Industries Environmental Documents
Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Toledo Bend Hydroelectric Project (P-2305-036)
Issued: June 14, 2013
Commission Staff prepared a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the relicensing of the Sabine River Authority of Texas and Sabine River Authority, State of Louisianaís (Authorities) existing 81-megawatt (MW) Toledo Bend Project No. 2305-036. The Authorities filed its relicensing application on September 30, 2011.
The existing project is located on the Sabine River between river mile (RM) 147 and RM 279, affecting lands and waters in Panola, Shelby, Sabine, and Newton Counties, Texas, and De Soto, Sabine, and Vernon Parishes, Louisiana. The project occupies lands within the Sabine National Forest in Texas and the Indian Mounds Wilderness Area, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture--Forest Service. The Authorities propose to install a minimum flow turbine that would increase the projectís capacity to 82.3 MW.
Settlement agreements were reached with the Forest Service on recreation, shoreline erosion, and invasive species and with the other stakeholders on aquatic issues.
The DEIS recommends adopting most of the provisions of the settlements, including increased minimum flows in the spillway channel, decreases in maximum flow releases from the powerhouse, supplemental weekend releases, eel passage, cofferdam monitoring to maintain downstream dissolved oxygen levels, invasive plant control on Forest Service lands, erosion monitoring on Forest Service lands, and a Forest Service Recreation Facilities Plan. The DEIS also recommends the Authoritiesí proposed plans for Recreation Management, Shoreline Management, and Historic Properties Management that are not part of the settlement.
The DEIS recommends the following modifications to settlement measures: (1) decreases in maximum flow releases should begin upon license issuance instead of issuance of a new power sales agreement; (2) additional cofferdam monitoring should include bathymetric surveys; and (3) the Authorities should be responsible for invasive plant control instead of paying Forest Service $20,000 annually. Additional staff-recommended measures include increased whitewater boating access to the spillway channel, invasive plant control and erosion monitoring on lands owned by the Authorities, and bald eagle protection measures.
In the draft EIS, Commission staff recommended the staff alternative, which consists of measures included in the Authoritiesí proposal, as well as the mandatory conditions and recommendations made by state and federal agencies and non-governmental organizations, and some additional measures developed by the staff.
Comments on the draft EIS is due on or before August 5, 2013.
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