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Bear River Narrows Hydroelectric Project, Twin Lakes Canal Company

STATUS: Prolonged Delay

TYPE: Hydroelectric

OPPOSITION: American Whitewater, Idaho Rivers United, Rocky Mountain Power, Local Opposition, Greater Yellowstone Opposition

PROSPECTS: Indeterminate

BACKGROUND: As of December 2006, the Twin Lakes Canal Company had begun the application to construct a new hydropower dam on Bear River. The project would create a 200-acre reservoir backing up to the Oneida Dam. Construction would cost about $45 million and create 28 permanent and 140 construction jobs.

Organizations such as Idaho Rivers United fought to prevent construction, asserting that the project would harm water quality, threaten fish habitat, and flood prime recreation territory. The Conservation Director for Idaho Rivers United commented that the dam would also result in a loss of families who enjoy the river for recreational activities. The Canal Commissioner contended that recreational benefits would remain and even be improved due to an additional 14 miles of fishable river created by the project. Opposition due to worries of harm to recreational territory remains nonetheless.

In October 2007, PacifiCorp Energy, operates another dam downstream from the proposed project, filed a motion with FERC requesting that the license application be dismissed and the preliminary permit be rescinded, contending that the proposed dam would conflict with its hydroelectric license and a Bear River restoration program it implemented as required by a 2003 settlement agreement. If FERC agrees the dam would impact PacifiCorp’s license and settlement agreement, the proposal would be struck down.  As of July 2010, FERC had yet to issue a decision.

SOURCES: Hydropower Reform Coalition: http://www.hydroreform.org/news/2006/12/15/new-dam-proposed-for-idahos-bear-river;
American Whitewater: https://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/Article/view/articleid/10328/display/full/;
Foundation for Water and Energy Education: http://www.fwee.org/news/getStory?story=1598;
Twin Lakes Final Proposal [March, 2009]

Last updated November 11, 2010