FERC Denies Boating on the California Lower McCloud River

The McCloud River is perhaps the best Class 3/4 run in California. It has some of the finest forest scenery on any California river. Conservationists have been pushing the Forest Service to recommend it for Wild and Scenic status – over the objections of the timber industry and private fishing clubs.

While many boaters are familiar with the free flowing run on the McCloud River above McCloud Reservoir, relatively few people have been able to experience the lower McCloud. This is due to the fact that the waters of the upper McCloud, which are high enough to be boatable throughout the summer, are diverted by PG&E leaving a small fraction of that flow below the Dam. American Whitewater, a national non-profit organization dedicated to conserve and restore America’s whitewater resources has been working to restore more natural flows in the lower McCloud that would better protect the river and return some fraction of the boating opportunity that would have existed before this project was built in 1960.

Unfortunately, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has different plans. In the DEIS they are recommending to keep lower flows that are preferred by some anglers. In the DEIS FERC states, “Given the importance of the existing blue ribbon fishery in the Lower McCloud River, we give more weight to safe angling opportunities than to recreational boating.

Next week on September 9th the public will have an opportunity to provide comments to the  FERC at a public meeting in Redding, California. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement released by FERC does not recommend changing project operations to provide boating opportunities in the new license to PG&E.

If you live within driving distance of Redding, California please consider attending this public meeting.

Morning meeting:
Date:   September 9, 2010
Time:   9:00 am – 11:00 am
Place:  Holiday Inn Hotel, 1900 Hilltop Drive, Redding, CA

Evening meeting:
Date:   September 9, 2010
Time:   7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Place:  Holiday Inn Hotel, 1900 Hilltop Drive, Redding, CA

If you cannot attend the meeting, please write a comment letter to FERC and let them know how important it is to provide a more natural flow on the McCloud River.

Tell them that:

· there are few class III/IV wilderness runs and that paddlers deserve the opportunity to boat the McCloud.

· FERC needs to restore a more natural hydrograph that provides for boating opportunity in the spring.

· managing this river solely for angling is wrong and returning 1% of the boatable days is not too much to ask.

You have three options for filing comments with FERC:

  1. You can register directly on the FERC website <http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling.asp> and electronically file a formal comment under project docket P-2106-047. This option allows you to subscribe to the docket and follow the process. (please contact me if you would like additional assistance).
  2. You can file an eComment with FERC <http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/ecomment.asp> this is an option for short comments (less than 6,000 characters). File under docket P-2106-047. This option is simpler than filing a formal comment.
  3. You can file by mail using the address below. Please put in the subject line reference “FERC P-2106-047”.
    Please send letters ASAP and preferably before Tuesday, September 28, 2010.

Send letters to:

Ms. Kimberly D. Bose


Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

888 First Street, NE

Washington, DC 20426