Lake Creek Entrainment Study

Project Name: Lake Creek Project

Summary: Entrainment study to support relicensing

Client: Northern Lights, Inc.

Project Location: Troy, MT

Project Size: 4.5 MW

Services Provided:
•  Entrainment Study
•  Agency Consultation
•  Stakeholder Facilitation


Project Timeframe:
2009 - 2011

Relationship with Client: Since 2004

Client Needs:
As part of relicensing for the Lake Creek Project, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks requested that Northern Lights conduct an entrainment study to provide information for the preparation of a Biological Opinion regarding “take” of juvenile bull trout — a federally threatened species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1999. Relicensing the project was a federal action and required consultation pursuant to Section 7 of the ESA as the continued operation of the plant has the potential to entrain juvenile bull trout known to occur in the watershed.
 
Kleinschmidt Solution:
Northern Lights selected Kleinschmidt to design and implement the study to quantify the entrainment of juvenile bull trout through the Project’s intake and turbines. Kleinschmidt engineers designed a full depth entrainment net, frame, and live-box trap that was used to subsample fish entrained through the Project’s largest hydro unit. The net/ trap was deployed for one 24-hour period per week from May 1 to July 31 and from September 1 – October 31. The results of subsampling were extrapolated to non-sample periods to arrive at an annual entrainment estimate. The results of the study indicated that very few juvenile bull trout were entrained during project operations.
 
Client Benefits:
The study results allowed Northern Lights to document that the impact of project operations on federally-protected bull trout was limited. The study results also allowed the USFWS to issue a Biological Opinion and complete their environmental analysis of the proposed relicensing, which then allowed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to issue a new license for the Project.