Project Name: Saluda and Congaree Rivers Shortnose Sturgeon Support

Location: Columbia, SC

Client: South Carolina Electric & Gas

Services: Rare, Threatened and Endangered Species Assessment - Sturgeon

Project Summary:

Kleinschmidt served as Lead Consultant for SCE&G’s relicensing of the 203 MW Saluda Hydroelectric Project, located on the Saluda River near Columbia, SC. As part of that effort, Kleinschmidt provided endangered species consultation, including the federally endangered shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum) and Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrhynchus oxyrhynchus), a federal species of concern being considered as a candidate for federal listing. 

Kleinschmidt consulted extensively with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), SC Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) and National Marine Services (NMFS) regarding potential project impacts to sturgeon. Kleinschmidt developed a Rare, Threatened and Endangered Species Assessment which summarized the potential for sturgeon and other listed species to occur within the Project Area based on habitat availability and based on extensive searches of state, federal and NGO occurrence databases. 

Kleinschmidt also secured a NMFS Endangered Species Scientific Collecting Permit and performed a field study to document sturgeon presence and spawning in the lower Saluda River and upper Congaree Rivers downstream of the project. This effort included extensive consultation with state and federal resource agencies to develop a study scope that met agency data needs while remaining cost-effective for SCE&G. 

Both the Downstream Sturgeon Survey and the Rare, Threatened and Endangered Species Assessment were reviewed and approved by agencies and will form the information base for FERC’s interagency consultation with the USFWS and NMFS pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.  A mitigation plan was also completed, and incorporated into the project license.