PUD Commission gets staff report on importance of coho program to Habitat Conservation Plan
The Chelan County PUD Board of Commissioners received a staff report at the Tuesday, Sept. 4, Commission meeting, outlining a proposal to enter into a long-term, 15-year contract with the Yakama Nation. Chelan PUD and the Yakama Nation have had an agreement for the past ten years to conduct a pilot program for the reintroduction of coho salmon into the Rock Island and Rocky Reach reservoirs.
“We have learned a lot during the past ten years,” Alene Underwood, PUD Fish & Wildlife manager told the Commission. “This contract would fully implement the pilot project we have had with the Yakamas and would give the PUD Habitat Conservation Plans (HCP) long-term certainty for protecting coho salmon. Our hatchery programs are a key element to our commitment of No Net Impact for salmon and steelhead migrating past Rock Island and Rocky Reach.”
Under the agreement, the Yakama Nation will continue its work to reestablish naturally spawning coho populations in the mid-Columbia tributaries to biologically sustainable levels and to provide significant harvest in most years. The 15-year cost of the program is $9.7 million.
“Resource stewardship is a fundamental value for the PUD,” added General Manager Steve Wright. “This agreement is the most cost effective option that that we considered and it guarantees our coho compliance for the full 15 years.”
The proposed contract provides for the PUD to join the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), along with Grant and Douglas PUDs to provide for the reintroduction of coho. It’s important to note that all of the signatories to the PUD’s HCP have endorsed this proposal.
The HCPs are an obligation Chelan PUD has to satisfy salmon and steelhead protection under its Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) licenses for Rocky Reach and Rock Island Dams.
Staff will be back on Sept. 17, to seek Commission approval.
In other business, commissioners:
- Continued deliberations on a new Blockchain/Cryptocurrency rate and charges. In today’s discussion, the staff presented options for a residential cryptocurrency mining rate in response to concerns expressed at previous public meetings from small-operation crypto-miners. (Start 43:30)
- Heard a staff report on continued conversations with the five cities and Chelan County on cryptocurrency zoning and planning. The PUD, cities and the county met in June to discuss concerns, especially safety concerns around cryptocurrency mining that could overload power equipment in residential neighborhoods. Meetings are continuing this fall to discuss PUD electrical capacity and the ability to serve organic growth that the County is experiencing; (Start 44:00 in the meeting audio)
- Received an update on setting new rates for businesses seeking to put equipment on PUD power poles. Changes in state law led to a review of the rates in place since 1999. Staff recommended setting an interim rate of $23.14 until two issues on a pending court appeal are resolved. Approval for the pole attachment rate will be part of the boards’ annual review of fees and charges in November; (Start 1:04:00)
- Approved an increase in the capital project budget for improvements at the Peshastin Wastewater Plan to meet new state requirements. Earlier bids exceeded the engineer’s estimate by more than 15 percent and were rejected. The budget is now, $4.86 million, up from $4.1 million due to the project taking more labor hours than originally estimated.
- Updated on Leavenworth PUD office hours. The office will be open Monday and Wednesday, 1 – 5 p.m., for customer service and bill paying. Due to the limited customer traffic, the PUD decided to reduce office hours. Customers still can drop off payments any time – or sign up for PowerPay online. Service crews will continue to work from the Leavenworth office.
- Announced that the Wenatchee Mayor and City Council would be joining the Commission Study Session on Monday, Sept. 17, at 10 a.m. to talk about parking issues in the quickly developing area along the riverfront and to seek solutions.
- Sept. 14-15 – Fiestas Mexicanas, Lincoln Park, Wenatchee
- Sept. 17 – Commission meeting, 10 a.m., boardroom, moratorium discussion at 1 p.m.
- Sept. 29 – County & PUD auction, 201 Easy Street, Wenatchee
- Oct. 1-6 – Public Power Week
- Oct. 1 – Commission meeting, 10 a.m., boardroom
- Oct. 3 – Public Power Week customer-owner Thank YOU!, 10-2 p.m., treats at Leavenworth office
- Oct. 5 – Public Power Week customer THANK YOU!, 10-2 p.m., treats at Chelan & Wenatchee offices
- Oct. 6 – Hydropower Celebration, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Pybus Public Market, Wenatchee
The next regular PUD commission meeting is at 10 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 17, in the boardroom at 327 N. Wenatchee Ave.
Chelan PUD records most commission meetings, and a link to the audio is available on the PUD’s home page at www.chelanpud.org. Find us on Facebook.com/ChelanPUD and follow us on Twitter @ChelanPUD.