|United States||Forest||Washington Office||14th & Independence SW|
|Department of||Service||P.O. Box 96090|
|Agriculture||Washington, DC 20090-6090|
|File Code:||1570-1(L) 03-13-00-0385-A215|
|Date:||March 11, 2003
|Celeste Cantu, Executive Director State Water Resources Control Board P.O. Box 100 1001 I Street Sacramento, CA 95812-0100|
Dear Ms. Cantu:
We have completed our review of the issues raised in your January 23, 2003, appeal regarding the decision made by Gilbert Espinosa for Regional Forester (RF) Jack A. Blackwell establishing the final 4(e) conditions for relicensing the Crane Valley Hydroelectric Project, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) No. 1354, administered by the Sierra National Forest. The Decision Notice (DN) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) dated December 10, 2002, adopts the analysis and supplemental environmental assessment (SEA) issued by FERC with proposed changes for mitigation and Federal Power Act section 4(e) conditions.
This review was conducted in accordance with 36 CFR Part 215 of the Secretary of Agriculture’s Appeal Regulations. In accordance with 36 CFR 215.16, an informal disposition meeting was held on February 11, 2003, in Sacramento, California. There was no resolution to the issues at the informal disposition meeting concerning Condition Nos. 4, 6, and 8. However, the Forest reached agreement with you on changes that you proposed to Condition No. 3.
In accordance with 36 CFR 215.19, the Appeal Reviewing Officer (ARO) has reviewed the appeal and written a recommendation on the disposition of the appeal. As support to this response, I hereby adopt the enclosed ARO’s February 25, 2003, recommendations.
Based upon my review of the appeal, the arguments presented in your appeal, interested party comments, the ARO’s recommendation, the RF’s decision is affirmed. No additional evidence or data have been provided to indicate that the process used by the Forest Service, including the National Environmental Policy Act process, was legally flawed. Accordingly, I find that all issues raised in your appeal were adequately addressed in FERC’s SEA and/or the DN and FONSI. I also find the decision to be consistent with all applicable laws, regulations, and Forest Service policies relevant to relicensing of hydroelectric projects.
My decision on this appeal constitutes the final administrative determination of the Department of Agriculture (36 CFR 215.18).
/s/ Gloria Manning
Appeal Deciding Officer
Regional Forester, R-5
David P. Boergers, Secretary, FERC, 888 First St., N.E., Washington, DC 20426 (8 copies)
Cindy Whelan/ r5
Caring for the Land and Serving People