 
physiological and behavioral adaptations for coping with drought 
conditions. For example, some fishes move to pools that contain water 
(Gelwick, 1990) or larger downstream reaches (Magoulick and Kobza, 
2003), and darters may survive in the hyporheic zone \41\ (Tramer, 
1977). Also, fishes tend to move back into an affected area as soon as 
a drought disturbance has subsided (Larimore et al., 1959; Peterson and 
Bayley, 1993), and fish assemblages can return to pre-disturbance 
levels within one year (Larimore et al., 1959; and Meffe and Sheldon 
1990). Thus, a reduction in minimum flow requirements during drought 
periods may affect fishery resources in the bypassed reach and 
downstream from the tailrace temporarily; however, stream fish 
communities are resilient and can recover quickly from these temporary 
disturbances.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \41\ The hyporheic zone is a portion of the groundwater 
interface in streams where a mixture of surface water and 
groundwater can be found. Hyporheic zone waters can be found both 
beneath the active channel and within the riparian zone of most 
streams and rivers.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Releasing and Distributing Minimum Instream Flows Across the Bypassed 
Channel

    As discussed above, Lockhart Power proposes to use one or more of 
the existing sand gates in the dam to provide its proposed minimum 
flows to the bypassed reach. Currently, the sand gates on the middle 
and right side of the dam are closed and inoperable, while the gate on 
the left side remains open.\42\ Lockhart Power proposes to repair the 
sand gates, and work with the resource agencies to determine which 
gate(s) to use to provide the bypassed reach minimum flow. Lockhart 
Power also would develop a rating curve following the repairs and 
verify the rating curve once every 6 years.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \42\ The sand gate on the right side does not have any gate 
mechanism installed, and is permanently sealed. The operating 
mechanism for the middle sand gate is tilted relative to its 
foundation and appears to be damaged (FERC, 2013).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    South Carolina DNR and Interior recommend Lockhart Power evaluate 
the feasibility and effectiveness of using the sand gates to provide 
flows on a permanent, continuous basis to the bypassed reach. South 
Carolina DNR also recommends that Lockhart Power evaluate flow 
distribution through the sand gates, and the gates be operated to 
optimize downstream aquatic habitat in the bypassed reach. In addition, 
American Rivers recommends the new license require: (1) A study of flow 
delivery alternatives to determine how to release flows from the dam to 
fully wet the shoals of the bypassed reach; and (2) the best method for 
delivering flows to the bypassed reach under all flow conditions. NMFS 
recommends conducting an instream flow study once the gates are 
operational.

Our Analysis

    Under existing conditions, flows in the Enoree River are capable of 
covering the entire breadth of bypassed reach, creating complex shoal 
habitat that supports a diverse assemblage of 21 fish species. There is 
a natural ledge or fall immediately downstream from the dam that 
stretches across the entire width of the river for about 15 to 20 feet. 
Downstream from the natural ledge, the main channel runs on the south 
side of the river, and flows over small and large boulders with aquatic 
vegetation dispersed throughout (Carnagey Biological Services, 2010). 
The north side of bypassed reach is more complex and splits into three 
braided sections, each approximately 6.5 to 19.5-foot-wide and 4 inches 
to greater than 2-foot-deep, with 45 percent canopy cover (Carnagey 
Biological Services, 2010).
    The distinct physical features between the north and south side of 
the bypassed reach enables a unique assemblage of fish to occupy each 
habitat. Lockhart Power's 2010 fish survey of the bypassed reach, 
demonstrated that fish species observed on the south side were often 
absent, or less common on the north side, and vice versa (table 5). For 
example, redeye bass and Piedmont darter, Highest Priority and High 
Priority Conservation Species, respectively, were collected most 
frequently on the north side, and absent on the south side (table 5). 
Whereas, the snail bullhead, a Moderate Priority Conservation Species, 
was collected most frequently on the south side, but absent on the 
north side (table 5).
    Because Lockhart Power did not have control of the dam, it was 
unable to determine if the sand gates could be made operable, or how 
best to use them to release minimum flows on a continuous and permanent 
basis. If the gates cannot be made operational, or used in a manner to 
provide the required flows, alternative mechanisms would need to be 
identified. These alternatives would need to be functional prior to 
operating the project to ensure that the aquatic resources in the 
bypassed reach are protected.
    Assuming that the bypassed flows can be provided through the sand 
gates, distributing the flows across the shoals to optimize benthic 
invertebrate and fish habitat may require delivering flows from one or 
more sand gates. While fully wetting the shoals would likely provide 
benthic invertebrate and fish habitat, it may not provide the best 
habitat for targeted channels supporting rare species. To determine 
which combination of gates to use would require a post-licensing flow 
study as

[[Page 76932]]

recommended by NMFS and American Rivers that examines depth, velocity, 
and wetted width across the shoals using various combinations of the 
sand gates to deliver the required flows. Targeted species and habitat 
conditions would need to be selected in consultation with the South 
Carolina DNR, FWS, NMFS, and American Rivers to define habitat 
suitability criteria.

Benthic Invertebrate and Fish Surveys

    The shoals within the bypassed reach represents a unique habitat 
that is relatively rare and currently supports seven fish species and a 
snail (panhandle pebblesnail) recognized in the South Carolina Wildlife 
Action Plan as in need of conservation because of their restricted 
ranges and specialized habitat needs (table 5). Sediment discharges and 
minimum instream flows could lead to physical, chemical, and biological 
changes in the bypassed reach affecting the distribution and occurrence 
of these species in the bypassed reach.
    Interior recommends that Lockhart Power conduct fish surveys before 
and after construction at the project, and again 1 year later, to 
provide information on the presence of the eight Conservation Species. 
Interior also recommends that Lockhart Power conduct invertebrate 
surveys before and after construction at the project, and again 1 year 
later, to provide information on the panhandle pebblesnail within the 
bypassed reach. Interior requests that Lockhart Power design the 
surveys in consultation with South Carolina DNR, South Carolina DHEC, 
NMFS, and FWS, and that sampling efforts be concentrated in the 
multiple habitat types in the bypassed reach. Interior states that 
additional surveys may be necessary depending on the results.

Our Analysis

    Interior does not explain why surveys for the conservation species 
are needed before and after construction and again one year later, or 
the level of effort it anticipates would be required for such surveys.
    Pre- and post-construction surveys of fish and benthic 
invertebrates in the bypassed reach would identify current locations of 
these species in the bypassed reach and their locations following 
initial operations. However, sufficient information already exists to 
document their occurrence in the bypassed reach and to evaluate how 
best to distribute flows to optimize aquatic habitat. Therefore, there 
is no need for this information.

Monitoring Compliance With Impoundment Levels and Minimum Flows

    Lockhart Power proposes to limit impoundment fluctuations to 4 feet 
and to establish a rating curve of minimum flow releases through the 
sand gates and very the rating curves every six years.
    No agency recommended measures to monitor compliance with these 
operations.

Our Analysis

    Developing and implementing an operation compliance monitoring plan 
would provide additional detail about project operations. Such a plan 
would provide the Commission a means to monitor compliance with the 
minimum flow releases and the limits on impoundment fluctuations. To be 
effective, the plan would need to: (1) Define the criteria by which 
compliance with impoundment fluctuations and minimum flows would be 
measured; (2) specify the type and location of all equipment used to 
monitor impoundment levels and minimum flows; and (3) identify the data 
collection intervals and reporting procedures.

Fish Impingement and Entrainment

    Water intake structures at hydropower projects can injure or kill 
fish that are either impinged on intake screens/trash racks, or 
entrained through turbines. Larger aquatic organisms (typically fish 
and larger invertebrates) can be trapped against the intake screens or 
trash racks by the water flowing into a penstock. This process is known 
as impingement, and can cause physical stresses and/or suffocation that 
lead to death of some organisms (EPRI, 2003).
    If fish are able to pass through screens or trash racks (i.e. 
entrained), fish injury or mortality can result from collisions with 
turbine blades, or exposure to pressure changes, sheer forces in 
turbulent flows, and water velocity accelerations created by turbines 
(Knapp et al., 1982). The number of fish entrained and at risk of 
turbine mortality at a hydroelectric project is dependent upon site-
specific factors, including physical characteristics of the project, as 
well as the size, age, and seasonal movement patterns of fish present 
within the impoundment (EPRI, 1992). Fish that are entrained and killed 
are removed from the river population and no longer available for 
recruitment to the fishery.
    The project includes two sets of trash racks: One with 2.25-inch 
bar rack spacing that is located at the intake to the project headrace 
and a second located at the downstream end of the headrace (at the 
entrance to the turbine penstock) that has bar rack spacing of 
approximately 10 inches. Lockhart Power proposes to decrease the 
spacing on the trashrack at the penstock intake from 10 inches to 5 
inches.\43\ Lockhart Power is not proposing any changes to the 2.25-
inch bar spacing on the trashracks at the headrace intake (hereafter, 
headrace trashracks).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \43\ This trash rack is isolated from the project impoundment 
and, thus, its modification would result in little to no effect on 
aquatic fauna.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Interior is concerned with the existing 2.25-inch bar rack spacing 
on the headrace trashracks, and with approach velocities during 
proposed project operation, especially during peaking when the head 
pond is lowered by 4 feet. Interior requests that a 1-inch bar rack 
spacing be installed at the headrace trashrack to minimize fish 
entrainment and mortality at the project.

Our Analysis

    Fisheries surveys conducted by Lockhart Power indicate that the 
project impoundment contains 11 species of fish, including redeye bass 
and flat bullhead, which are Conservation Species of Highest and 
Moderate Priority, respectively (table 5). Overall, two redeye bass and 
11 flat bullhead were captured within the impoundment, which 
represented 2.5 and 13.9 percent of the total number of fish captured, 
respectively. Highback chub was the most common fish captured in the 
impoundment, representing 55.7 percent of the total number of fish 
captured.

Fish Impingement

    Fish can become impinged on the bars of a trash rack if they are 
unable to overcome the approach velocity \44\ and are unable to pass 
between the trashrack bars due to their larger body size. Fish that are 
wider than the trashrack bar spacing and have burst swim speeds \45\ 
lower than approach velocities would be susceptible to impingement. 
Thus, determining the risk of impingement for fish in the project 
impoundment requires an understanding of approach velocities at the 
headrace trashracks, as well as the widths and burst swim speeds of 
fish in the impoundment.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \44\ Approach velocity is the calculated water flow velocity 
component perpendicular to the trashrack face.
    \45\ Burst swimming speed is the maximum swimming speed that can 
only be sustained for a few seconds. It is usually used to escape 
danger (Murray, 1974).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Lockhart Power was not able to provide approach velocities at the 
headrace trashrack because it does not currently own or have access to 
the

[[Page 76933]]

project. However, we estimated approach velocities for the existing 
2.25-inch and Interior's recommended 1-inch clear bar spacing, as 
described below.
    To estimate approach velocities at the project we used existing 
information on the dimensions of the headrace trashracks,\46\ as well 
as certain assumptions regarding the composition of the trashracks.\47\ 
Each unit with the 2.25-inch bar spacing was 67.75 inches (or 5.65 
feet) wide (i.e. two 31.875-inch panels,\48\ plus one 4-inch timber in 
between). Each unit with 1-inch bar spacing was 68 inches (or about 
5.67 feet) wide (i.e. two 32 inch panels,\49\ plus one 4 inch timber in 
between. The larger panel width for the trashracks with 1-inch bar 
spacing was necessary to accommodate 1-inch bar spacing and still 
maintain similar sized units. All trashrack units were 13.4 feet high. 
With all five units combined, the total number of open spaces between 
bars in the 2.25-inch and 1-inch trashracks is 120 and 230, 
respectively (figures 3 and 4).
BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \46\ Drawings in Exhibit F of the license application show that 
the headrace trashracks are composed of five steel units, with 4-
inch timbers in the middle of each unit and 3/8-inch vertical bars 
(figures 3 and 4). The total width of each unit was estimated to be 
about 5.5 feet wide and 13.4 feet high.
    \47\ We assumed the 4-inch timbers represented closed space in 
each unit, and that each unit was composed of two panels. We also 
assumed each bar was 3/8-inch wide.
    \48\ The 31.875-inch-wide panels are composed of 13 vertical 
bars totaling 4.875 inches (3/8-inch bar width x 13 = 4.875), and 12 
open spaces (2.25 inches each) totaling 27 inches (figure 3).
    \49\ The 32-inch-wide panels are composed of 24 vertical bars 
totaling 9 inches (3/8 inch bar width x 24 = 9), and 23 open spaces 
(1 inch each) totaling 23 inches (figure 4).
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TN19DE13.007


[[Page 76934]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TN19DE13.008

BILLING CODE 6717-01-C
    To estimate approach velocity (V0, feet per second [fps]), we used 
the following equation (EPRI, 2000):
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TN19DE13.009

where intake flow is in cfs and cross-sectional area is in square-feet. 
We used intake flows of 120 cfs and 450 cfs, which represent the 
minimum and maximum turbine hydraulic capacities, respectively. Total 
intake cross-sectional area is shown in table 9, and was estimated 
using the information shown in figures 3 and 4.

           Table 9--Calculation of Intake Cross-Sectional Area for the 2.25-Inch and 1-Inch Trashracks
                                                 [Source: Staff]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                  Height of                                        Total intake
     Spacing between bars          Spacing      space between      Open area     Number of open  cross-sectional
           (inches)             between bars      bars  (H;    between two bars  spaces between   area  (A; feet
                                  (W; feet)         feet)        (a; feet \2\)      bars  (n)          \2\)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2.25.........................          0.1875            13.4  W x H = 2.51....             120  a x n = 301.2
1............................      0.08333333            13.4  W x H = 1.12....             230  a x n = 257.6
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Approach velocities did not differ substantially between the 2.25-
inch and 1-inch trashracks, though they are slightly lower with the 
2.25-inch trashrack. At the minimum hydraulic capacity, estimated 
approach velocities are 0.40 and 0.47 fps with 2.25-inch and 1-inch 
trashracks, respectively. At the maximum hydraulic capacity, estimated 
approach velocities are 1.49 and 1.75 fps with the 2.25-inch and 1-inch 
trashracks, respectively.

[[Page 76935]]

    To evaluate the potential for impingement at the existing trashrack 
with 2.25-inch and with 1-inch bar spacings, we focused our analysis on 
redeye bass, flat bullhead, redbreast sunfish and highback chub--which 
represented a combination of both Conservation Species and the most 
common species occurring in the impoundment. The burst swimming speeds 
of these species and the minimum total lengths that are susceptible to 
impingement (based on estimated fish width alone and exclusive of burst 
swim speeds) are shown in tables 10 and 11, respectively.
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TN19DE13.010


  Table 11--Minimum Fish Total Lengths Susceptible to Impingement at 1-Inch and 2.25-Inch Trashracks, Based on Trashrack Bar Spacing and Fish Width-At-
                        Ength Relationship (i.e. Width = [alpha] x Total Length [beta]) Alone and Exclusive of Burst Swim Speeds
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                    Minimum fish total length (inches)
                                                                                                  Maximum total        susceptible to impingement:
               Species                  Surrogate species used        Alpha      Beta  ([beta])      length     ----------------------------------------
                                           in calculation\1\      ([alpha]) \2\        \3\          (inches)      1-inch trash     2.25-inch trash rack
                                                                                                                  rack spacing           spacing
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Redeye bass..........................  Smallmouth bass.........         0.10095          1.0394              17             9.1  none.\4\
Flat bullhead........................  Brown bullhead..........         0.19905          0.9919              11             5.1  none.\4\
Redbreast sunfish....................  Bluegill................          0.1317           0.997               9             7.6  none.\4\
Highback chub........................  Fathead minnow..........         0.00077          2.1795               3        \4\ none  none.\4\
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Length-width equations were not available for species included in our analysis. Surrogate species were fish in the same family and with similar body
  morphometry to the species included in our analysis.
2 3 The alpha and beta parameters for equations are from Lawler, Matucky, and Skelly Engineers (1991).
\4\ The calculated minimum total length susceptible to impingement is greater than the maximum total length of the species; therefore, no length of this
  species is susceptible to impingement at this trackrack spacing.

    Fish are at risk of impingement if their burst swim speed (see 
table 9) is less than the approach velocity at the trashrack, and if 
their size prevents them from passing through the bar spacing on the 
trashrack (see table 10). The results of our analysis show that none of 
the species analyzed would be susceptible to impingement with a 
trashrack having 2.25-inch bar spacing (see figures in appendix A), 
because of their swimming abilities. However, larger flat bullhead 
(i.e. greater than 5.1 inches) would be susceptible to impingement with 
a trashrack having 1-inch bar spacing when intake flows approach the 
maximum turbine capacity of 450 cfs.

[[Page 76936]]

    The risk of impingement would be greater for adult flat bullhead if 
Lockhart Power replaces the existing 2.25-inch bar spacing with 
Interior's recommended 1-inch bar spacing. The reduced porosity of the 
1-inch bar spacing design would also lead to greater accumulation of 
debris compared to the 2.25-inch bar spacing design, which could lead 
to a greater risk of impingement than would occur with a design having 
2.25-inch bar spacing. Routine maintenance of either trashrack would be 
required to ensure approach velocities do not increase. Greater 
maintenance would be required for the 1-inch bar spacing versus the 
2.25-inch bar spacing.

Fish Entrainment and Turbine Mortality

    Entrainment can occur if fish can pass between trashrack bars, and 
do not behaviorally avoid entrainment. Consequently, smaller (i.e. fish 
smaller than those susceptible to impingement [table 10]) redeye bass, 
flat bullhead, redbreast sunfish, and highback chub could each be 
entrained through both trashrack designs. Larger and older fish of each 
species would be protected by both trashrack designs; but, the 1-inch 
bar spacing would be more protective than the 2.25-inch bar spacing.
    Even if fish are small enough to fit through trashrack bar spacing, 
generally they will behaviorally avoid entrainment if their burst swim 
speeds exceed approach velocities at trashracks. Based on our analysis, 
only highback chub and flat bullhead lack the burst swim speeds needed 
to overcome approach velocities and avoid entrainment through trashrack 
designs that have 1-inch and 2.25-inch bar spacing, respectively (see 
figures in appendix A). Small (i.e. 2-inch) highback chub are 
susceptible to entrainment with a trashrack that has 1-inch bar spacing 
when intake flows approach the maximum turbine capacity of 450 cfs. 
However, all sizes of flat bullhead are susceptible to entrainment with 
the existing trashrack that has 2.25-inch bar spacing when intake flows 
approach the maximum turbine capacity. As these results indicate, and 
as other studies have shown, the majority of fish entrained consists of 
small fish (EPRI, 1997). The survival of smaller individuals of both 
species is likely to be relatively high because they are less prone to 
mechanical injury from turbine passage than larger fish. Smaller fish 
are also less prone to injury resulting from shear stresses and rapid 
pressure changes associated with turbine passage. Combined, these 
results indicate that each trashrack design has the potential to 
entrain one species; however, turbine mortality is expected to be 
similarly low for both designs.
    Lockhart Power's desktop fish entrainment and turbine mortality 
analysis considered information from published literature \50\ to 
estimate fish entrainment rates and turbine mortality rates, and to 
characterize the anticipated composition of fish entrained and killed 
at the project. Results of the analysis indicate that on average, about 
48,271 fish could potentially pass through the turbines on an annual 
basis, and of those, 5,412 fish could potentially be killed by the 
turbine. Sunfish had the highest estimated entrainment and turbine 
mortality, which represented 38 percent (18,346) and nearly 36 percent 
(1,941) of all fish entrained and killed, respectively.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \50\ The database is based on specific entrainment studies 
conducted at FERC licensed projects that are similar to the 
Riverdale Project in geographic location, hydraulic capacity, 
operation, fish species, and water quality (Lockhart Power, 2010c).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Lockhart Power's analysis did not include Conservation Species due 
to the absence of data on redeye bass and flat bullhead. However, the 
analysis did include species in the redeye bass genus (i.e. 
Micropterus; black bass) and the flat bullhead family (i.e. 
Ictaluridae; catfish). Annual entrainment estimates for black bass 
represented only 1.6 percent (804) and 3.4 percent (182) of the total 
fish entrained and killed, respectively. Estimates for catfish were 
higher, and represented 22.1 percent (10,645) and 11.0 percent (593) of 
the total fish entrained and killed, respectively.
    Although Lockhart Power's analysis did not provide details on the 
size or age-class of redeye bass or flat bullhead entrained, based on 
other studies, it is likely that most entrained fish would consist of 
smaller fish--primarily young-of-the-year (EPRI, 1997). These younger 
individuals in the population generally have high rates of mortality, 
even in the absence of hydropower operations. Fish populations have 
generally evolved to withstand losses of these smaller and younger 
individuals with little or no impact to long-term population 
sustainability. Thus, any turbine mortality of redeye bass and flat 
bullhead is likely to have minimal effect on their respective 
populations.

3.3.3 Terrestrial Resources

3.3.3.1 Affected Environment Vegetation

    The Riverdale Project is situated at the northern edge of what is 
considered the Piedmont ecoregion. This region is characterized by 
gently rolling hills and stream-cut valleys with elevations that range 
from 375 feet to 1,000 feet msl. Historically, plant communities in the 
region consisted of oak and hickory-dominated forests, with associated 
species varying by slope and soil moisture. The landscape in the 
Piedmont ecoregion has a long history of forest clearing, intensive 
agriculture, and other economic uses that date back to the earliest 
European settlements. Today, the Piedmont landscape is predominantly a 
mosaic of agricultural land and managed pine and mixed pine-hardwood 
woodlands, with hardwood-dominated forests limited primarily to narrow 
floodplains and scattered upland sites.
    The project area and immediate project vicinity include a mix of 
managed areas and natural communities. The rural community of Enoree 
surrounds the project, with its lawns, hedgerows and limited commercial 
development representing the primary managed areas. Extensive 
agricultural lands, including managed hay fields, pastures, row 
croplands and pine plantations, occur in the uplands surrounding the 
community of Enoree and the project. The majority of farmland in the 
Enoree River Basin is dedicated to pasture and hay fields. This cover 
type commonly includes early successional species such as daisy 
fleabane, horse nettle, sunflower, pokeweed, and spiny amaranth.
    Forested uplands in the project vicinity are characterized 
primarily by managed pine plantation and mixed hardwood-pine stands. 
Mature stands tend to consist of a diverse assemblage of hardwoods, 
primarily oaks and hickories, as co-dominants in combination with 
pines. Common pine species of the piedmont include shortleaf and 
loblolly, with the former better adapted to dry, fine textured upland 
soils and loblolly achieving maximum growth on deep soils with good 
moisture and drainage. The understory in pure pine stands is often 
open, but in mixed or older stands, it is dominated by the hardwoods 
characteristic of the site.
    The areas immediately adjacent to the project impoundment and along 
the Enoree River downstream from the dam are characterized by heavily 
vegetated, primarily forested shorelines. Forested shorelines of the 
impoundment and downstream from the dam are typical of hardwood-
dominated streamside forests that characterize the Piedmont. The 
typical canopy species in these forests is a mixture of bottomland and 
mesophytic trees including river birch, sycamore, sweetgum, tulip tree, 
American elm, hackberry, green ash, and red maple. Sites farther 
upslope on

[[Page 76937]]

protected bluffs and ravines are more characteristic of the cove 
forests typical of the region. The canopy and understory on such sites 
is typically composed of hardwoods including beech, tulip tree, black 
gum, sourwood, white oak, northern red oak, black oak, sweetgum, red 
maple, southern sugar maple, basswood, ironwood, flowering dogwood, 
American holly, witch-hazel, and hop-hornbeam. Because this habitat has 
a closed canopy, the likely substory consists of the more shade 
tolerant species including young beech and maples. Poison ivy, Virginia 
creeper, and wood sage are typical of the remaining shrubby stratum. 
Along the riverbank, shade intolerant species such as sumac, tree-of-
heaven, daisy fleabane, and blackberry are likely common.

Wetlands

    Wetlands are common in the Piedmont ecoregion as a whole, although 
they are much less abundant than in the low lying Coastal Plain region. 
Wetlands coverage in the Piedmont is overwhelmingly dominated by 
palustrine forests, otherwise known as floodplain or bottomland 
hardwoods, which are estimated to account for approximately 80 percent 
(i.e. 1 million acres) of wetlands in the region. Bottomland/floodplain 
forests generally occur as narrow corridors along the region's rivers 
and streams due to the prevailing moderate topography. Bottomland/
floodplain forests are also the dominant wetlands type in the immediate 
vicinity of the Riverdale Project. They are characterized by moist 
alluvial soils and are dominated by hardwood species such as sweetgum, 
loblolly pine, water oak, willow oak, laurel oak, cherrybark oak, and 
American holly.
    National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) data for the project area 
indicate a lack of wetlands in the area immediately surrounding the 
impoundment and adjacent to the Enoree River immediately downstream 
from the dam. However, a number of bottomland/floodplain (palustrine 
forested) wetlands are located along the river's floodplain upstream of 
the dam. These are located well upstream of the influence of the 
project impoundment, adjacent to a free flowing reach of the river, and 
thus would not be affected by the project.
    Riparian areas surrounding the project impoundment and the river 
downstream from the dam are relatively narrow due to the moderately 
sloped banks. The well vegetated banks are characterized by abundant 
willows and alders in areas directly abutting and overhanging the 
water, with upslope areas containing a mix of bottomland and mesophytic 
trees typical of the Piedmont including river birch, sycamore, 
sweetgum, tulip tree, American elm, hackberry, green ash, and red 
maple.

Non-Native Invasive Vegetation

    In the Piedmont ecoregion, invasive plant populations are often 
present within the forested communities. Data from the Forest Inventory 
Analysis, collected by the U.S. Forest Service, indicates that almost 
three quarters of sampled plots within the Piedmont ecoregion contain 
at least one exotic (non-native) plant. The South Carolina Exotic Pest 
Plant Council (South Carolina EPPC) identifies the following 
terrestrial exotic invasive plants as severe threats to the 
composition, structure, or function of natural areas in the state of 
South Carolina: tree-of-heaven, chinaberry, princess tree/royal 
paulownia, Chinese tallow, scotch broom, thorny-olive, autumn-olive, 
shrub lespedeza, Japanese privet, Chinese privet, kudzu, English ivy, 
Japanese climbing fern, Japanese honeysuckle, Cherokee rose, Chinese 
wisteria, bigleaf periwinkle, tall fescue, cogongrass, Japanese stilt 
grass, bahia grass, common reed/phragmites, Chinese bush clover, marsh 
dewflower, and tropical soda apple.
    As noted above, tree-of-heaven is among the species that are likely 
common in the riparian area in the vicinity of the project. Tree-of-
heaven is a non-native invasive deciduous tree native to central China 
that has spread throughout the United States in natural, agricultural, 
and developed areas. Tree-of-heaven is a severe ecological threat 
because it is fast-growing, reproduces prolifically from both seeds 
\51\ and vegetatively from suckers and sprouts from cut stumps, and 
releases chemicals into the soil that inhibit growth of other plants. 
In addition, the root system of this species can cause structural 
damage to concrete structures such as sewers and foundations 
(Swearingen and Pannill, 2009).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \51\ While only the female trees produce seeds, a single tree 
can produce 325,000 seeds annually.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Kudzu is a terrestrial non-native invasive species known to occur 
within Spartanburg County at troublesome levels. The county has 
concerns regarding the effect of over 1,000 acres of kudzu infestation 
on beautification efforts in the urban areas of Spartanburg. Kudzu is a 
climbing, semi-woody, perennial vine native to Asia that was introduced 
to the United States for erosion control and is now found throughout 
most of the Southeast. Although kudzu grows best in disturbed areas 
such as forest edges, abandoned fields, and along roads and trails, 
this species thrives in a wide range of conditions. Kudzu is a severe 
ecological threat because it grows rapidly--at a rate of approximately 
one foot daily--and it can envelope and eventually kill other plants by 
shading them out, breaking limbs, and even uprooting trees under the 
weight of its blanket of tangled vines (Bergmann and Swearingen, 2005).
    Aquatic non-native plant species also occur throughout South 
Carolina. South Carolina DNR's Aquatic Nuisance Species Program 
maintains a list of aquatic plant species currently listed as illegal 
to possess, import, or distribute in South Carolina. Examples of 
invasive exotic aquatic plants on this list include alligatorweed, 
common reed/phragmites, Eurasian watermilfoil, hydrilla, and water 
hyacinth (South Carolina DNR, 2010). Where these plants occur, they can 
obstruct navigable waterways, restrict water flow, degrade water 
quality, interfere with recreation, and alter fish populations. South 
Carolina DNR has identified water bodies throughout the state, 
including two within Spartanburg or Laurens counties, as `problem 
areas,' or areas where aquatic plants interfere with water uses. These 
areas and associated aquatic plants include hydrilla, slender naiad, 
and water primrose at Lake Greenwood; and water primrose and hydrilla 
at Lake Edwin Johnson (South Carolina DNR, 2012), both of which are 
located within about 30 miles from the project area.
    The extensive beds of aquatic vegetation observed in the project 
impoundment are a mixture of a native smartweed species and 
alligatorweed, an invasive non-native species. Alligatorweed, an 
emergent perennial plant, is native to South America (USDA, 2013) and 
it is listed as a noxious weed in South Carolina. This species can grow 
in upland sites, but it prefers saturated soils along shorelines of 
lakes, ponds, streams, ditches, and wetlands. It spreads vegetatively 
from fragments and by seeds that can be dispersed by water, wildlife, 
and people. Alligatorweed forms dense mats that grow into open water 
habitats, shading out native plant species and reducing DO in the water 
under the mat which, in turn, decreases the quality of the habitat for 
fish and wildlife. Mats of alligatorweed can also inhibit navigation 
and recreational use (Madsen).

Wildlife

    Wildlife habitats within the Lockhart Power's proposed 25.9-acre 
project area

[[Page 76938]]

are typical of the Piedmont region of South Carolina. Of the 25.9 
acres, there are 11.3 acres of terrestrial habitat. The shoreline area 
is predominately undeveloped riparian and upland forests. Mixed 
hardwood forest is the dominant terrestrial habitat type along the edge 
of the project boundary. This habitat type is characterized by a high 
degree of structure, including both vertical complexity (height class 
diversity of vegetation) and microhabitat features such as snags, dead-
and-down wood, and forest floors consisting of leaves and woody debris. 
The mixed hardwood forest cover type typically contains a high density 
of small mammals. This may be attributable to the fact that these areas 
produce substantial amounts of mast (seeds and nuts) that provide 
valuable forage habitat for a variety of wildlife species. Other 
wildlife species potentially using these areas include white-tailed 
deer, raccoon, fox, wild turkey, grouse, blue jay, ovenbird, red-
bellied woodpecker, hairy woodpecker, eastern king snake, black racer, 
black rat snake, copperhead, and timber rattlesnake.
    The aquatic and semi-aquatic habitats of the 6.6-acre project 
headpond and upstream and downstream river reaches also provide 
wildlife habitat in the project area. Wildlife species that potentially 
use open water and semi-aquatic areas of the impoundments and the lower 
tailrace and bypassed reach include beaver, muskrat, otter, mink, 
belted kingfisher, wood duck, great blue heron, green heron, great 
egret, redbellied water snake, bullfrog, leopard frog, yellowbelly 
slider turtle, and common snapping turtle. Species typical of river 
margins include raccoon, woodcock, red-winged blackbird, various 
thrushes, green treefrog and American toad.

Special Status Terrestrial Species

    There is one terrestrial species documented as occurring in Laurens 
County that is a candidate for federal listing under the ESA. Georgia 
aster (Symphyotrichum georgianum) is a perennial herbaceous plant that 
forms clonal clumps and can spread through modified stems called 
rhizomes (NatureServe, 2013a). Adequate sunlight appears to be one of 
the most important factors in the success of this species. Historically 
this species was found in post oak savanna and prairie communities in 
the Southeast. This habitat type has dwindled since wildfires have been 
suppressed and large native grazers are no longer present to maintain 
it. While there are small isolated populations surviving in areas of 
Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina that are 
maintained in an open, early successional stage such as roadway, 
railroad, and transmission line rights-of-way (ROW), the species is 
still threatened by residential development, highway expansion/
improvement projects, encroachment of non-native invasive plants, deer 
browsing, herbicide use, and by woody succession due to wildfire 
suppression that historically maintained its open grassland habitat 
(FWS, 2012).\52\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \52\ 77 FR 69,994, 70,047 (Nov. 21, 2012).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

3.3.3.2 Environmental Effects

    Currently the project is inoperable and all available flows pass 
through the impoundment, over the Riverdale dam, and into the shoals 
and braided channels within the bypassed reach. The plants and wildlife 
in the riparian corridor along the impoundment and downstream from the 
dam have adapted to the natural variation in stream flows.

Effects of Project Refurbishment and Vegetation Maintenance

    Refurbishing the project facilities, developing the canoe portage 
facilities, and maintaining these areas would require clearing or 
trimming of some vegetation. Heavy equipment and activities associated 
with the replacement of the 193-foot-long above ground section of the 
penstock and repairs to the powerhouse, dam, and other project 
facilities would disturb wildlife near the construction areas. 
Disturbance to plants and wildlife would also occur during periodic 
vegetation maintenance, including mowing and/or trimming, around the 
perimeter of the existing powerhouse and along the transmission line 
ROW which follows the access road, as well as the area within the 
proposed portage trail, canoe take-out and put-in, and parking area for 
recreation.
    In order to preserve the vegetative communities within the project 
boundary, Lockhart Power proposes to consult with state and federal 
resource agencies on the implementation of BMPs during project 
refurbishment and maintenance activities. Lockhart Power would minimize 
effects to terrestrial resources by limiting ground-disturbing 
activities and disturbance of riparian vegetation whenever possible on 
lands acquired for project purposes.
    South Carolina DNR supports the applicant's proposal to consult 
with state and federal agencies on the implementation of BMPs during 
all construction and maintenance activities to preserve the vegetative 
communities within the project boundary. FWS recommends that the 
applicant avoid and minimize any adverse impacts to fish, wildlife, 
shoreline vegetation, and other natural resources while conducting 
construction and maintenance activities.

Our Analysis

    The majority of disturbances to vegetation and wildlife related to 
Lockhart Power's project refurbishment activities and installation of 
the proposed recreation area would be temporary, minor, and confined to 
approximately 2 acres of previously disturbed habitats within the 
footprint of the former textile mill and associated parking lots and 
roadways. The noise and movement of equipment and materials associated 
with replacing the 193-foot-long portion of the penstock could disturb 
wildlife, especially small species with confined home ranges or limited 
mobility. However, this portion of the penstock is above ground so the 
disturbances would be temporary and would not change the character of 
the surrounding habitat. Most wildlife would likely leave the immediate 
project area and return when construction and repairs are complete.
    Periodic mowing along the existing paved access road and trimming 
of tree limbs and underbrush along the proposed canoe portage trail are 
necessary to maintain access to the proposed project facilities. Given 
that the existing project transmission line is adjacent to the access 
road, periodic mowing would be limited and would not affect any unique 
terrestrial habitat or change the character of the vegetation within 
the ROW corridor. The proposed canoe portage is within an existing 
(non-project) transmission line ROW. Consequently, trimming trees and 
underbrush to maintain recreation access would cause little incremental 
disturbance to plants or wildlife.
    Implementing BMPs during project refurbishment, recreation area 
installation, and periodic vegetation maintenance activities would 
minimize potential disturbances to vegetation and wildlife. BMPs to 
preserve terrestrial habitats could include, but not be limited to, 
minimizing disturbances to existing vegetation, maintaining a riparian 
buffer on project shorelines, and cleaning construction and maintenance 
equipment before and after use to prevent the transport of seeds and 
fragments of invasive non-native vegetation to new (uninfested) areas.

Effects of Invasive Non-Native Plants

    Alligatorweed is a prolific non-native plant and a South Carolina 
noxious weed that has become established in the

[[Page 76939]]

project impoundment. Alligatorweed competes with native riparian and 
aquatic species, reducing the quality of fish and wildlife habitat 
where it becomes established. Large mats of alligatorweed can impede 
boating and access to the shore. These mats could become fragmented and 
spread during in-water construction activities, such as during the 
canoe take-out and mechanical removal of sediment from the impoundment. 
Fluctuations in the impoundment levels and periodic sediment management 
activities may also create conditions facilitating its spread.
    Lockhart Power does not propose any specific measures to control 
existing mats of alligatorweed and does not anticipate that project 
refurbishment would affect the distribution of this species within the 
project boundary (Lockhart Power, 2011b).
    Lockhart Power also states that alligatorweed was not observed 
growing on the southern shore of the impoundment at the proposed canoe 
take-out (Lockhart Power, 2012). Similarly, Lockhart Power does not 
propose any specific measures to control alligatorweed in the 
impoundment during operation, mainly because it does not anticipate 
that this species would interfere with project operations. Rather, 
Lockhart Power states that proposed project operation could aid in 
controlling this species through periodic dewatering (i.e. drawdowns) 
and potential exposure to freezing temperatures during the winter 
months.
    No one recommended measures to control alligatorweed.

Our Analysis

    Extensive mats of alligatorweed have become established in the 
project impoundment. Although alligatorweed was not present in areas 
that would be disturbed during project refurbishment or at the canoe 
put-in and take-outs in 2010 when Lockhart Power examined the 
impoundment, it may have spread into these areas. Construction 
activities could facilitate their spread in the impoundment and 
downstream from the project. A survey of the impoundment prior to 
beginning construction repairs and developing the canoe portages would 
determine if specific BMPs should be taken to prevent its spread. Any 
such BMPs could be developed in consultation with FWS and South 
Carolina DNR based on the survey results.
    Once operational, flow fluctuations from peaking operations may 
help control the spread of alligatorweed as Lockhart Power suggests. 
However, daily impoundment fluctuations of 1 to 4 feet can also stress 
existing riparian communities, causing some of the existing riparian 
vegetation to die and exposing shorelines to erosion and colonization 
of non-native invasive plants. Periodic monitoring of invasive species 
in the impoundment would facilitate early detection of new invasive 
plant introductions, as well as the spread of invasive species, 
including the existing mats of alligatorweed. Monitoring would also 
allow Lockhart Power, the resource agencies, and the Commission to 
determine when, and if, correction measures may be needed to protect 
native plant communities and the wildlife that depend on them.
    To be effective, the monitoring program should define the 
monitoring schedule, include a means to document changes in invasive 
species composition and distribution between monitoring events, and 
include criteria that would determine when corrective actions may be 
required.

Avian Electrocution Hazards

    Birds in the project area may have become accustomed to using the 
transmission lines and poles for perching or nesting. Transmission 
lines can represent an electrocution hazard to roosting and perching 
birds if the spacing between the conductors and ground wires is 
narrower than the bird's wingspan, or when they use poles for nesting.
    Lockhart Power proposes to use the existing transmission line which 
extends from the powerhouse along the project access road to an 
existing Duke Energy distribution line to deliver power to the grid. 
However, the current condition of the project transmission line is 
unknown. Lockhart Power also did not provide any description of the 
design of the transmission lines to determine if the line could 
represent an electrocution hazard.
    Lockhart Power did not propose and no one recommended any measures 
to address these potential hazards.

Our Analysis

    APLIC, a consortium of utilities, and FWS developed guidelines for 
design of electrical lines to minimize potential for electrocutions 
(APLIC, 2006). The APLIC guidelines define applicable separation 
distances for energized conductors and groundwires. The guidelines also 
describe measures to deter perching and/or nesting depending on 
transmission line pole designs.
    As part of project refurbishment, Lockhart Power would need to 
determine the condition of the existing line as well as any repairs 
that may be necessary to transmit power. While conducting this initial 
inspection of the transmission line, Lockhart Power could concurrently 
evaluate whether the transmission line was built in accordance with the 
APLIC guidelines and look for evidence of bird nesting on the poles. 
Depending on the design, corrective measures may be needed to minimize 
electrocution hazards, which could include monitoring or the 
installation of insulation, line marking devices, and structures to 
discourage perching and/or nesting (i.e. for poles where other 
protection measures cannot be used). However the extent or need for 
such measures cannot be determined until the evaluation is complete.

Effects of Flow Fluctuations on Plants and Wildlife

    Lockhart Power's proposal to resume hydroelectric operations with 1 
to 4-foot fluctuations in the impoundment would affect some of the 
terrestrial, riparian, and littoral habitats. Impoundment fluctuations 
can affect the distribution, species composition, and productivity of 
riparian and littoral habitat. In general, hydroelectric impoundments 
with extreme long or short-term fluctuation in water surface elevations 
exhibit reduced plant species diversity, reduced plant productivity, 
and a proliferation of exotic species (Stanford et al., 1996), and 
provide less value for wildlife, especially for breeding waterfowl and 
hibernating reptiles and amphibians (Nilsson and Berggren, 2000).
    To address the potential effects of project operation and 
maintenance on terrestrial resources, Lockhart Power proposes to 
maintain a 25-foot-wide forested riparian buffer around the project 
impoundment, as well as the tailrace and bypassed reach downstream from 
the dam, as long as this does not interfere with Lockhart Power's 
ability to perform project-related activities. In order to preserve 
natural conditions, Lockhart Power would also minimize ground-
disturbing activities and disturbance of riparian vegetation whenever 
possible on acquired lands. Lockhart Power would consult with the South 
Carolina DNR in the event that it needed to make exceptions to these 
environmental protection measures.
    South Carolina DNR and Interior support Lockhart Power's proposal 
to establish and maintain a 25-foot riparian buffer on all shorelines 
within the project boundary and to avoid and/or minimize disturbances 
and adverse impacts to soils, vegetation, wildlife, and other natural 
resources. Interior also recommended measures to address

[[Page 76940]]

existing and potential project-induced erosion on project shorelines, 
as discussed in section 3.3.1, Geologic and Soil Resources.

Our Analysis

    Lockhart Power states that its proposed project operation would 
only affect those areas within the natural banks of the Enoree River, 
and, thus, would have no effect on terrestrial resources (Lockhart 
Power, 2011b). However the 2-foot-tall flashboards were washed out 
during a storm event in late 2009. The flashboards were subsequently 
replaced, but were damaged again in 2012 and 2013 by floodwaters, 
floating logs, and tree stumps (FERC, 2013). Therefore the existing 
full pool condition is two feet lower than Lockhart Power's proposed 
full pool condition and vegetation has had over 3 years to colonize the 
exposed shoreline. The results of Lockhart Power's Headpond Fluctuation 
Study conducted in 2010, indicate that the width of the littoral zone 
and the associated riparian vegetation along the impoundment has 
increased since the flashboards were washed out. Once Lockhart Power 
reinstalls/repairs the flashboards and resumes project operation, a 
portion of the riparian zone would be inundated again potentially 
submerging existing vegetation. Riparian plant communities are made up 
of species adapted to varying degrees of water level fluctuations. 
Water level fluctuations associated with project operation could lead 
to changes in species composition and distribution in the riparian 
zone.
    Lockhart Power's proposal to minimize ground-disturbing activities 
and disturbance of riparian vegetation whenever possible on acquired 
lands would ensure that effects to terrestrial resources during project 
operations and maintenance would be minor and temporary. Maintaining a 
25-foot-wide forested buffer around the impoundment, the tailrace, and 
bypassed reach downstream from the dam would minimize the effects of 
flow fluctuations during project operation by minimizing soil erosion, 
filtering pollutants and slowing runoff from impermeable surfaces in 
the project area. The buffer would also preserve a movement corridor 
for wildlife. Lockhart Power's proposal to consult with South Carolina 
DNR regarding any exceptions on its proposed terrestrial resource 
protection measures would provide a mechanism to address future 
unforeseen actions that could adversely affect riparian vegetation and 
the wildlife it supports. Limiting disturbances to soils and 
vegetation, maintaining a 25-foot riparian buffer, and using the 
shoreline stabilization methods described in section 3.3.1, Geologic 
and Soil Resources, would further reduce the potential for invasive 
plant establishment and protect native plants and wildlife.

Effects of Project Repairs, Construction, Operation, and Maintenance on 
Special Status Terrestrial Species

    Georgia aster is not known to occur within the project boundary and 
there is limited potential habitat for this species in the project 
area. No measures were proposed or recommended to protect this species.

Our Analysis

    Because the majority of the project area is dominated by mature 
riparian hardwood forest and Lockhart Power proposes to minimize 
disturbances to existing vegetation wherever possible, it is unlikely 
that Georgia aster would become established in the project area. 
Therefore the proposed project repairs, operation, and maintenance are 
not expected to affect Georgia aster.

3.3.4 Threatened and Endangered Species

3.3.4.1 Affected Environment

    Three federally listed terrestrial species and one aquatic species 
are known to or potentially occur in Spartanburg or Laurens Counties, 
South Carolina and could potentially occur within the project area.

Aquatic Species

    FWS lists the federally endangered Carolina heelsplitter mussel 
(Lasmigona decorate) as potentially occurring in Laurens County. 
Endemic to South Carolina and North Carolina, the historic range of 
this species is not known, although current data suggest it was 
relatively widespread in the Pee Dee and Catawba river systems in North 
Carolina and the Pee Dee, Savannah and Saluda systems in South 
Carolina. Current distribution in South Carolina is limited to 
generally small populations in the Lynches River (Pee Dee River 
system), tributaries to the Savannah River, a tributary to the Saluda 
River, and one location in the Catawba River Basin. Carolina 
heelsplitter is usually found on mud, muddy sand, or muddy gravel 
substrates in cool, slow-moving, small to medium-sized streams or 
rivers along well-shaded streambanks. Stable streambanks and channels, 
with pool, riffle and run sequences, little or no fine sediment, and 
periodic natural flooding, appear to be required for the Carolina 
heelsplitter. The stability of the stream banks appears to be a very 
important factor in the habitat.
    South Carolina DNR spatial distribution data for threatened and 
endangered species indicate no known occurrences of Carolina 
heelsplitter in Laurens or Spartanburg Counties. Further, freshwater 
gastropods surveys conducted in the project area in support of 
relicensing found no live, dead, or shell fragments of Carolina 
heelsplitter; this species was one of the primary target species of the 
survey effort.

Terrestrial Species

    One federally listed plant species, the dwarf-flowered heartleaf 
(Hexastylis naniflora), is known to occur in Spartanburg County. Dwarf-
flowered heartleaf is a terrestrial plant species that typically occurs 
on bluffs and in ravines in deciduous forests with acidic sandy loam 
soils, often in association with mountain laurel. A search of the South 
Carolina Heritage Trust Geographic Database of Rare and Endangered 
Species revealed no occurrences of dwarf-flowered heartleaf in the 
Enoree Quad, where the project would be located. Further, field surveys 
of sites containing the Pacolet, Madison, or Musella soil types 
required by this species, conducted in support of licensing as part of 
the Rare, Threatened and Endangered Species Assessment, found no 
occurrences of the species within the project area.
    The red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis) is listed as 
endangered at both the state and federal level and is known to occur in 
Laurens County. The red-cockaded woodpecker is endemic to open, mature, 
and old growth pine ecosystems in the southeastern United States. Over 
97 percent of the pre-colonial era red-cockaded woodpecker population 
has been eradicated, leaving only roughly 14,000 red-cockaded 
woodpeckers living in about 5,600 colonies scattered across eleven 
states, including South Carolina. Red-cockaded woodpecker decline is 
generally attributed to a loss of suitable nesting and foraging 
habitats, including longleaf pine systems, due to logging, agriculture, 
fire suppression, and other factors. Suitable nesting habitat generally 
consists of open pine forests and savannahs with large, older pines and 
minimal hardwood midstory or overstory. Living trees, especially older 
trees that are susceptible to red-heart disease making them more easily 
excavated, provide red-cockaded woodpecker's preferred nesting 
cavities. Suitable foraging habitat consists of open-canopy, mature 
pine forests with low densities of small pines, little midstory 
vegetation, limited hardwood

[[Page 76941]]

overstory, and abundant bunchgrass and forb groundcover.
    The expansive old-growth pine forests required by this species do 
not occur in the areas surrounding the project. Further, South Carolina 
DNR spatial distribution data indicate no documented occurrences of 
red-cockaded woodpecker in Laurens and Spartanburg Counties, suggesting 
that the ``known'' status listed by FWS for Laurens County may 
potentially be related to historical records of this species. 
Terrestrial areas within the project area were examined for presence of 
the mature longleaf pine forest required by red-cockaded woodpeckers as 
part of the Rare, Threatened and Endangered Species Assessment. No such 
habitat was documented.

3.3.4.2 Environmental Effects

Our Analysis

    No federally listed species are known to occur within the project 
area. Suitable habitat for the red-cockaded woodpecker does not occur 
in the area. Therefore, refurbishment, operation, and maintenance of 
the proposed project would have no effect on the endangered Carolina 
heelsplitter mussel, the threatened dwarf-flowered heartleaf, or the 
endangered red-cockaded woodpecker.

3.3.5 Recreation and Land Use

3.3.5.1 Affected Environment

Recreation

Statewide Recreation Plan

    The 2008 South Carolina State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan 
(SCORP) guides recreation planning and development in the state. The 
plan has no specific recommendations for the project area; however, it 
does identify major goals for recreation within the state. These goals 
include: Providing a balanced and comprehensive system of public and 
private recreation opportunities; conserving and interpreting 
significant historic, cultural, and natural areas; and encouraging 
cooperation between various agencies, levels of government, private 
enterprise, and volunteers to meet the state's recreation needs. The 
SCORP also identifies issues associated with recreation supply and 
demand in the state. The plan indicates there is a demand for 
additional trail development for walking, boating, and equestrian use; 
additional education and outreach relating to outdoor recreation 
opportunities; and development of, or improvements to, recreation 
access for various user groups including the elderly and disabled 
(South Carolina DPRT, 2008).

Regional Recreation Resources

    Spartanburg and Laurens counties are regionally-important 
destinations for outdoor recreation activities such as fishing, hiking 
and sightseeing. The region is home to several state parks, recreation 
areas and historic sites. Recreation lands account for over 28,000 
acres in the region and provide opportunities for hiking, camping, 
fishing, motorized- and non-motorized boating, horseback riding, 
picnicking, and wildlife viewing.
    The South Carolina Rivers Assessment (1988) identifies several 
high-value recreation areas on the Enoree River. A four-mile reach of 
the Enoree, upstream of the project, from State Route 14 in Pelham to 
State Route 296 is identified as regionally significant for whitewater 
boating, which American Whitewater (2009) identifies as having Class II 
and III rapids under normal flow conditions. Downstream from the 
project, from RM 42 to the confluence with the Broad River, the Enoree 
River is designated as both a regionally-significant flatwater boating 
river and as a back-country boating river of statewide significance. 
The entire Enoree River from its headwaters to the confluence with the 
Broad River is categorized as a recreational fishing river of regional 
or local significance (South Carolina WRC and NPS, 1988).
    Formal recreational boating opportunities are provided on the 
Enoree River Canoe Trail, which begins approximately 16 miles 
downstream from the project, at the western border of the Sumter 
National Forest's Enoree Ranger district (RM 36). The trail continues 
through the National Forest to the Enoree River's confluence with the 
Broad River. Six hand-carry boat ramps provide access to the canoe 
trail for non-motorized boaters. The canoe trail is characterized by 
steep hardwood bluffs, bottomland forests, and small marshy areas. In 
the early spring, high flows make the river unsafe for flatwater 
recreational boating. In the late spring and fall, fast-moving 
flatwater conditions are best for experienced paddlers. Summer flows, 
particularly during drought conditions, are generally too low for 
recreational boating (U.S. Forest Service, 2010). The South Carolina 
Trails Plan (2002) identifies 45 miles of Enoree River in Spartanburg 
County and 5 miles of the river in Union County for future development 
as a canoe trail.

Recreation in the Project Vicinity

    In the vicinity of the project, boating on the Enoree River is 
limited by a lack of developed boating access and boat ramps. The 
shallow nature of some sections of the river, which typically ranges in 
depth from 2 to 6 feet, limits boating access to canoes and flat-
bottomed boats of less than 14 feet in length (U.S. Forest Service, 
2010). Non-motorized boaters typically access the river at informal 
locations like bridge crossings or dams. There are no formal portage 
facilities on the stretch of river near the proposed project, and small 
dams, such as the Riverdale dam, impede navigation.
    Angling activities near the proposed project occur primarily from 
shore and are concentrated in tributaries and below the Pelham and 
Riverdale dams. Largemouth bass, crappie, channel catfish, yellow 
perch, bluegill, gizzard shad, redear sunfish, and redbreast sunfish 
are the primary game fish expected in the Enoree River (see section 
3.3.2, Aquatic Resources). There is no fish consumption advisory for 
the Enoree River in the vicinity of the project.

Recreation at the Proposed Project

    There are no formal recreation facilities located at the project. 
Under Inman Mill's license, the project was exempt from filing the 
Licensed Hydropower Development Recreation Report (FERC Form 80) 
because of the lack of recreation facilities and potential for 
recreation use.\53\ However, members of the public periodically use the 
impoundment for fishing, as evidenced by the presence of discarded bait 
containers, fishing line, and other debris.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \53\ See FERC issuance of March 16, 1998 for the Riverdale 
Project No. 4362.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Land Use

    The project is located on the Enoree River, which comprises the 
border between Laurens and Spartanburg counties, South Carolina. The 
project is located within the Enoree River subwatershed, which extends 
from the confluence of Beaverdam Creek, immediately upstream of the 
project impoundment at RM 52, to Duncan Creek south of the town of 
Whitmire at RM 20. Lands in the subwatershed are typically undeveloped, 
with forest lands comprising 61.6 percent of the watershed and 
agricultural lands comprising an additional 26.7 percent. Major 
agricultural uses include hay pastures and crops such as peaches, 
soybeans, and grain corn. Other land uses within the watershed are 
urban/

[[Page 76942]]

developed lands (5.8 percent), wetlands (4.5 percent), and barren lands 
(1.8 percent).
    The most intensive land uses in the project vicinity occur in the 
town of Enoree, located north of the project in Spartanburg County, and 
the town of Lanford, to the south of the project in Laurens County. 
These areas are characterized primarily by residential, commercial, and 
industrial development. Both counties regulate private land development 
through planning and zoning measures.
    The project boundary encloses approximately 25.9 acres, of which 
11.3 acres are land. The remainder is occupied by the waters of the 
impoundment, bypassed reach, and tailrace. Aerial photos indicate that 
within the project boundary, the predominant land cover is forest. The 
bypassed reach of the Enoree River is characterized by bedrock, granite 
dome, and cobble overlaid with sand bars, which create a series of 
riffles and pools. Limited industrial use, including the project's 
powerhouse and disturbed areas formerly occupied by Inman Mills, is 
also present along the northern shoreline of the project. For more 
information about ground cover and wildlife habitat within the project 
boundary, see sections 3.3.1, Geologic and Soil Resources and 3.3.3, 
Terrestrial Resources.
    There are no lands in the immediate vicinity of the project that 
are included in the national trails system or designated as wilderness 
lands. No portion of the Enoree River is included on the list of wild 
and scenic rivers; however, the reach of the Enoree River from RM 0 to 
RM 98 is listed on the Nationwide Rivers Inventory (NRI) for its 
outstanding values in scenery, recreation, geology, fish, wildlife, 
history, and cultural significance. The NRI, which was created in 1982 
and amended in 1993, identifies river segments in the United States 
that are believed to possess one or more ``outstandingly remarkable'' 
natural or cultural values judged to be of more than local or regional 
significance (NPS, 2011).

3.3.5.2 Environmental Effects

Recreation Enhancements and Public Access

    Lockhart Power proposes to construct and maintain a 1,650 foot-long 
portage trail around the dam, a parking area adjacent to the portage 
trail, a canoe take-out located approximately 220 feet upstream of the 
dam, and a canoe put-in located approximately 1,075 feet downstream 
from the dam. Signage would be posted at both the canoe take-out and 
put-in denoting their purpose. Directional signage would be used along 
the portage trail to indicate the locations of the take-out and put-in. 
Lockhart Power also proposes to provide informal public access for 
fishing at the project, including at the impoundment, tailrace, and 
bypass reach.
    All proposed recreation facilities would be located within the 
project boundary. The proposed portage trail and parking area would be 
located entirely on lands owned by the Woodruff Roebuck Water District. 
The trail would follow two separate transmission line ROW, owned and 
maintained by Duke Energy, that cross the Water District's property. 
Lockhart Power has proposed to operate and maintain the recreation 
facilities through an agreement with the Water District. FWS, South 
Carolina DNR, and American Rivers concur with the proposed recreation 
measures.

Our Analysis

    Lockhart Power's proposed recreation enhancement measures, 
including the canoe take-out, put-in, and portage trail would address 
the need for canoe trail development in the region, as identified by 
the South Carolina State Trails Plan (2002) and South Carolina SCORP 
(2008). The addition of a formal portage trail along with signs 
identifying the canoe take-out and put-in would improve access to the 
outdoors and enhance the quality of the recreation experience on the 
Enoree River. Signage and parking would improve accessibility and 
provide information about recreation opportunities at the site.
    Increased recreation use induced by the proposed recreation 
features may negatively affect wildlife and aquatic habitat at the 
project. However, by formalizing recreation access, Lockhart Power 
would have more opportunities to manage the effects of recreation on 
sensitive areas. For example, although the portage trail may bring 
additional recreation use to the area, it would also protect 
terrestrial resources from the effects of informal portaging that may 
already be occurring. The shoals in the bypassed reach, a unique 
habitat on the Enoree River, would be protected by guiding users to a 
developed put-in, rather than dispersing access along the reach. The 
spread of non-native invasive terrestrial plant species, such as 
Japanese stilt grass, would be minimized by restricting foot traffic to 
the maintained transmission line ROW.
    Lockhart Power expects that the public would continue informal use 
of the impoundment and areas downstream from the dam for fishing or 
sightseeing. Signage indicating standard safety measures, as required 
as part of any Commission-issued license, would ensure that public 
access would not compromise project operations, safety, or security. 
Additional signage referring to ``pack-it-in, pack-it-out'' garbage 
disposal at the parking area, as well as the canoe take-out and put-in, 
could limit negative effects of public use on the surrounding 
environment. The Licensed Hydropower Development Recreation Report 
(Form 80--filed every 6 years) would allow Lockhart Power to assess 
recreation use at the project and determine if additional measures 
would be needed to address future recreation use.

Effects of Project Operation and Flows on Recreation

    Project operation has the potential to affect recreational boating 
at the project. Lockhart Power proposes to operate the project in ROR 
mode with daily peaking, as well as maintain continuous minimum flows 
of 50 cfs in the bypassed reach during project operations. See section 
2.2.1, Proposed Project Operation, for a more detailed description of 
Lockhart Power's proposal. Interior and South Carolina DNR recommend 
Lockhart Power provide minimum flows to the bypassed reach that are 
consistent with the Water Plan. American Rivers recommends seasonally-
adjusted, continuous instream flows for the bypassed reach. The minimum 
flows recommended by Interior, South Carolina DNR, and American Rivers 
are higher than those recommended by Lockhart Power.

Our Analysis

    The proposed canoe put-in, which would be located downstream from 
the dam on the shore of the bypassed reach, may be unusable under low-
flow conditions. In situations where the canoe launch is unusable, 
boaters would be required to portage to an area farther downstream past 
the confluence of the Enoree River and the project tailrace. Informal 
portaging could affect wildlife habitat or increase the spread of 
invasive plant species.
    Higher minimum flows in the bypassed reach, as recommended by 
Interior, South Carolina DNR, and American Rivers would provide greater 
latitude for boat launching in the bypassed reach. However, the effect 
of diverting flows from the bypassed reach is unlikely to be 
significant because during summer months or in drought conditions, much 
of the Enoree River is too shallow for recreational boating, 
independent of project operations.

[[Page 76943]]

Spring and fall are the primary boating seasons on the Enoree, and 
during those periods flows through the project would be sufficient for 
use of the proposed portage trail and canoe put-in.
    Flow fluctuations associated with peaking also have the potential 
to affect recreational flows downstream from the project in the Enoree 
River. As discussed in section 3.3.2, Aquatic Resources, peaking 
operations would ultimately alter the existing natural flow regime to 
one of increased daily fluctuation downstream from the tailrace and in 
the bypassed reach. Lower flow through the project when the project's 
impoundment recharges would negatively affect recreation downstream 
from the project by increasing the likelihood that boaters would need 
to portage shallow areas of the river. However, pulses of higher flows 
when peaking operation begins may provide recreational benefits by 
providing additional boating depth downstream from the project. Because 
Lockhart Power anticipates operating in ROR mode for much of the time, 
the effects of peaking operations are expected to be minimal.
    Drawdowns of the project impoundment associated with peaking 
operations, may also affect use and maintenance of the proposed canoe 
take-out and recreational boating upstream of the dam. However, 
standard canoe launch designs can accommodate a wide range of river 
levels, with proper siting and maintenance. Lockhart Power's proposed 
canoe take-out would be a positive amenity on a section of the river 
that currently is undeveloped for recreation. Additionally, conditions 
for recreational boating immediately upstream of the project may 
improve with repair to the project's flashboards and maintenance of the 
project impoundment.

Land Use

    Lockhart Power proposes to restore the project to operating status 
and construct recreation enhancements within the project boundary. In 
addition, Lockhart Power proposes to maintain all lands within 25 feet 
of the project shorelines as a forested riparian buffer, unless those 
lands are required for other project purposes. Lockhart Power also 
proposes to negotiate with the Water District regarding maintenance of 
forested riparian buffers on any lands that the applicant cannot obtain 
through purchase. FWS and South Carolina DNR concur with the proposed 
land management measures to stabilize erosion of project shorelines, 
reduce runoff into the Enoree River, and provide wildlife habitat.

Our Analysis

    Refurbishing, operating, and maintaining the proposed project would 
have no effect on land use within the project boundary. The addition of 
a portage trail would add additional recreation lands to the project 
boundary; however, that use would be consistent with existing land use. 
Additionally, the portage trail would follow two existing transmission 
line ROW, limiting ground disturbance and reducing the potential for 
effects on terrestrial habitat within the project boundary.
    The applicant's proposal to maintain a 25-foot forested buffer 
along project shorelines would be consistent with the recommendations 
by FWS and South Carolina DNR to protect shoreline and riparian 
habitats. Additional analysis of measures to reduce erosion, prevent 
runoff, and protect wildlife habitat are discussed in sections 3.3.1., 
Geologic and Soil Resources, and 3.3.3., Terrestrial Resources.
    The Enoree River's designation on the NRI would not be affected by 
the proposed project. The reach of the Enoree River from RM 0 to RM 98 
was listed on the NRI in 1982, when the project was operational. 
Returning the project to operating status would be unlikely to 
significantly affect or alter the character of the river. Further, the 
addition of a portage trail would improve recreation access to a reach 
of the Enoree River that has been identified for its outstanding 
recreation value.

3.3.6 Cultural Resources

3.3.6.1 Affected Environment

Area of Potential Effects

    Section 106 of the NHPA of 1966, as amended, requires that the 
Commission evaluate the potential effects of continued operation of the 
project on properties listed or eligible for listing on the National 
Register. Such properties listed, or eligible for listing, in the 
National Register are called historic properties. In this case, the 
Commission must take into account whether any historic property could 
be affected within the project's area of potential effects (APE). The 
APE is defined as the geographic area or areas within which an 
undertaking may directly or indirectly cause alterations in the 
character or use of historic properties, if any such properties exist. 
We define the APE for the proposed Riverdale Project as: (1) Lands 
enclosed by the proposed project boundary; and (2) lands or properties 
adjoining the proposed project boundary, where the authorized project 
uses may cause changes in the character or use of historic properties, 
if historic properties exist.

Cultural History Overview

    The archaeological record dates Native American presence in central 
South Carolina to at least the late Paleo-Indian period (11,000 B.C.-
8,000 B.C.). The earliest Native Americans in the area used the region 
to forage and hunt on a seasonal basis. Over the Archaic (8,000 B.C.-
1,000 B.C.) and Woodland (1,000 B.C.-1000 A.D.) periods, Native 
populations grew larger and more sedentary. These populations developed 
trade networks and became more dependent on agriculture for subsistence 
(FERC, 2010). Prior to European settlement, the primary Native American 
groups in the region were the Catawba and Cherokee. The Cherokee 
maintained territory in the area of Spartanburg County until 1777 
(Benson, 2006).
    Permanent European settlement in South Carolina began in 1670 on 
the Ashley River near present-day Charleston. By 1700, settlers had 
moved inland and up the Congaree River to the fall line (south of 
present-day Columbia, South Carolina), which marked the upper limit of 
navigation. Modern industrial development of upstate South Carolina 
began in 1815 with the construction of series of water-powered textile 
mills in Greenville and Spartanburg counties. Many early mills failed 
due to lack of capital, shortage of workers, limited distribution, and 
competition from more established textile mills in New England and New 
York. Following the Civil War, local investors began to renew their 
interest in the region's textile mills.
    In 1888, a group of Charleston investors purchased property for the 
Riverdale Mill, which was constructed between two hills with Two Mile 
Creek running under the factory. The project's original hydroelectric 
facilities, including the dam, forebay, headrace, penstock, and turbine 
were installed between 1910 and 1913 and were used to power the 
manufacturing operations at the mill. The mill changed owners several 
times during the twentieth century, being last owned by Inman Mills, 
which refurbished the project's turbine and penstock in the 1980s. The 
project has been inoperable since 2001, when the adjacent textile mill 
was closed. The original mill buildings and powerhouse were removed by 
the current owner and the original concrete and brick masonry 
powerhouse was replaced with a wood frame building with a wood truss 
roof system and asphalt shingles.

[[Page 76944]]

Archeological Resources and Historic Properties

    There are no known archeological sites or historic properties that 
would be affected by the proposed Riverdale Project. As discussed 
previously, while the project dates from the early 20th century, many 
of the mill's original facilities were removed in recent years.

3.3.6.2 Environmental Effects

    On November 23, 2009, the Commission designated Lockhart Power as a 
non-federal section 106 representative, which enabled it to conduct the 
day-to-day section 106 consultation responsibilities pursuant to 36 CFR 
Sec.  800.2(c)(4) of the Preservation Act regarding their proposal to 
repair or upgrade the existing turbine unit and return the project to 
operation. By letter dated December 7, 2009 and filed as part of the 
license application on August 31, 2010, the South Carolina SHPO 
determined that no historic properties listed in, or eligible for 
listing in, the National Register would be affected by the project.
    By letter filed September 30, 2010, the Catawba Indian Nation 
stated that they have no immediate concerns with regard to traditional 
cultural properties, sacred sites, or Native American archeological 
sites at the project. The Catawba Indian Nation also commented that the 
tribe should be notified if Native American artifacts and/or human 
remains are located during ground disturbing activities. In comments e-
filed January 18, 2012, the Catawba Indian Nation requested that the 
applicant consult with the tribe prior to any ground disturbing 
activities and indicated that a cultural resource survey involving 
shovel testing would likely be required.

Our Analysis

    Based on the assessment of the South Carolina SHPO and the 
information in the record for this proceeding, operation of the 
proposed project would not alter the historic character of existing 
structures. In addition, there would be no historic properties affected 
by the construction and operation of the proposed project.
    At this time, there is also no evidence indicating the presence of 
archeological properties within the project's APE that would warrant a 
cultural resource survey and shovel testing as recommended by the 
Catawba Indian Nation. However, it is possible that unknown 
archaeological or historic resources may be discovered in the future as 
a result of project construction, operation, or other project related 
activities. If such resources are discovered, immediately stopping work 
and consulting with the Commission, the South Carolina SHPO and the 
Catawba Indian Nation to define appropriate treatment would prevent any 
further harm to previously unidentified archaeological or cultural 
artifacts.

3.4 No-Action Alternative

    Under the no-action alternative, the Riverdale Project would not be 
refurbished, operated, and maintained by Lockhart Power. There would be 
no changes to the physical, biological, or cultural resources of the 
area, and electrical generation from the project would not occur. The 
power that would have been developed from a renewable resource would 
have to be replaced from nonrenewable fuels. The proposed public 
recreation amenities and access points would not be built and public 
access to the Enoree River in this area would not be available.

4.0 Developmental Analysis

    In this section, we look at the Riverdale Project's use of the 
Enoree River for hydropower purposes to see what effect various 
environmental measures would have on the project's costs and power 
benefits. Under the Commission's approach to evaluating the economics 
of hydropower projects, as articulated in Mead Corp.,\54\ the 
Commission compares the current project cost to an estimate of the cost 
of obtaining the same amount of energy and capacity using a likely 
alternative source of power for the region (cost of alternative power). 
In keeping with Commission policy as described in Mead, our economic 
analysis is based on current electric power cost conditions and does 
not consider future escalation of fuel prices in valuing the hydropower 
project's power benefits.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \54\ See Mead Corporation, Publishing Paper Division, 72 FERC ] 
61,027 (July 13, 1995). In most cases, electricity from hydropower 
would displace some form of fossil-fueled generation, in which fuel 
cost is the largest component of the cost of electricity production.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    For each of the licensing alternatives, our analysis includes an 
estimate of: (1) The cost of individual measures considered in the EA 
for the protection, mitigation, and enhancement of environmental 
resources affected by the project; (2) the cost of alternative power; 
(3) the total project cost (i.e. for construction, operation, 
maintenance, and environmental measures); and (4) the difference 
between the cost of alternative power and the total project cost. If 
the difference between the cost of alternative power and the total 
project cost is positive, the project would produce power for less than 
the cost of alternative power. If the difference between the cost of 
alternative power and the total project cost is negative, the project 
would produce power for more than the cost of alternative power. This 
estimate helps to support an informed decision concerning what is in 
the public interest with respect to a proposed license. However, 
project economics is only one of many public interest factors the 
Commission considers in determining whether, and under what conditions, 
to issue a license.

4.1 Power and Developmental Benefits of the Project

    Table 12 summarizes the assumptions and economic information we use 
in our analysis. This information was provided by Lockhart Power in its 
license application and its responses to staff's additional information 
requests. We find that the values provided by Lockhart Power are 
reasonable for the purposes of our analysis. Cost items common to all 
alternatives include: Taxes and insurance costs; net investment (the 
total investment in power plant facilities to be depreciated); 
estimated future capital investment required to maintain and extend the 
life of plant equipment and facilities; licensing costs; normal 
operation and maintenance cost; and Commission fees. Throughout this 
section all dollars are 2013, unless otherwise specified.

Table 12--Parameters for the Economic Analysis of the Proposed Riverdale
                                 Project
                   [Source: Staff and Lockhart Power]
------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Economic parameter                         Value
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Average annual generation (MWh)..........  4,895.\a\
Composite power value....................  $72.31/MWh.\b\
Period of analysis.......................  30 years.
Term of financing........................  20 years.
Capital investment.......................  $5,225,000.\c\
License application cost.................  $200,000.\a\
Interest/discount rate...................  7.0 percent.\d\
Federal tax rate.........................  34 percent.\d\
State tax................................  3.0 percent.\d\
Insurance (percent)......................  0.25.
Annual Operation and Maintenance.........  $81,000.\d\
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\a\ Value from license application dated August 31, 2010, as clarified
  in Lockhart Power's responses to staff's additional information
  request, filed on August 5, 2011.

[[Page 76945]]

 
\b\ The composite power value was provided by Lockhart Power and
  incorporates peak and off-peak energy and capacity rates and a value
  for Renewable Energy Credits offered by North Carolina. The basis of
  these values is a power purchase contract currently offered by Duke
  Energy Carolinas, LLC.
\c\ This value includes staff's estimate of cost to purchase the project
  site and Lockhart Power's estimate to rehabilitate the project
  features.
\d\ Assumed by staff.

4.2 Comparison of Alternatives

    Table 13 summarizes the installed capacity, annual generation, cost 
of alternative power, estimated total project cost, and the difference 
between the cost of alternative power and total project cost for the 
three alternatives considered in this EA: No-action, Lockhart Power's 
proposal, and the staff alternative.

 Table 13--Summary of Annual Cost, Power Benefits, and Annual Net Benefits of the Alternatives for the Riverdale
                                                     Project
                                                 [Source: Staff]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                             Lockhart Power's
                       Parameter                             No-action           proposal      Staff alternative
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Annual generation (MWh)................................                0.0              4,895              4,370
Annual cost of alternative power.......................                 $0           $353,957           $315,995
($/MWh)................................................               0.00              72.31              72.31
Annual project cost....................................              $0.00           $619,336           $613,481
($/MWh)................................................               0.00             126.52             140.38
Difference between the cost of alternative power and                  $0.0         ($265,378)         ($297,487)
 project cost..........................................
($/MWh)................................................               0.00            (54.21)            (68.07)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: A number in parentheses denotes that the difference between the cost of alternative power and project cost
  is negative, thus the total project cost is greater than the cost of alternative power.

4.2.1 No-Action Alternative

    Under the no-action alternative, Lockhart Power would not 
rehabilitate the Riverdale Project; the project would not generate 
electricity; and no environmental protection, mitigation, or 
enhancement measures would be implemented.

4.2.2 Lockhart Power's Proposal

    The Riverdale Project has been inoperable since 2001. After 
repairing the hydroelectric facilities, Lockhart Power proposes to 
operate the project in a ROR mode, with daily peaking under certain 
flow conditions. Upon completion of the proposed repairs, the project's 
installed capacity would be 1.24 MW and would generate an average of 
4,895 MWh of electricity annually. The average annual cost of 
alternative power under Lockhart Power's proposal would be about 
$353,957 ($72.31/MWh). The average annual project cost would be about 
$619,336 ($126.52/MWh). Overall, the project would produce power at a 
cost that is about $265,378 ($54.21/MWh) more than the cost of 
alternative power.

4.2.3 Staff Alternative

    The staff alternative includes most of the measures proposed by 
Lockhart Power, with some modifications and additional recommended 
measures. The additional staff-recommended measures that would increase 
the annual cost of the project include: (a) A soil erosion and sediment 
control plan; (b) a sediment management plan; (c) a shoreline 
stabilization plan; (d) a water quality monitoring plan; (e) higher 
continuous minimum flows in the bypassed reach; (f) an operation 
compliance monitoring plan; (g) an invasive vegetation monitoring and 
control plan; and (h) an evaluation of the project transmission line 
consistency with APLIC guidelines.
    Under the staff alternative, the project would generate an average 
of 4,370 MWh of electricity annually. The average annual cost of 
alternative power under the staff alternative would be about $315,995 
($72.31/MWh). The average annual project cost would be about $613,481 
($140.38/MWh). Overall, the project would produce power at a cost that 
is about $297,487 ($68.07/MWh) more than the cost of alternative power. 
The staff alternative would increase the annual project cost about 
$32,109, or about $13.86/MWh, compared to the project as proposed by 
Lockhart Power.

4.3 Cost of Environmental Measures

    Table 14 gives the cost of each of the environmental enhancement 
measures considered in our analysis.\55\ We convert all costs to equal 
annual (levelized) values over a 30-year period of analysis to give a 
uniform basis for comparing the benefits of a measure to its cost.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \55\ Lockhart Power provided costs for specific protection, 
mitigation, and enhancement measures in its license application 
dated August 31, 2010, and in its responses to the Commission's 
additional information request (Lockhart Power, 2011a; 2011b; 2012).

  Table 14--Cost of Environmental Mitigation and Enhancement Measures Considered in Assessing the Environmental
                    Effects of Refurbishing, Operating, and Maintaining the Riverdale Project
                                       [Source: Staff and Lockhart Power]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                            Capital cost       Annual cost       Levelized cost
  Enhancement/mitigation measure          Entities            (2013$)            (2013$)            (2013$)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                           Geology and Soils Resources
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. Develop and implement a soil     South Carolina DNR,              5,000                  0                390
 erosion and sediment control        Staff.
 plan, which includes the BMPs
 described in the South Carolina
 DHEC's Stormwater BMP Handbook.

[[Page 76946]]

 
2. Implement a sediment management  Lockhart Power.....                  0              \a\ 0                  0
 plan that consists of using the
 sand gates for periodic
 inspections and maintenance
 drawdowns and, if possible,
 avoiding drawdowns from March 15
 through June 1.
3. Develop and implement a          Interior, South             \c\ 12,000          \d\ 1,000              1,597
 sediment management plan that       Carolina DNR,
 includes provisions to: (a) Test    Staff.
 impoundment sediments for heavy
 metals and other contaminants
 prior to beginning in-water
 construction activities; (b)
 prepare a contingency plan for
 proper disposal \b\ of any
 contaminated sediments found in
 the impoundment; (c) monitor
 sediment accumulation in the
 impoundment annually; (d) develop
 criteria that would trigger,
 sediment removal and proper
 disposal, if necessary; (e)
 conduct maintenance drawdowns in
 late fall and winter (November
 through January); (f) avoid
 drawdowns from March 15 through
 June 1, if possible; and (g) file
 an annual report.
4. Develop and implement a          Interior, Staff....              5,000              1,000              1,050
 shoreline stabilization plan with
 provisions to: (a) Identify
 eroding or potential project-
 induced erosion sites on project
 shorelines prior to operation;
 (b) stabilize areas of shoreline
 erosion; (c) monitor shorelines
 after resuming operation and
 implement stabilization
 techniques as necessary; (d)
 conduct shoreline stabilization
 activities from September through
 February if possible; and (e)
 file an annual report.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                Aquatic Resources
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
5. Develop and implement a water    Interior, NMFS,                 20,000                  0              1,561
 quality monitoring plan with        Staff.
 provisions to: (a) Monitor DO,
 temperature, and turbidity prior
 to the start of construction,
 during construction, and for 1
 year after project operation
 begins; (b) define sampling
 methods, timing, and locations
 for monitoring these parameters
 in consultation with South
 Carolina DHEC, FWS, and NMFS; and
 (c) file a report that presents
 the monitoring data, describes
 any project-related effects and
 identifies corrective actions if
 necessary.
6. Maintain a minimum flow of 50    Lockhart Power.....                  0             30,567         \e\ 20,174
 cfs in the bypassed reach and a
 total minimum continuous flow of
 60 cfs downstream from the
 project.
7. Provide the following seasonal   Interior,\f\ South                   0            122,501         \e\ 80,851
 minimum instream flows into the     Carolina DNR,
 bypassed reach (based on the        NMFS, American
 South Carolina Water Plan and a     Rivers.
 MADF of 393 cfs): 79 cfs (July-
 November), 118 cfs (May, June,
 and December), and 157 cfs
 (January-April).
8. Provide a continuous minimum     Staff..............                  0             69,000         \e\ 45,540
 instream flow of 75 cfs into the
 bypassed reach.
9. Develop and implement a plan to  Interior, South                  7,000                  0                546
 release required minimum flows      Carolina DNR,
 into the bypassed reach that        NMFS, Staff.
 includes: (a) A feasibility
 assessment for using the sand
 gates as a flow-release
 mechanism; (b) if found to be
 feasible, a study to determine
 how the sand gates would be used
 to distribute flow into the
 bypassed reach; (c) if the sand
 gates are not feasible, a
 description of how the minimum
 instream flows would be provided
 to the bypassed reach; (d) a
 report documenting the outcome of
 the feasibility assessment, flow
 study, and consultation with the
 agencies; and (e) an
 implementation schedule.
10. Develop and implement a low     South Carolina DNR,              5,000                  0                390
 inflow protocol/drought             Interior, staff.
 contingency plan.
11. Develop and implement an        Lockhart Power,                 15,000              1,500              2,161
 operation compliance monitoring     Staff.
 plan that includes: (a) A rating
 curve to provide the seasonally
 defined flows; (b) protocols to
 monitor and document compliance
 with required flows; (c)
 protocols to monitor and document
 impoundment fluctuations; and (d)
 an implementation schedule.
12. Modify trash rack bar spacing   Interior...........             15,000                  0              1,171
 at the headrace intake by
 decreasing the spacing from 2.25
 inches to 1 inch.

[[Page 76947]]

 
13. Conduct fish surveys before     Interior...........             30,000                  0              2,341
 and after construction, and 1
 year after construction is
 complete.
14. Conduct comprehensive           Interior...........              9,000                  0                702
 invertebrate surveys before and
 after construction, and 1 year
 after construction is complete.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                              Terrestrial Resources
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
15. Implement BMPs to protect       Lockhart Power,                  \g\ 0              \g\ 0                  0
 vegetation within the project       Interior, South
 boundary, such as limiting          Carolina DNR, and
 vegetation and ground-disturbing    Staff.
 activities and maintaining a
 minimum 25-foot-wide forested
 riparian buffer on project
 shorelines, as long as this does
 not interfere with Lockhart
 Power's ability to perform
 project-related activities.
16. Develop and implement an        Staff..............          \h\ 6,000          \h\ 1,000              1,128
 invasive vegetation monitoring
 and control plan that includes:
 (a) Survey methods to determine
 the extent of alligatorweed in
 the impoundment and riparian area
 prior to beginning refurbishment
 activities; (b) BMPs, as well as
 monitoring and control methods to
 prevent the spread of
 alligatorweed in the impoundment
 to areas downstream from the dam
 during project refurbishment; (c)
 monitoring protocols to detect
 the introduction or spread of
 other invasive plants within the
 project boundary during operation
 and maintenance; (d) criteria
 that would determine when
 corrective actions would be
 required; and (e) a schedule for
 filing monitoring reports and any
 recommended control measures.
17. Determine if the project        Staff..............          \h\ 5,000                  0                390
 transmission line is consistent
 with APLIC guidelines, consult
 with FWS, and file a report with
 the Commission describing the
 results of the evaluation and any
 measures recommended by FWS.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                            Recreational and Land Use
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
18. Construct and maintain a canoe  Lockhart Power,                 15,000              4,000          \e\ 3,811
 take-out located approximately      Interior, South
 220 feet upstream of the dam; a     Carolina DNR, and
 canoe put-in located                Staff.
 approximately 1,075 feet
 downstream from the dam; a 1,650-
 foot-long portage trail
 connecting the proposed canoe
 take-out and put-in; and a
 parking area located adjacent to
 the proposed portage trail.
19. Provide informal public access  Lockhart Power,                      0                  0                  0
 for fishing at the project          Interior, South
 impoundment, tailrace, and          Carolina DNR, and
 bypassed reach.                     Staff.
20. Install informational signage   Lockhart Power,                  \i\ 0              1,000            \e\ 660
 that includes: (1) Identification   Staff.
 of the canoe take-out and put in;
 (2) directions from the parking
 area to river access points; and
 (3) information regarding garbage
 disposal.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                               Cultural Resources
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
21. Stop work and notify the South  Staff..............                  0                  0                  0
 Carolina SHPO and the Catawba
 Indian Nation, and follow the
 South Carolina SHPO's guidance if
 any unknown archaeological
 resources are discovered as a
 result of project construction,
 operation, or project-related
 activities.
22. Consult with the Catawba        Catawba Indian              \h\ 10,000                  0                780
 Indian Nation prior to any ground   Nation.
 disturbing activities, and
 conduct a cultural resource
 survey involving shovel tests, if
 necessary.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\a\ Sediment management would occur in conjunction with periodic inspections and maintenance activities. There
  are no additional costs associated with this measure.
\b\ We assume that the cost of initial sediment disposal, if necessary, is included in Lockhart Power's
  estimates for project refurbishment.
\c\ This cost includes the initial/capital cost of monitoring sediment accumulation in the impoundment.
\d\ The precise frequency of monitoring sediment accumulation would likely be determined after consultation with
  the South Carolina DHEC, the Corps, South Carolina DNR, and Interior.
\e\ In many cases in this table, the 30-year levelized cost is lower than the annual cost (i.e. operation and
  maintenance cost). The reason for this is the levelized cost includes an estimate of tax savings that the
  applicant would realize due to the combined high capital (including interest and depreciation) and operation
  and maintenance costs of the measure.
\f\ Interior's recommendation actually called for a seasonal flow of 80 cfs from July through November instead
  of 79 cfs.

[[Page 76948]]

 
\g\ We estimate that the implementation of the measure would not result in any appreciable additional cost.
\h\ Cost estimated by staff.
\i\ This cost is included in the $15K for constructing and maintaining the portage trail. The additional staff
  measures are not expected to increase the overall cost.

5.0 Conclusions and Recommendations

5.1 Comparison of Alternatives

    In this section we compare the development and non-developmental 
effects of Lockhart Power's proposal, Lockhart Power's proposal as 
modified by staff, and the no-action alternative. We estimate the 
annual generation of the project under those three alternatives. Our 
analysis shows that the annual generation would be 4,895 MWh for the 
proposed action and 4,370 MWh for the staff alternative. Under the no-
action alternative, no power would be generated. We summarize the 
environmental effects of the different alternatives below in table 15.

                         Table 15--Comparison of Alternatives for the Riverdale Project
                                                 [Source: staff]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                           Staff recommended
             Resource               No action alternative        Proposed action              alternative
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Generation........................  0 MWh................  4,895 MWh.................  4,370 MWh.
Geology and Soils.................  Impoundment sediments  Project refurbishment       Same as proposed action,
                                     would continue to      would disturb about 2       but implementing a site-
                                     accumulate and be      acres of vegetation.        specific soil erosion
                                     flushed downstream     Implementing BMPs would     and sediment control
                                     from the dam during    minimize soil disturbance   plan and a more clearly
                                     high flows.            and erosion. Avoiding       defined sediment
                                                            drawing down the            management plan would
                                                            impoundment between March   more effectively
                                                            15 and June 1 would         minimize erosion and
                                                            prevent the release of      impoundment sediment
                                                            large quantities of         loads, helping to
                                                            sediment into the           prevent an accidental
                                                            bypassed reach in the       release of large
                                                            Enoree River during fish    quantities of sediment
                                                            spawning season.            downstream. Implementing
                                                                                        a shoreline
                                                                                        stabilization plan would
                                                                                        further reduce potential
                                                                                        erosion and
                                                                                        sedimentation during
                                                                                        operations and also
                                                                                        benefit fish and
                                                                                        wildlife in the riparian
                                                                                        and littoral areas of
                                                                                        the project.
Water Quality (during               No change in existing  Short-term increases in     Same proposed action, but
 construction).                      water quality          turbidity and               implementing a water
                                     conditions.            sedimentation during        quality monitoring plan
                                                            rehabilitation; BMPs        during pre- and post-
                                                            would minimize erosion      construction activities
                                                            and sedimentation.          would provide a
                                                                                        mechanism to identify
                                                                                        and address water
                                                                                        quality effects.
Water Quality (post-construction).  No change in existing  Project flow diversions     Same as proposed action,
                                     water quality          could reduce DO levels      except higher minimum
                                     conditions.            and raise water             flows would reduce the
                                                            temperatures in bypassed    potential for elevated
                                                            reach.                      temperatures and low DO
                                                                                        levels. Implementing a
                                                                                        water quality monitoring
                                                                                        plan would detect any
                                                                                        effects to water quality
                                                                                        caused by project
                                                                                        operations and
                                                                                        maintenance.
Fishery Resources (during           No change to the       Short-term increases in     Same as proposed action,
 construction).                      fishery resources.     turbidity and               except that
                                                            sedimentation during        implementation of a
                                                            construction could          water quality monitoring
                                                            adversely affect fish       plan and a soil erosion
                                                            habitat in the Enoree       and sediment control
                                                            River downstream from the   plan during construction
                                                            dam.                        activities may minimize
                                                                                        adverse effects of
                                                                                        turbidity and
                                                                                        sedimentation on fish
                                                                                        habitat downstream from
                                                                                        the dam.
Fishery Resources (post-            No change to the       Reduction of flow to 50     Same as the proposed
 construction).                      fishery resources.     cfs in the bypassed reach   action except that
                                                            and 60 cfs downstream       minimum flows in the
                                                            from the project would      bypassed reach would be
                                                            likely result in poor to    reduced to 75 cfs year-
                                                            low quality fishery and     round. Minimum flows
                                                            benthic habitat             would maintain adequate
                                                            conditions in the           conditions for fish and
                                                            bypassed reach;             benthic
                                                            Impoundment surface         macroinvertebrates.
                                                            elevation fluctuations of
                                                            up to 4 feet below full
                                                            pool with associated
                                                            adverse effects on
                                                            impoundment fish
                                                            habitats; Entrainment of
                                                            fish through the
                                                            development's 2.25-inch
                                                            trashrack.
Terrestrial Resources.............  No change in existing  Project refurbishment,      Same as proposed action,
                                     conditions.            operation, and              except developing and
                                                            maintenance would result    implementing an invasive
                                                            in minor, temporary         vegetation monitoring
                                                            disturbances to upland      and control plan, would
                                                            vegetation and wildlife.    minimize spread and
                                                            However, in-water repair    introductions of non-
                                                            work, peaking operation,    native invasive plants
                                                            and sediment management     and benefit native plant
                                                            activities could fragment   communities and the fish
                                                            and spread alligatorweed    and wildlife in the
                                                            from the impoundment to     project area. In
                                                            areas downstream or         addition, evaluating the
                                                            facilitate introduction     transmission line for
                                                            of other invasive plants.   consistency with APLIC
                                                            In addition, project        guidelines and
                                                            transmission lines may      consulting with FWS to
                                                            represent an                identify mitigative
                                                            electrocution hazard to     measures, if needed,
                                                            birds.                      would minimize the risk
                                                                                        of avian electrocution.
Wetlands..........................  No effect............  No effect.................  No effect.

[[Page 76949]]

 
Threatened and Endangered Species.  No effect............  No effect.................  No effect.
Recreational Access...............  No effect............  The addition of a portage   Same as the proposed
                                                            trail, parking, and         action. Additional
                                                            directional signage would   signage requesting
                                                            improve canoe portaging     visitors to pack out
                                                            around the project.         their garbage would
                                                                                        reduce the likelihood
                                                                                        that any increase in
                                                                                        recreation use at the
                                                                                        project would negatively
                                                                                        affect the surrounding
                                                                                        environment.
Land Use..........................  No effect............  Slight increase in          Same as proposed action.
                                                            recreation land use
                                                            within the project
                                                            boundary. This use would
                                                            be consistent with
                                                            existing land uses, and,
                                                            therefore, would have no
                                                            adverse effect.
Cultural Resources................  No effect............  No effect.................  No effect. However, if
                                                                                        any unknown
                                                                                        archaeological resources
                                                                                        were found, Lockhart
                                                                                        Power would stop work
                                                                                        and notify the South
                                                                                        Carolina SHPO and the
                                                                                        Catawba Indian Nation.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

5.2 Comprehensive Development and Recommended Alternative

    Sections 4(e) and 10(a)(1) of the FPA require the Commission to 
give equal consideration to the power development purposes and to the 
purposes of energy conservation; the protection, mitigation of damage 
to, and enhancement of fish and wildlife; the protection of 
recreational opportunities; and the preservation of other aspects of 
environmental quality. Any license issued shall be such, as in the 
Commission's judgment, will be best adapted to a comprehensive plan for 
improving or developing a waterway or waterways for all beneficial 
public uses. This section contains the basis for, and a summary of, our 
recommendations for licensing the Riverdale Project. We weigh the costs 
and benefits of our recommended alternative against other proposed 
measures.
    Based on our independent review of agency and public comments filed 
on this project and our review of the environmental and economic 
effects of the proposed project and its alternatives, we selected the 
staff alternative, as the preferred option. We recommend this option 
because: (1) Issuance of a hydropower license for the project would 
allow Lockhart Power to develop and operate the project and provide a 
dependable source of electrical energy for the region (4,370 MWh 
annually); (2) the 1.24 MW of electric energy generated from a 
renewable resource may offset the use of fossil-fueled, steam-electric 
generating plants, thereby conserving non-reviewable resources and 
reducing atmospheric pollution; (3) the public benefits of this 
alternative would exceed those of the no-action alternative; and (4) 
the recommended environmental measures would protect and enhance 
environmental resources affected by the project.
    In the following section, we make recommendations as to which 
environmental measures proposed by Lockhart Power or recommended by 
agencies and other entities should be included in any license issued 
for the project. In addition to Lockhart Power's proposed environmental 
measures, we recommend additional staff-recommended environmental 
measures to be included in any license issued for the project. We also 
discuss which measures we do not recommend including in the license.
Measures Proposed by Lockhart Power
    Based on our environmental analysis of Lockhart Power's proposal 
discussed in section 3.0, Environmental Analysis, and the costs 
discussed in section 4.0, Developmental Analysis, we conclude that the 
following measures proposed by Lockhart Power would protect and enhance 
environmental resources in the project area, and would be worth the 
cost. Therefore, we recommend including these measures in any license 
issued for the project.
     Implement BMPs to protect vegetation within the project 
boundary, such as limiting vegetation and ground-disturbing activities 
and maintaining a minimum 25-foot-wide forested riparian buffer on 
project shorelines, as long as this does not interfere with Lockhart 
Power's ability to perform project-related activities.
     Construct and maintain: (1) A canoe take-out located 
approximately 220 feet upstream of the dam; (2) a canoe put-in located 
approximately 1,075 feet downstream from the dam; (3) a 1,650-foot-long 
portage trail connecting the proposed canoe take-out and put-in; (4) a 
parking area located adjacent to the proposed portage trail; and (5) 
signage to improve public access at the project and to the Enoree 
River.
     Provide informal public access for fishing at the project 
impoundment, tailrace, and bypassed reach.
Additional Measures Recommended by Staff
    We recommend the measures described above, as well as 12 additional 
staff-recommended measures and modifications to Lockhart Power's 
proposed measure(s). These additional and modified measures include the 
following:
     Develop and implement a site-specific soil erosion and 
sediment control plan, which includes the BMPs described in the South 
Carolina DHEC's Stormwater BMP Handbook, to minimize erosion and 
sedimentation during soil-disturbing activities associated with project 
construction and repairs.
     Develop and implement a sediment management plan that 
includes provisions to: (a) Test impoundment sediments for heavy metals 
and other contaminants prior to beginning in-water project construction 
activities and initial operation; (b) prepare a contingency plan for 
proper disposal of any contaminated sediments that may be found in the 
impoundment; (c) monitor sediment accumulation in the impoundment 
annually to facilitate planning of sediment management activities; (d) 
develop criteria that would trigger sediment removal from the 
impoundment (i.e. by opening the sand gates, if appropriate, during 
high flow events, or via mechanical

[[Page 76950]]

methods); (e) conduct sediment management activities during the months 
of November through January except during high rain events (e.g. 
tropical storms or hurricanes); (f) avoid maintenance activities that 
would draw down the impoundment below normal operating levels and 
potentially pass sediment into the bypassed reach from March 15 through 
June 1, if possible, to minimize adverse impacts to spawning fish; and 
(g) prepare annual reports with sediment monitoring results, sediment 
management activities, and an evaluation of the effectiveness of the 
plan in minimizing sediment accumulation in the impoundment.
     Develop and implement a shoreline stabilization plan that 
includes provisions to: (a) Identify eroding or potential project-
induced erosion sites on the project shorelines prior to beginning 
operation; (b) stabilize areas of shoreline erosion using native 
vegetation, bio-engineering, slope flattening, toe armoring with 
anchored logs, and/or riprap that incorporates native vegetation 
plantings; (c) monitor shorelines after resuming operation, and 
implement stabilization measures if project-induced erosion is 
identified; (d) conduct shoreline stabilization activities from 
September through February to protect aquatic species and wildlife; and 
(e) file annual reports describing monitoring results and any 
implemented shoreline stabilization measures.
     Develop and implement a water quality monitoring plan that 
includes provisions to: (a) Monitor DO, temperature, and turbidity 
prior to the start of project construction, during construction, and 
for 1 year after project operation begins to ensure the levels 
specified by the current state water quality standards are met and 
aquatic resources are protected; (b) define sampling methods, timing, 
and locations for these parameters in consultation with South Carolina 
DHEC, FWS, and NMFS; and (c) file a report that presents the monitoring 
data, describes any project-related effects and identifies corrective 
actions if necessary.
     Release a continuous minimum flow of 75 cfs in the 
bypassed reach to protect aquatic habitat.
     Develop and implement a plan to release required minimum 
flows into the bypassed reach that includes: (a) A feasibility 
assessment for using the sand gates as a flow-release mechanism; (b) if 
found to be feasible, a flow study to determine how the sand gates 
would be used to distribute flow into the bypassed reach to protect 
aquatic habitats; (c) if the sand gates are not feasible, a description 
of how the minimum instream flows would be provided to the bypassed 
reach; (d) a report documenting the outcome of the feasibility 
assessment, flow study, and consultation with the agencies; and (e) an 
implementation schedule.
     Develop and implement a low inflow protocol/drought 
contingency plan to define periods of extended drought and the low 
inflow protocols to minimize adverse effects on generation, and on fish 
and wildlife, water quality, water supply, and generation.
     Develop and implement an operation compliance monitoring 
plan that includes: (a) A rating curve to provide the seasonally 
defined flows; (b) protocols to monitor and document compliance with 
required flows; (c) protocols to monitor and document impoundment 
fluctuations; and (d) an implementation schedule.
     Develop and implement an invasive vegetation monitoring 
and control plan that includes: (a) Survey methods to determine the 
extent of alligatorweed in the impoundment and riparian area prior to 
beginning refurbishment activities; (b) BMPs, as well as monitoring and 
control methods to prevent the spread of alligatorweed in the 
impoundment to areas downstream from the dam during project 
refurbishment; (c) monitoring protocols to detect the introduction or 
spread of other invasive plants within the project boundary during 
project operation and maintenance; (d) criteria that would determine 
when control measures would be required; and (e) a schedule for filing 
monitoring reports and any recommended control measures with the 
Commission.
     Determine whether the existing project transmission line 
is consistent with APLIC guidelines. Identify, in consultation with 
FWS, measures to minimize potential electrocution hazards to birds and 
file a report with the Commission describing the results of the 
evaluation and any measures recommended by FWS.
     Install informational signage that includes: (a) 
Identification of the canoe take-out and put in; (b) directions from 
the parking area to river access points; and (c) information regarding 
garbage disposal in order to improve public information available at 
the project and protect environmental resources.
     Stop work and notify the South Carolina SHPO and the 
Catawba Indian Nation if any unknown archaeological resources are 
discovered as a result of project construction, operation, or project-
related activities to avoid, lessen, or mitigate potential adverse 
effects.
    We discuss the basis for our recommended measures below.

Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Plan

    Project refurbishment, tailrace dredging, and construction of the 
proposed canoe take-out, put-in, and portage trail would result in 
soil-disturbing activities that could increase turbidity and 
sedimentation in the Enoree River. Lockhart Power's proposal would 
limit ground-disturbing activities to previously disturbed areas within 
the footprint of the former textile mill and associated parking lots 
and roadways, minimizing adverse effects on vegetated areas. Developing 
a site-specific soil erosion and sediment control plan that includes 
standard industry BMPs (such as those found in South Carolina DHEC's 
Stormwater BMP Handbook) would further reduce potential soil erosion 
and sedimentation effects. Applicable erosion and sediment control BMPs 
may include the use of silt fences, sediment traps, stabilized 
construction entrances, and alternative techniques that may be 
developed in consultation with the South Carolina DHEC. We do not 
expect that development of the soil erosion and sediment control plan 
would incur any additional costs not already included in the costs for 
project refurbishment. Based on our review and analysis contained in 
section 3.3.1, Geologic and Soil Resources, we find that the benefits 
of implementing a soil erosion and sediment control plan as described 
above are worth these costs.

Initial Testing of Impoundment Sediments

    There currently is no information on the volume of sediment 
deposits and potentially embedded contaminants in the Riverdale 
impoundment. However, the Enoree River carries a high sediment load and 
visual observations indicate a significant buildup of sediment in the 
impoundment. Project refurbishment activities and operation could 
disturb the bottom sediments and release a large amount of sediment 
downstream, causing any heavy metals or other contaminants present 
within the sediments to re-suspend with clays, silt, sand, and other 
sediments in the water column. Depending on the toxicity, contaminants 
suspended and transported in the water column could then harm fish and 
wildlife and adversely affect other stream uses.
    Testing for heavy metals and other contaminants in the sediment in 
the impoundment prior to beginning operation, as recommended by 
Interior, would prevent the accidental release of any toxic substances 
and allow for their

[[Page 76951]]

proper disposal. The test results would help Lockhart Power, the 
resource agencies, and South Carolina DHEC design appropriate methods 
for short- and long-term sediment management at the project, discussed 
next. Preparing a contingency plan for handling any contaminated 
sediments would ensure that sediments are disposed of properly and 
would minimize potential adverse effects to aquatic resources. Based on 
our review and analysis contained in section 3.3.1, Geologic and Soil 
Resources, we find that the benefits of initial testing of impoundment 
sediments and preparing a plan for proper disposal of any identified 
contaminated sediments as elements of a sediment management plan are 
worth the estimated annual levelized cost provided below.

Sediment Management Plan

    Project rehabilitation and periodic dam maintenance (e.g., repair 
the sand gates) would likely require drawing down the impoundment below 
the normal operating levels of four feet, resulting in the re-
suspension and discharge of sediment from the impoundment. Heavy 
sediment loads can adversely affect fish and wildlife, recreation 
opportunities, and other stream uses.
    Lockhart Power's proposal to avoid periodic inspection and 
maintenance drawdowns from March 15 to June 1 would prevent the release 
of large sediment loads during fish spawning periods, but would do 
little to actively manage sediment deposited behind the dam. Actively 
managing sediment within the impoundment, as recommended by Interior, 
and South Carolina DNR, would help prevent the buildup of sediment in 
the impoundment and minimize the risk of potentially releasing 
excessive sediment loads through the sand gates during planned and un-
planned maintenance activities. Conducting maintenance drawdowns and 
sediment management activities between November and January, as 
recommended by the agencies, would ensure that sediment management is 
occurring when flows are most likely to be high enough to carry the 
sediment downstream from the sensitive shoals habitat and avoid fish 
spawning periods.
    To be effective, sediment management would need to include 
provisions to: (a) Test impoundment sediments for heavy metals and 
other contaminants prior to beginning project repairs; (b) prepare a 
contingency plan for proper disposal of any contaminated sediments that 
may be found; (c) monitor sediment accumulation in the impoundment 
annually; (d) develop criteria triggering sediment removal from the 
impoundment (i.e. by opening the sand gates, if appropriate, during 
high flow events, or via mechanical methods); (e) conduct sediment 
management activities from November through January except during high 
rain events (e.g., tropical storms or hurricanes); and (f) avoid 
maintenance activities that would draw down the impoundment below 
normal operating levels and potentially pass sediment into the bypassed 
reach from March 15 through June 1 unless required for emergency 
purposes. Annual monitoring reports would assist the Commission and 
resource agencies in documenting compliance with the requirements of 
any license issued and evaluating the overall effectiveness of the 
sediment management plan.
    Based on our review and analysis contained in section 3.3.1, 
Geologic and Soil Resources, we find that the benefits of implementing 
a sediment management plan with the measures outlined above are worth 
the estimated annual levelized cost of $1,597.

Shoreline Stabilization Plan

    Resuming project operation as Lockhart Power proposes would result 
in impoundment fluctuations between 1 and 4 feet. As Interior notes, 
such fluctuations may cause shoreline erosion and lead to instability 
in the riparian zone, channel aggradation, increased turbidity, and 
associated adverse effects to fish and invertebrates. Developing and 
implementing a shoreline stabilization plan, as recommended by 
Interior, would identify and stabilize any existing areas of active 
erosion, minimizing the potential for erosion due to project operation. 
It would also allow Lockhart Power to effectively and efficiently focus 
any monitoring efforts on specific areas prone to erosion in the 
project boundary and address those areas before they become a 
significant problem. Using native vegetation and techniques such as 
bio-engineering, slope flattening, toe armoring with anchored logs, 
and/or riprap that incorporates native vegetation plantings would 
stabilize eroding shorelines while providing habitat for wildlife and 
aquatic species. Implementing shoreline stabilization measures during 
the fall and winter (i.e. September through February), except under 
emergency situations, as recommended by Interior, would help minimize 
potential disturbances to aquatic species and wildlife. As with the 
sediment management plan discussed above, annual reports would assist 
the Commission and resource agencies in documenting compliance with the 
requirements of any license and evaluating the overall effectiveness of 
the shoreline stabilization plan. Based on our review and analysis 
contained in section 3.3.1, Geologic and Soil Resources, we find that 
the benefits of implementing a shoreline stabilization plan with the 
measures outlined above are worth the estimated annual levelized cost 
of $1,050.

Water Quality Monitoring Plan

    Refurbishing and operating the project could increase turbidity 
levels, raise water temperatures, and lower DO levels in the 
impoundment and bypassed reach. Lockhart Power intends to monitor water 
quality as may be required by South Carolina DHEC, but did not propose 
any specific monitoring measures.
    Interior recommends that Lockhart Power: (1) Conduct water quality 
monitoring in the impoundment at all proposed operational drawdowns for 
a minimum of 1 year and (2) submit water quality monitoring results to 
South Carolina DHEC, South Carolina DNR, NMFS, Interior, and the 
Commission.
    Our understanding of water quality in the project vicinity under 
existing conditions is limited. Monitoring turbidity, DO, and 
temperature in the impoundment and bypassed reach prior to the start of 
construction, during construction, and for 1 year after project 
operation begins would provide a means to ensure that the current state 
water quality standards (table 4) are met and that erosion control 
measures and minimum flows are adequately protecting aquatic resources. 
Therefore, we recommend that Lockhart Power develop a water quality 
monitoring plan that defines sampling methods, timing, and locations 
for monitoring these parameters in consultation with South Carolina 
DHEC, FWS, and NMFS. Based on our review and analysis contained in 
section 3.3.2, Aquatic Resources, we find that the benefits of 
developing and implementing the water quality monitoring plan with the 
measures outlined above would be worth the estimated annual levelized 
cost of $1,561.

Minimum Instream Flows

    Since 2001, flows at the project have passed over the dam rather 
than the through the powerhouse to generate electricity. These flows 
provide habitat conditions in the bypassed reach that support a 
diversity of fish and invertebrate species in the complex shoals 
habitat, including eight species identified by the State of South 
Carolina

[[Page 76952]]

as ``Conservation Species.'' Two of the species, redeye bass and 
panhandle pebblesnail, are either declining or rare, and both are 
limited in their distribution within the state.
    Lockhart Power proposes to provide a minimum continuous flow of 60 
cfs downstream from the tailrace and 50 cfs in the bypassed reach to 
maintain and protect aquatic resources in the bypassed reach and in the 
Enoree River. South Carolina DNR, Interior, NMFS, and American Rivers 
recommend the following minimum flows in the bypassed reach based on 
the state's Water Plan: 79 cfs in July-November (20 percent of MADF); 
157 cfs in January-April (40 percent of MADF); and 118 cfs in May, 
June, and December (30 percent of MADF). Using flow data for the period 
1994 through 2009, South Carolina DNR, Interior, NMFS, and American 
Rivers calculated the flows based on a prorated MADF of 393 cfs. Using 
the most current flow data available (1994-2012), we calculated a MADF 
of 374 cfs and base our recommendations on this flow calculation.
    The Water Plan's minimum flow regime is based on flow studies 
conducted at six regulated reaches in the South Carolina Piedmont, and 
three distinct periods that capture high (January-April), low (July-
November), and increasing (December) or decreasing (May, June) flow 
periods (Bulak and Jobsis, 1989). The Water Plan states that seasonal 
variation in flow is important because fish have evolved to spawn in 
synchrony with the hydrologic cycle. While beneficial to a certain 
extent, there is currently no evidence that the fishes or invertebrates 
in the bypassed reach, or downstream from the tailrace require such 
annual variation in the flow regime to complete their life-cycle.
    The state's Water Plan concludes that the 20 and 30 percent flows 
represent ``generally adequate'' and ``adequate'' flows, respectively, 
to protect aquatic habitat and fish during low flow periods, while 40 
percent flows would protect fishery resources during high flow periods. 
As discussed in section 3.3.2.2, Environmental Effects, a flow of 60 
cfs (16 percent of MADF) downstream of the tailrace and 50 cfs (13 
percent of MADF) into the bypassed reach falls considerably short of 
the Water Plan's recommended flows in most months, thus would not 
likely maintain adequate aquatic habitat conditions. However, the Water 
Plan recommended flows for January through April (150 cfs, 40 percent 
MADF) were based on flows needed to provide a 1.5-foot-deep by 10-foot-
wide passage route at shoals for striped bass. There are no striped 
bass, or other anadromous species present at the project.\56\ In 
contrast, a flow of 75 cfs (20 percent MADF \57\) from January to April 
is expected to provide a channel 1.0-foot-deep by 10-foot-wide, which 
would be sufficient to maintain habitat and passage requirements for 
fish currently inhabiting the bypassed reach. A flow of 75 cfs also 
provides generally adequate flows during low flow periods based the 
study conducted by Bulak and Jobsis (1989).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \56\ Anadromous fish are also unable to pass upstream of Parr 
dam, which is located 65 miles downstream on the Broad River.
    \57\ The study (i.e. Bulak and Jobsis, 1989) used to identify 
Water Plan minimum flows indicated that if a 1.0-foot-deep by 10-
foot-wide was acceptable, required flows in shoals habitat ranged 
from 15 to 32 percent of MADF (mean = 24 percent of MADF).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Based on the Tennant (1976) method, a flow of 60 cfs (16 percent of 
MADF) downstream of the tailrace and of 50 cfs (13 percent of MADF) 
into the bypassed reach would represent fair or degrading conditions 
during the dry season, and close to poor or minimum conditions during 
the wet season. South Carolina DNR's variable flows based on the state 
Water Plan would result in good conditions year-round. However, a 
continuous minimum flow of 75 cfs (20 percent of MADF) year round would 
represent good conditions during the dry season and close to fair or 
degrading conditions during the wet season.
    The annual levelized cost of Lockhart Power's minimum flow for the 
bypassed reach would be $20,174. Providing a continuous 75-cfs minimum 
flow to the bypassed reach would have an annual levelized cost of 
$45,540, which is $25,366 more than the annual levelized cost of 
Lockhart Power's proposed flow regime. Providing the agency-recommended 
minimum flows would have an annual levelized cost of $80,851, which 
would be $60,677 more than the annual levelized cost of Lockhart 
Power's proposed flow regime.
    In consideration of the benefits and costs of the proposed and 
recommended minimum flows as well as the relative uniqueness of the 
bypassed reach fishery within the state of South Carolina, we conclude 
that the appropriate balance of the benefits and costs of the various 
flows is best met through a bypassed reach flow of 75 cfs. For this 
reason, we recommend a license condition requiring Lockhart Power to 
provide a continuous minimum flow of 75 cfs within the bypassed reach, 
or inflow if less. We see no need for a separate minimum flow 
requirement for the reach downstream of the powerhouse as proposed by 
Lockhart Power given that a continuous 75-cfs minimum flow in the 
bypassed reach would flow downstream to the reach below the powerhouse 
and provide the same benefits to aquatic resources.

Flow Release Plan for Minimum Flows Into the Bypassed Reach

    Lockhart Power proposes to repair the sand gates and work with the 
resource agencies to determine which combination of gates to use to 
provide the required bypassed reach minimum flows. South Carolina DNR 
and Interior recommend Lockhart Power evaluate the feasibility of using 
the sand gates to reliably provide minimum instream flows on a 
continuous basis, and the flow distribution through the gate(s) to 
optimize aquatic habitat in the bypassed reach. American Rivers 
recommends Lockhart Power study alternatives to releasing minimum 
instream flows to select the best method to deliver flows that ensure 
that the bypassed reach is fully wetted. NMFS recommends conducting an 
instream flow study.
    The shoals below the dam are complex and its distinct physical 
features create different habitats on the north and south side of the 
bypassed reach that support different fish and benthic 
macroinvertebrate assemblages, including some rare species. Because the 
lack of access prevented Lockhart Power from determining if it could 
make the sand gates operable, a feasibility assessment would be 
necessary as proposed by Lockhart Power and recommended by the 
agencies. If the gates cannot be made operational or used in a manner 
to provide the required flows, alternative mechanisms would need to be 
identified and made operational prior to operating the project to 
ensure that the aquatic resources in the bypassed reach are protected.
    Assuming that the bypassed flows can be provided through the sand 
gates, distributing the flows across the shoals to optimize benthic 
invertebrate and fish habitat may require delivering flows from one or 
more sand gates. While fully wetting the shoals as recommended by 
American Rivers would likely provide some benthic invertebrate and fish 
habitat, it may not provide the best habitat for targeted channels 
supporting rare species. To determine which combination of gates to use 
would require a post-licensing flow study as recommended by NMFS. Such 
a study would not be used to establish required minimum flows because 
the minimum flow requirements have been determined as described above. 
Rather, it would be used to determine how to distribute the

[[Page 76953]]

required flows to optimize habitat. The study would need to examine 
depth, velocity, and wetted width across the shoals using various 
combinations of the sand gates. We recommend Lockhart Power select the 
targeted species and habitat suitability criteria to evaluate the flows 
in consultation with the South Carolina DNR, FWS, NMFS, and American 
Rivers. Developing a flow release plan that includes the feasibility 
assessment and the above flow study would have an estimated annualized 
cost of $546. The benefits of determining which combination of gates 
best optimize aquatic habitats would be worth the cost.

Low Inflow Protocol/Drought Management Plan

    As discussed above, the staff recommended minimum flow releases 
would adequately maintain aquatic habitat in the bypassed reach during 
most years. However, during moderate and extreme drought years, such as 
those experienced in the Southeast U.S. from 1998-2002, 2005-2007, and 
2012, inflows to the project may be insufficient to continually release 
the required flow.
    During such low inflow periods, Lockhart Power would implement the 
following low inflow protocol: When average daily project inflow is 
less than approximately 80 cfs (+/- 10 percent), continuous project 
outflow shall approximately (+/- 10 percent) equal project inflow. 
However, Lockhart Power does not explain how or where such flows would 
be released, or its basis for selecting 80 cfs as defining low inflow/
drought conditions. A flow of 80 cfs represents about 20 percent of the 
MADF which would be ``generally adequate'' to maintain aquatic 
resources during typical low inflow periods (July through November), 
but would be inadequate if drought conditions extended into the 
typically high flow periods.
    The South Carolina DNR and Interior recommend that Lockhart Power 
develop low inflow protocol (i.e. a drought contingency plan) in 
consultation with appropriate federal and state agencies, local 
governments, and other stakeholders that continues to protect fish and 
wildlife and other water uses in the Enoree River.
    Ideally, a low inflow protocol would provide some flexibility to 
adjust minimum flows during drought periods so that the effects of low 
inflows are balanced among competing uses. We recommend Lockhart Power 
develop a low inflow protocol in consultation with South Carolina DNR, 
Interior, and NMFS. The protocol should define water shortage severity 
levels (i.e. drought conditions), and how project operation would be 
adjusted depending on drought conditions to balance competing needs.
    Developing the low inflow protocol would have an annual levelized 
cost of $390. There could be additional costs in some years during 
droughts that depend on the operational changes needed and the 
frequency and severity of drought over the term of the license. We find 
that the benefits of these measures are worth the cost.

Operation Compliance Monitoring Plan

    Lockhart Power proposes to operate the Riverdale Project using a 
combination of ROR and peaking modes, resulting in fluctuations between 
1 and 4 feet from the top of the flashboards. Lockhart Power would 
ensure minimum flow releases are being provided through one or more of 
the sand gates by establishing a rating curve and verifying the rating 
curve every 6 years.
    To assist the Commission in monitoring compliance with operation 
limitations, we recommend Lockhart Power develop and implement an 
operation compliance monitoring plan. Such a plan would need to explain 
how Lockhart Power would monitor impoundment fluctuations to ensure 
that the impoundment is not drawn down below 4 feet unless required for 
maintenance or emergencies beyond the control of the applicant. The 
plan would also need to define how Lockhart Power would document flows 
through the sand gates into the bypassed reach as required based on the 
flow release plan. In addition, the plan should include a schedule for 
implementing the provisions of the plan, maintaining monitoring 
equipment, and filing annual reports with the resource agencies and the 
Commission. Based on our review and analysis contained in section 
3.3.2, Aquatic Resources, we find that the benefits of implementing an 
operation compliance monitoring plan, with the measures outlined above, 
would be worth the estimated levelized annual cost of $2,161.

Invasive Vegetation Monitoring and Control Plan

    Alligatorweed is a prolific state noxious weed and that has become 
established in the project impoundment. Alligatorweed competes with 
native aquatic species, reducing the quality of fish and wildlife 
habitat where it becomes established. In mats covering extensive areas, 
it can impede boating and access to the shore.
    Existing mats of alligatorweed can become fragmented and spread 
during in-water construction activities, such as during the 
installation of the canoe portage facilities and repairs to the sand 
gates, as well as during sediment management activities. Fluctuations 
in the impoundment levels may also create conditions facilitating its 
spread. Lockhart Power does not propose any measures to monitor or 
control the spread of alligatorweed or other invasive plants that may 
become established in the project area.
    Developing and implementing an invasive vegetation monitoring and 
control plan would minimize the potential spread and adverse effects of 
alligatorweed during project refurbishment, and project-related 
recreation activities as well as other invasive plants that may be 
detected during project operation and maintenance. We recommend that 
Lockhart Power develop an invasive vegetation monitoring and control 
plan that includes surveying the impoundment to determine the 
distribution of alligatorweed prior to beginning construction repairs 
or installing the canoe portage facilities and identifying specific 
BMPs that should be taken to prevent spreading this species. We also 
recommend periodic monitoring for invasive species in the impoundment 
to facilitate early detection of new invasive plant introductions, as 
well as the spread of the existing mats of alligatorweed. Such 
monitoring would allow Lockhart Power, the resource agencies, and the 
Commission to determine when, and if, correction measures may be needed 
to protect native plant communities and the wildlife that depend on 
them.
    To be effective, the monitoring program should define the 
monitoring schedule, document changes in invasive species composition 
and distribution between monitoring events, and include criteria that 
would determine when corrective actions may be required. Based on our 
review and analysis contained in section 3.3.3, Terrestrial Resources, 
we find that the benefits of implementing an invasive vegetation 
management plan with the measures outlined above are worth the 
estimated levelized annual cost of $1,128.

Avian Protection

    Lockhart Power proposes to use the existing transmission line which 
extends from the powerhouse along the project access road to an 
existing Duke Energy distribution line. Transmission lines with 
inadequate spacing between the conductors can represent an 
electrocution hazards for birds with

[[Page 76954]]

broad wingspans, such as raptors. However, Lockhart Power's limited 
access to the project prevented it from determining and whether the 
line could represent an electrocution hazard.
    Evaluating the consistency of the transmission line with APLIC 
guidelines would allow Lockhart Power to determine if a potential 
hazard exists and if protective measures may be needed. If the 
transmission lines do not meet APLIC guidelines, potential mitigation 
measures could include changing the relative position of conductors, or 
installing insulators, or structures to discourage perching and/or 
nesting (APLIC, 2006). A small cost would be incurred in evaluating the 
consistency of the transmission line design with APLIC guidelines, 
preparing a report, and consulting with the FWS to determine if 
potential measures are needed. Based on our review and analysis 
contained in section 3.3.3, Terrestrial Resources, we find that the 
benefits of evaluating the transmission line against APLIC guidelines 
would be worth the estimated levelized annual cost of $390.

Recreation Signage

    Lockhart Power proposes to install a canoe put-in and take-out, a 
portage trail, a parking area, and to use informational and directional 
signage to indicate recreation access at the project. However, 
development of more formal recreation facilities is likely to induce 
greater amounts of garbage and debris. Although recreation use at the 
project is expected to remain relatively low, adding signage reminding 
users to ``pack-it-in, pack-it-out'' or a similar ``leave no trace'' 
message would help minimize the accumulation of garbage at project 
recreation facilities and reduce the maintenance responsibility for the 
applicant.
    Because Lockhart Power has proposed developing directional and 
informational signage for the project, the additional signage relating 
to garbage disposal would not result in a significant change to the 
applicant's levelized annual cost of $660.

Cultural Resources

    There are no known archeological sites or historic properties 
within the proposed project's APE; however, there is a possibility that 
unknown archaeological resources may be discovered due to project 
construction, operation, or other project-related activities. To ensure 
proper treatment of any unknown archaeological resources that may be 
discovered at the project, we recommend in the case of any such 
discovery that Lockhart Power notify and consult with the South 
Carolina SHPO and the Catawba Indian Nation to: (1) Stop work and 
determine if the discovered archaeological resource is eligible for the 
National Register; (2) determine if the proposed project would 
adversely affect the resource; and (3) if the resource would be 
adversely affected, obtain guidance from the South Carolina SHPO on how 
to avoid, lessen, or mitigate for any adverse effects. Also we 
recommend that Lockhart Power inform the Commission of its discovery of 
any unknown archaeological resource, and any measures proposed if the 
archaeological resource is eligible for the National Register and is 
adversely affected by project construction or operation. There is no 
estimated cost associated with this measure.

Measures Not Recommended by Staff

Fish Impingement and Entrainment

    Water intake structures at hydropower projects can injure or kill 
fish through impingement at intake screens/trash-racks, or entrainment 
through intakes and into turbines. The Riverdale Project currently 
includes two sets of trash racks, one of which is located at the intake 
to the project headrace and has 2.25-inch bar spacing. Interior 
recommends that Lockhart Power install 1-inch bar spacing at the 
headrace trash-rack to avoid and minimize fish entrainment and 
mortality.
    Our analysis in section 3.3.2.2, Environmental Effects, indicates 
that entrainment and turbine mortality impacts of a trash-rack design 
with 1-inch bar spacing are potentially greater than the impacts of a 
design with the existing 2.25-inch bar spacing. Further, based on the 
intake velocities and the size of the bar spacing, most fish residing 
in the impoundment would be able to avoid impingement on the trashrack, 
but could be susceptible to entrainment through the turbines if they 
fail to use behavioral avoidance (i.e. burst swimming). The fish 
involved would likely consist of younger and smaller fish, which 
generally have high rates of mortality, even in the absence of 
hydropower operations. Fish populations have generally evolved to 
withstand losses of these smaller and younger individuals with little 
or no impact to long-term population sustainability. Consequently, 
replacing the existing trash-rack with a design having 1-inch bar 
spacing would not likely provide any benefits to fishery resources at 
the Riverdale Project. Therefore, we conclude that installation of 1-
inch bar spacing at the headrace trashrack would not be worth the 
estimated levelized annual cost of $1,171.

Fish and Macroinvertebrate Surveys

    The bypassed reach supports seven species of fish and one 
macroinvertebrate that are considered of conservation concern by the 
state. Interior recommends that Lockhart Power conduct surveys for fish 
and invertebrates before and after construction at the project, and 
again 1 year later, to provide information on the presence of the eight 
Conservation Species. Interior requests that Lockhart Power design the 
surveys in consultation with South Carolina DNR, South Carolina DHEC, 
NMFS, and FWS, and that sampling efforts be concentrated in the 
multiple habitat types in the bypassed reach. Interior states that 
additional surveys may be necessary depending on the results.
    As explained in section 3.3.2.2, Environmental Effects, sufficient 
information already exists to document their occurrence in the bypassed 
reach and to evaluate how best to distribute flows to optimize aquatic 
habitat to support these species. Therefore, there is no need for this 
information. Consequently, we conclude that the information obtained 
from such surveys is not worth the estimated levelized annual costs of 
$2,341 and $702, for fish surveys and invertebrate surveys 
respectively.

Cultural Resource Survey

    The Catawba Indian Nation recommends that Lockhart Power consult 
with the tribe prior to any ground-disturbing activity and states that 
Lockhart Power would most likely need to conduct a cultural resources 
survey involving shovel testing. Our analysis in section 3.3.6, 
Cultural Resources, indicates that there is no evidence archeological 
properties are present within the project's APE that would warrant a 
cultural resource survey and shovel testing prior to project 
construction. Rather, we recommend that should unknown archeological or 
historic resources be discovered in the future, as a result of project 
construction, operation, or other project related activities, Lockhart 
Power cease ground disturbing activities and consult with the 
Commission, the South Carolina SHPO, and the Catawba Indian Nation to 
establish the proper treatment of any potential archaeological or 
cultural resources. Therefore, we conclude that a cultural resources 
survey and shovel testing prior to ground-disturbing activity would not 
be worth the estimated levelized annual cost of $780.

[[Page 76955]]

5.3 Unavoidable Adverse Effects

    Project refurbishment and the addition of canoe portage facilities 
would result in some land-disturbing activities that would affect 
approximately 2 acres of land. Implementing the erosion and sediment 
control plan would minimize these effects. Repairs to the sand gates on 
the Riverdale dam spillway would cause minor amounts of sediment to 
enter the Enoree River; however, the sediment management plan and 
sediment testing would ensure that the timing of sediment releases 
would occur when they would have the least adverse effect to aquatic 
resources. Repairs to the dam, penstock, powerhouse and other project 
facilities would also cause temporary and minor disturbances to 
wildlife near the construction activities.
    Project operation would reduce flows to the bypassed reach and may 
release water that has a lower DO concentration than existing flows. 
Recommended minimum flows would be adequate to protect existing aquatic 
resources. Water quality monitoring would allow identification of any 
needed measures to maintain state water quality standards. Project 
operation would result in some fish impingement and entrainment 
mortality of resident fish in the Enoree River, but these would 
represent young fish and be comprised of highly prolific species that 
have the ability to compensate for losses.

5.4 Fish and Wildlife Agency Recommendations

    Under the provisions of section 10(j) of the FPA, each 
hydroelectric license issued by the Commission shall include conditions 
based on recommendations provided by federal and state fish and 
wildlife agencies for the protection, mitigation, and enhancement of 
fish and wildlife resources affected by the project.
    Section 10(j) of the FPA states that whenever the Commission 
believes that any fish and wildlife agency recommendation is 
inconsistent with the purposes and the requirements of the FPA or other 
applicable law, the Commission and the agency will attempt to resolve 
any such inconsistency, giving due weight to the recommendations, 
expertise, and statutory responsibilities of such agency.
    In response to our REA notice, the following fish and wildlife 
agencies submitted recommendations for the project: Interior (letter 
filed September 10, 2012), South Carolina DNR (letter filed September 
10, 2012), and NMFS (letter filed September 11, 2012). Table 16 lists 
the federal and state recommendations filed pursuant to section 10(j), 
and indicate whether the recommendations are included as part of the 
Staff Alternative. Environmental recommendations that we consider 
outside the scope of section 10(j) have been considered under section 
10(a) of the FPA, and are addressed in the specific resource sections 
of this document.
    Of the 9 recommendations that we consider to be within the scope of 
section 10(j), we include 7, and do not include 2 in the staff 
alternative. We discuss the reasons for not including those 
recommendations in section 5.2, Comprehensive Development and 
Recommended Alternative. Table 16 indicates the basis for our 
preliminary determinations concerning measures that we consider 
inconsistent with section 10(j).

                                      Table 16--Fish and Wildlife Agency Recommendations for the Riverdale Project
                                                                     [Source: staff]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                      Within the scope of       Annualized
            Recommendation                        Agency                 section 10(j)           cost ($)                      Adopted?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                              Erosion and Sediment Control
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Implement South Carolina DHEC's         South Carolina DNR.......  Yes......................             390  Yes.\a\
 stormwater BMP's during construction
 and maintenance activities to prevent
 or minimize erosion and sedimentation.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                Sediment Management Plan
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Develop and implement a sediment        South Carolina DNR,        Yes......................           1,597  Yes.b c
 management plan with provisions to:     Interior.
 (a) Consult with South Carolina DHEC
 to address the potential presence of
 contaminated sediments in the
 impoundment and additional monitoring
 and sediment management needs; (b)
 test impoundment sediment for heavy
 metals and other contaminants; (c)
 monitor sediment accumulation in the
 impoundment annually; (d) develop
 criteria that would trigger sediment
 removal from the impoundment, by
 opening sand gates, if appropriate,
 during high flow events, or
 mechanical methods; (e) conduct
 sediment management activities from
 November-January; and (f) file an
 annual report describing sediment
 monitoring and management activities,
 and an evaluation of the
 effectiveness of the plan.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 76956]]

 
                                                             Management of Shoreline Erosion
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Implement the following measures to     Interior.................  Yes, because it could not           1,050  Yes.\d\
 minimize the effects of project                                    be done prior to
 operations and associated shoreline                                licensing.
 erosion: (a) Identify eroding or
 potential project-induced erosion
 sites on project shorelines prior to
 beginning operation; (b) stabilize
 areas of shoreline erosion with
 native plants, bioengineering, slope
 flattening, toe armoring, and/or rip-
 rap which incorporates native
 vegetation plantings; (c) monitor
 shorelines after operation and
 implement stabilization techniques as
 necessary; and (d) conduct shoreline
 stabilization activities September-
 February to protect aquatic species
 and wildlife.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                Water Quality Monitoring
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Conduct Water quality monitoring for 1- Interior.................  No \e\...................           1,561  Yes.
 year at the impoundment during all
 proposed project operational
 drawdowns.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     Instream Flows
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Provide minimum seasonal instream       Interior, South Carolina   Yes......................          80,851  Not Adopted \f\ (see section 5.2).
 flows into the bypassed reach based     DNR, NMFS.
 on a MADF of 393 cfs. Seasonal flows
 to include:
[cir] 79 cfs--July-November...........
[cir] 118 cfs--May, June, and December
[cir] 157 cfs--January-April..........
Develop an instream flow study plan     NMFS.....................  Yes......................           6,244  Yes.\g\
 within 6-months of license issuance
 and implement the plan after spillway
 gate renovations are complete, in
 consultation with NMFS, Interior,
 South Carolina DNR.
Develop and implement a low inflow      South Carolina DNR,        Yes......................             390  Yes.
 protocol/drought contingency plan,      Interior.
 consistent with the South Carolina
 Water Plan including provisions for
 minimum flow requirements during
 drought periods.
Evaluate the feasibility and            Interior, South Carolina   Yes......................             546  Yes.\h\
 effectiveness of using sand gates to    DNR.
 provide minimum flows into the
 bypassed reach. Evaluation should
 include optimizing downstream habitat.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                Aquatic Species Measures
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Modify trash rack bar spacing at        Interior.................  Yes......................           1,171  Not Adopted \f\ (see section 5.2).
 headrace intake from 2.25 inches to 1
 inch to avoid and minimize fish
 entrainment and mortality.
South Carolina Conservation Species     Interior.................  No \e\...................           2,341  No.\i\
 study: Conduct comprehensive fish
 surveys of redeye bass, santee chub,
 piedmont darter, thicklip chub,
 greenfin shiner, notchlip redhorse,
 flat bullhead, snail bullhead.
 Conduct surveys before and after
 construction activities as well as 1
 year after construction is complete
 to provide status of above mentioned
 priority species. Survey areas are to
 include multiple habitats within
 bypassed reach.
Enhance and protect the panhandle       Interior.................  No \e\...................           \j\ 0  No (staff-recommended minimum flows would
 pebblesnail to include provisions of                                                                          maintain habitat).
 appropriate minimum flows in bypassed
 reach.

[[Page 76957]]

 
Conduct comprehensive invertebrate      Interior.................  No \e\...................             702  No.\i\
 surveys within the bypassed reach
 before and after construction, and
 one year after construction is
 complete. Surveys should be designed
 in consultation with South Carolina
 DNR, NMFS, South Carolina DHEC, and
 Interior.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                  Riparian Buffer Zone
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Implement BMPs to protect vegetation    South Carolina DNR,        Yes......................               0  Yes.
 within the project boundary, such as    Interior.
 limiting vegetation and ground-
 disturbing activities and maintaining
 a minimum of 25-foot-wide vegetated
 buffer zone on all shorelines within
 the project boundary.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\a\ The measure was adopted under the staff-recommended soil erosion control plan.
\b\ The measures were adopted under the staff-recommended sediment management plan.
\c\ The measures were adopted under the staff-recommended measure to conduct testing for contaminants in the impoundment sediments prior to beginning
  project refurbishment activities.
\d\ The measures were adopted under the staff-recommended shoreline stabilization plan.
\e\ Not specific measures to protect, mitigate, or enhance fish and wildlife resources.
\f\ Preliminary findings that recommendations found to be within the scope of section 10(j) are inconsistent with the comprehensive planning standard of
  section 10(a) of the FPA, including the equal consideration provision of section 4(e) of the FPA, are based on staff's determination that the cost of
  the measures outweigh the expected benefits.
\g\ This measure is accommodated as part of the flow distribution study to determine how best to distribute flows in the bypassed reach to protect
  aquatic resources, but not to determine appropriate flows.
\h\ This measure was adopted under the staff-recommendation flow release plan.
\i\ Preliminary findings that recommendations found to be within the scope of section 10(j) are inconsistent with the substantial evidence standards of
  section 313(b) of the FPA based on a lack of evidence to support the reasonableness of the recommendation or a lack of justification for the measure.
\j\ The measure is too vaguely defined to assign a cost and instream flow costs are included in the minimum instream flow recommendations.

5.5 Consistency With Comprehensive Plans

    Section 10(a)(2)(A) of the FPA,\58\ requires the Commission to 
consider the extent to which a project is consistent with the federal 
or state comprehensive plans for improving, developing, or conserving a 
waterway or waterways affected by the project. We reviewed 22 state and 
federal comprehensive plans that are applicable to the Riverdale 
Project, located in South Carolina. The project would be consistent 
with their provisions with the exception of the state Water Plan. As 
discussed in section 5.2, Comprehensive Development and Recommended 
Alternative, the Water Plan's minimum flow regime is based on flow 
studies that capture high (January-April), low (July-November), and 
increasing (December) or decreasing (May, June) flow periods in the 
South Carolina Piedmont (Bulak and Jobsis, 1989). The Water Plan states 
that periods of seasonal variation in flow are important because fish 
have evolved to spawn in synchrony with the hydrologic cycle. While 
true, there is currently no evidence that the fishes or invertebrates 
in the bypassed reach, or downstream from the tailrace require such 
variation in the annual flow regime to complete their life-cycle.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \58\ 16 U.S.C. Sec.  803(a)(2)(A).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Based on the Tennant (1976) method, Lockhart Power's proposed 
minimum flow of 60 cfs (16 percent of MADF) downstream of the tailrace 
and of 50 cfs (13 percent of MADF) into the bypassed reach would 
represent fair or degrading conditions during the dry season, and close 
to poor or minimum conditions during the wet season. However, a 
continuous minimum flow of 75 cfs (20 percent of MADF) year round would 
represent good conditions during the dry season and close to fair or 
degrading conditions during the wet season.
    In section 5.2 of this EA, we find that our recommended continuous 
minimum flow of 75 cfs provides the best balance between providing 
flows for generation and providing flows for aquatic resource 
protection.

Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. 1998. Interstate 
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January 1998.
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(Report No. 35). April 1999.
Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. 2000. Technical 
Addendum 1 to Amendment 1 of the Interstate Fishery Management Plan 
for shad and river herring. February 2000.
Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. 2009. Amendment 2 to 
the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for shad and river herring, 
Arlington, Virginia. May 2009.
Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. 2010. Amendment 3 to 
the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for shad and river herring, 
Arlington, Virginia. February 2010.
Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. 2000. Interstate 
Fishery Management Plan for American eel (Anguilla rostrata). 
(Report No. 36). April 2000.
National Park Service. 1993. The nationwide rivers inventory. 
Department of the Interior, Washington, DC 1993.
South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. 1985. 
Water classifications and standards, and classified waters. 
Columbia, South Carolina. June 1985.
South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. 1989. 
Assessment of non-point source pollution for the State of South 
Carolina. Columbia, South Carolina. April 1989.
South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. 1989. 
Nonpoint source management program for the State

[[Page 76958]]

of South Carolina. Columbia, South Carolina. April 1989.
South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation, & Tourism. 2008. 
South Carolina State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP). 
Columbia, South Carolina. April 2008.
South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation, & Tourism. The South 
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6.0 Finding of No Significant Impact

    Licensing the Riverdale Project would allow Lockhart Power to 
rehabilitate an existing, inoperable hydro facility and begin 
generating power. Project repairs and the addition of canoe portage 
facilities would result in some land-disturbing activities that would 
permanently affect a small amount of vegetation. Our recommended 
measures would ensure that erosion and sedimentation at the site is 
minimized. Providing minimum flows in the bypassed reach would ensure 
state water quality standards are met and aquatic habitat is 
maintained. Project operation and associated fish impingement and 
entrainment would result in some loss of resident fish in the Enoree 
River, but these would represent young fish and be comprised of highly 
prolific species that have the ability to compensate for losses. Native 
vegetation and wildlife within the project boundary would be preserved 
by limiting vegetation and ground-disturbing activities and maintaining 
a minimum 25-foot-wide forested riparian buffer on project shorelines. 
Public recreation opportunities would be improved in the project area 
and historic resources are protected for the life of the license.
    On the basis of our independent analysis, we find that issuance of 
a license for the Riverdale Project, with our recommended environmental 
measures, would not constitute a major federal action significantly 
affecting the quality of the human environment.

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8.0 List of Preparers

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Sarah Salazar--Project Coordinator, Geology and Soils, Terrestrial 
Resources, Threatened and Endangered Species (Environmental Biologist; 
B.A., Environmental Studies; M.S., Applied Ecology)
Allan Creamer--Water and Fisheries Resources (Fisheries Biologist; B.S. 
and M.S., Fisheries Science)
Jeanne Edwards--Water Resources (Environmental Biologist; B.S., 
Biology/Biochemistry; MM, Public Administration)
Rachel McNamara--Recreation and Land Use, Cultural Resources (Outdoor 
Recreation Planner; B.A., Public Policy/Environmental Studies; M.C.P., 
Land Use and Environmental Planning)
Adam Peer--Fisheries Resources (Fish Biologist; B.S. Biology; M.S., 
Fisheries Science; Ph.D., Marine, Estuarine and Environmental Sciences)
Michael Spencer--Need for Power, Engineering and Developmental Analysis 
(Civil Engineer; B.S., Civil Engineering)

Appendix A

    Fish lengths susceptible to impingement (shaded gray) and 
entrainment (shaded blue) as a function of burst swim speed. 
Horizontal dashed line is approach velocity and solid vertical line 
is minimum fish length susceptible to impingement. (Source: Staff).
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