Geosyntec provided environmental and document preparation services for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) relicensing of Georgia Power’s 173-MW Bartletts Ferry Hydroelectric Project using the Integrated Licensing Process (ILP). The project consists of a dam, two powerhouses, and 5,850-acre Lake Harding on the Chattahoochee River along the Georgia-Alabama border. The project is situated in the Apalachicola- Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) Rivers basin, where contentious interstate issues regarding water allocation have persisted for decades. The project’s operations are substantially influenced by an upstream federal reservoir.
Geosyntec’s Scope of Services
As the lead relicensing consultant, Geosyntec prepared the Preliminary Licensing Proposal (PLP) based on input gained from Georgia Power’s pre-filing consultation with a diverse group of interstate stakeholders and by applying the information generated from 10 resource studies conducted under the FERC-approved study plan. Key issues evaluated included effects of continued operations on shoreline erosion and sedimentation; summer dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations in the tailrace; downstream minimum flow releases; reservoir levels; water supply, withdrawals, and wastewater assimilation in project-affected waters; drought operations; fish turbine entrainment; shoal bass habitat; striped bass summer habitat; upstream fish passage; exotic invasive vegetation; recreational access; and cultural resources.
Based on stakeholder comments received on the PLP and close collaboration with Georgia Power’s relicensing team, Geosyntec prepared Exhibit E (Environmental Report) of the final FERC license application to provide an environmental analysis by resource area of the continuing and incremental impacts of continuing to operate the project. Geosyntec prepared Exhibit E in the form of an applicant-prepared environmental assessment (EA). Exhibit E included Georgia Power’s proposed environmental enhancement plans and proposed license articles covering project operation, project operations compliance, summer DO enhancement in the tailrace, and water quality monitoring. Georgia Power filed the final license application.
Geosyntec’s analysis of resource issues and stakeholder recommendations in Exhibit E led FERC to conclude in its EA that a new license for the project would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. FERC adopted Georgia Power’s proposal for continued project operation and environmental enhancement measures, with few FERC staff-recommended modifications and additions.