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FERC completes favorable review of whitewater for North Fork Rogue (OR)

Posted: 10/18/2006
by Thomas O'Keefe

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) released their Final Environmental Assessment (EA) on the North Fork Rogue's Prospect Hydroelectric Project (P-2630). AW has been working on this project for the past few years with the assistance of volunteer Bill Cross who has represented AW.

The EA provides a favorable review of whitewater boating and proposes a three year study period to assess boating demand on this reach. During this time flows would be restored to the river on one weekend each in July, August, and September, and on the 4th of July and Labor Day. This will restore summer boating opportunities on the great class IV reach that begins with the Class V Avenue of the Boulders.

One of the most important conditions AW has worked for is access to the powerhouse. This would allow paddlers to access a take-out for the short class IV run which contains over a dozen great rapids. It will also provide put-in access to the wonderful scenic class III reach downstream of the powerhouse that offers opportunities for year around boating. While FERC originally rejected access at the powerhouse as "unsafe" they reversed this determination following comments we filed stating, "After reviewing additional information provided by American Whitewater in response to the draft EA, we find that most of the public safety concerns noted by us in the draft EA could be addressed with further planning and implementation of some additional design features (e.g., signage) as we discuss in section."

FERC further recommended that PacifiCorp provide daily flow information but not hourly real-time data that we requested. We always support reporting of hourly real-time data as this information provides boaters with the most useful information on trends. In addition hourly data gives the public a greater opportunity to monitor project operations. In many cases where we have been the primary group advocating for a gauge we find that soon other stakeholders realize the importance of realtime information for monitoring compliance with project flow requirements.

FERC must still issue a license for this project and make a final determination on recommendations in the EA, but our local volunteers should be proud of what we have accomplished so far. [read FERC's complete analysis]

Thomas O'Keefe
3537 NE 87th St.
Seattle, WA 98115
Phone: 425-417-9012

Associated Projects

North Fork Rogue (OR)
We worked to restore flows, provide public access, and made flow information available to provide boating opportunities on this river.

Associated Rivers