Hydropower Relicensing Project

Hydropower generation activities from powerhouses and dams on the streams of the Sierra Nevada have an enormous impact on Sierran aquatic ecosystems.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is responsible for periodically relicensing hydropower facilities; and the relicensing process provides the only formal opportunity to mitigate negative impacts through new license conditions and settlement agreements.

With support from the Resources Legacy Fund Foundation's Preserving Wild California initiative, the Watershed Center has assembled a multidisciplinary team of experts to explore the development of new approaches to FERC relicensing.

The project is: examining legal and institutional barriers to change; exploring the possibilities of a more coordinated regional approach to relicensing; and seeking to forecast climate change impacts on the hydrology and ecology of the Sierran bioregion.

The goal of the project is to develop the technical tools to allow licensees, stakeholder groups, regulators and others to evaluate or promote alternative strategies or efficiencies in relicensing.