NOE for Proposed Removal of Arroyo Toad and Sensitive Species Monitoring and
The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) are seeking a non-capacity license amendment to their FERC license for the South SWP Hydropower, FERC Project No. 2426, and an amendment to a previously issued Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification (WQC) related to the removal of the monitoring and reporting requirement on the collection of certain data for the federal Endangered Species Act listed arroyo toad (Anaxyrus californicus) and California red-legged frog (Rana draytonii), and other sensitive species in Piru Creek below Pyramid Dam. This requirement was made a condition in the State Water Resources Control Board’s (SWRCB) WQC and included in FERC’s approval of the natural flow regime that is contained in the operating guidelines of Article 52 in the existing FERC license and the WQC. This monitoring and reporting requirement is a water quality monitoring requirement adopted under the Porter Cologne Water Quality Control Act, and is not a mitigation monitoring requirement under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) or other condition adopted to meet the requirements of CEQA. This requirement was included in the WQC and FERC license to allow for the collection of information about the status of specific sensitive species in middle Piru Creek and to better understand how implementation of the Article 52 releases could affect these species. DWR has conducted annual monitoring surveys since 2010, and this monitoring has shown that the Article 52 releases, which are released to simulate the natural hydrograph of Piru Creek, are not having an adverse effect to arroyo toad or other sensitive species and that the flow releases, particularly in wet years, are enhancing aquatic habitat that benefits breeding arroyo toads and other aquatic species. The original intent of this monitoring and reporting required under the existing FERC license and WQC has been met, and continuing this monitoring is no longer warranted as confirmed through consultation with the SWRCB, the United States Department of the Interior Fish and Wildlife Service, and the United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. Removal of the monitoring and reporting requirement from the FERC license and the WQC will not lead to an expansion or any other changes to the existing use of the South SWP Hydropower facilities and will not result in any physical changes in the environment.