GRASS VALLEY, Calif. March 5, 2017 – NID’s Administrative Practices Committee is meeting tomorrow morning. The committee, composed of Board members Nick Wilcox and William Morebeck will discuss sending a letter to Congressman LaMalfa requesting he bring forward legislation to transfer ownership of six BLM parcels to NID. Five of the parcels (slightly over 210 acres) are located on the Bear River within the proposed Centennial Dam project and one 367-acre parcel would give NID ownership of the area surrounding Chicago Powerhouse.
“NID is requesting that legislation be developed that would authorize the transfer of these identified BLM parcels to NID. The legislation should also include a timeline for this transfer to take place,” the proposed letter to LaMalfa reads.
The landgrab, according to NID, is “necessary for the safe and controlled operations of existing and proposed NID projects and should therefore be under direct management by the NID.” The proposed Centennial Dam project is located between the existing Rollins and Combie Reservoirs.
It is unclear why NID wants ownership and control of the parcels. Once a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license is approved, private lands can be condemned via the eminent domain process – public lands are not subject to condemnation.
The proposed dam would be approximately 275 ft high and require the rerouting of Dog Bar Road and several smaller roads. Approximately 2,200 acres of land would be affected through inundation and construction activities related to the project, which includes over 6 miles of river channel, according to the Army Corps of Engineers notice of intent to prepare a draft environmental impact statement. The Draft EIS is expected to be available for public review and comment by January 2018.
NID’s Administrative Practices Committee meets on Tuesday, March 7 at 9:00 am in the Board Room at NID – 1036 W. Main Street in Grass Valley. The meeting is open to the public.
From the maps I’ve seen these BLM parcels are beyond the proposed reservoir’s most eastern boundary ‘take line’ and NID should explain publicly why it wants the parcels, as well as answering why U.S. taxpayers should be subsidizing Centennial Reservoir with a gift of free land.
If NID has valid reasons for needing the land then let’s figure out a quid pro quo for all of the watershed residents that will be impacted by drowning six miles of irreplaceable riparian habitat with a lake, and make that deal NID’s cost for the land. For instance, NID agreeing to build three reservoir access points on the Placer side might be a good starting point for negotiations. Doubtless folks on the Nevada County side would have their own concerns and ideas as well.
The 6 mile figure of Damn take of river is intentionally understated. Even NID has admitted to 6.7 miles, but when I put my ruler to a copy of their map from the Army Corp. scoping session, it measured more and does not take in to account the side creeks that are also riparian habitat. We should call it at least 7 miles of river, because their map shows taking below the dam site.
Down at this lower level, there is NO PUBLIC access to the Bear River to any of the Combie Reservoir that NID built in the 20’s. There access would have been easy. Not so upriver.
No mention of the ONLY campground that Placer County controls. This was a ‘gift’ to our county from PG&E. They did not give it to NID, but with this land-grab, NID can kill our campground along with the whole riparian paradise.
NID has not dredged ANY of it`s reservoirs, tacitly allowing each site to accumulate silt. Accumulated silt reduces acre-feet storage space, reducing each sites usefulness. Dredging the silt, in times of drought, may have prevented the need for additional reservoirs.
What NID fails to tell the public is that this accumulated silt is extremely contaminated with Mercury. Once these sites fill up with silt, NID will walk away, leaving WE, THE PEOPLE, the task of cleaning each one of NID`s abandoned “Super Fund Sites”.
Do you want another future “Super Fund Site” in your county? I would think not.
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