Wallace Dam FERC Licensing Support
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Georgia Power’s 321-megawatt Wallace Dam Project is a pumped storage facility that includes 19,050-acre Lake Oconee and uses Lake Sinclair, a separately licensed FERC project, as the lower reservoir.

The facility requires a relicensing, and as part of the process, key issues must be analyzed, including summer dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations in the tailrace, reservoir sport fish habitat, fish entrainment, shoreline erosion threatened and endangered species, recreation facilities and access, and cultural resources. The project occupies U.S. Forest Service (FS) lands within Oconee National Forest and, therefore, is subject to mandatory license conditioning authority of FS under Federal Power Act Section 4(e).

Geosyntec's Scope of Services

Geosyntec managed the environmental resource studies, documentation, and process-related activities for the relicensing of Wallace Dam. Under the Integrated Licensing Process, Geosyntec prepared the pre-application document, developed the FERC-approved study plan, and managed the resource studies, including shoreline surveys, water quality monitoring, fish and aquatic resources, recreation surveys, land use, and cultural resources. Geosyntec scientists participated in stakeholder informational meetings, FERC’s public scoping meetings and site visits, the study plan meeting, the study results meeting, and additional consultation.

As part of the resource studies, we deployed and maintained a continuous water quality monitoring buoy in the tailrace. The data collected was used to assess alternative aeration methods for improving summer DO concentrations in the tailrace. Geosyntec worked with Georgia Power to develop the preliminary licensing proposal and prepared Exhibit E (environmental report) of the final license application. Our team provided water quality modeling expertise to assist with potential mitigation of water quality issues for the Integrated Licensing Process (ILP). Geosyntec provided post-filing support to respond to additional information requests, reviewed FERC’s draft NEPA document and agency and stakeholder comments and supported negotiations concerning agency Section 10(j) enhancement recommendations and Section 4(e) mandatory conditioning interests of FS.

Notable Accomplishments

Geosyntec’s FERC understanding and experience have contributed to successful implementation of continuous tailrace water quality monitoring, a desktop fish entrainment evaluation that avoids the need for site-specific field studies, and positive agency relationships toward the goal of reaching agreements on reasonable license terms and conditions that will protect the crucial power benefits of the project.

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Project Summary

  • Location: Oconee, Georgia
  • Client: Georgia Power
  • Project Practice Areas: Water and Natural Resources
  • Type of Facility: Dam
  • Services Provided: FERC Hydro Relicensing; Integrated Licensing Process; Agency and Stakeholder Consultation, Pre-application Document; Water Quality Monitoring; Fish Entrainment Evaluation; Impacts Analysis; FERC License Application
  • Type of Work: Licensing Support
  • Governing Regulation: State