At their May 19, 2010 meeting the Governing Board determined that the Bear River Hydroelectric Project meets the LIHI Certification Criteria. In reaching its decision the board reviewed the application for certification, as well as the Application Reviewer’s report and recommendations. LIHI received no public comments on this application.

LIHI certification for the Bear River Hydroelectric Project is granted for five-year term beginning on 31 December 2009 with two Project Specific Conditions:

• Provide LIHI the annual results of the Creel and Macro invertebrate Studies required under Article 407, as approved on 14 June 2005 by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) as identified in the Black Canyon Monitoring Study Plan. As noted in the Plan, the seven year study period would cover investigation of potential impacts during year 1 (2004), during opportunistic whitewater flows during years 2-4 (2005 – 2007) and of scheduled white water releases (assuming such flows would begin in 2008) during years 5-7 (2008-2010).

• (Optional) In reviewing the watershed protection information the Application Reviewer recommended that the LIHI Board award the Bear River project an extra three years of certification because of the Applicant’s watershed protection efforts. The Board discussed the recommendation but did not come to an agreement and asked whether the Applicant is interested in seeking the extra three years. If they are the Board asks PacifiCorp to supply supporting information.

The 107MW Bear River project (FERC No. 20) is located in Southeast Idaho in Caribou and Franklin Counties, and is partially located on US lands administered by BLM. The Bear River Project is largely dependent on the Bear Lake Irrigation Project to pump water from Bear Lake into the lower river during the irrigation season. During drought years the Bear River Project may generate at less than full capacity due to lack of water in the river.

Construction of the Bear River Project was authorized by the US Secretary of Interior in 1907 for irrigation, flood control and hydroelectric generation. Construction of the dams began in 1909 and was completed in 1927. Utah Power acquired water rights from various holders during these years in exchange for perpetual contracts to deliver certain amounts of irrigation water released from Bear Lake. Water rights were further defined by court decrees, the Bear River Compact (as revised), and other subsequent agreements.

The Bear River Project consists of:

• The Soda Development – a 103ft-high concrete dam, the Soda reservoir (Alexander Reservoir), and a powerhouse with a total installed capacity of 14MW.

• The Grace Development – a 51ft-high timber crib dam, a 250 acre forebay, a 26,000ft-long flowline, and a powerhouse with a total installed capacity of 33MW.

• The Cutler Development – a 109ft-high concrete gravity arch dam, a 1000ft-long flowline, and a powerhouse with total capacity of 30MW.

• The Oneida Development – a 111ft-high concrete dam, the Oneida reservoir, a 2240ft-long flowline, and a powerhouse with a total installed capacity of 30MW.

Related Articles
Spotlight … North America