Yadkin Project Issue Advisory Groups:


Project Relicensing Update:


Over the past year, all seven of the Yadkin Project Issue Advisory Groups (IAG) have met two or more times to discuss resource issues, develop study plans, implement studies, and review data. For your information, we have summarized the progress of each IAG to date below. As we enter our second field study season, Yadkin anticipates the completion of a majority of the resource studies and the beginning of the review of data and draft study reports with the IAGs.


To bring everyone up to date on the work completed by all of the IAGs and to discuss future phases of the relicensing process, Yadkin is tentatively scheduling a joint meeting of all IAG participants for the afternoon of May 4, 2004 . Other scheduled IAG meetings are listed below:


May 4, 2004 Water Quality IAG

May 4, 2004 Full IAG Meeting

May 5, 2004  Recreation, Aesthetics, and Shoreline Management


1.      County Economic Impacts IAG


During 2003, the County Economic Impacts IAG met on March 14 and November 5 (final meeting summaries are available on Yadkin’s website at www.alcoa.com/yadkin). The County Economic Impacts IAG was formed to consider the value of the Yadkin Project as a tourism resource, a natural/environmental resource, a generating resource and its potential economic impact to the surrounding five counties. During this time, the IAG raised issues of interest about the Project reservoirs and associated economic impacts in the five surrounding counties (including reservoir related businesses, property values, and recreation). At the November meeting, Yadkin introduced Research Triangle Institute (RTI) as the consultant that would study these issues. RTI discussed a proposed study outline with the IAG and has, based on IAG input, developed a draft study plan for the Surrounding Counties Economic Impact Study. The draft study plan was discussed at the most recent IAG meeting in February 2004 and is being finalized based on comments received from the IAG. RTI is currently in the data collection phase of its work, and will begin to use selected methods and models to analyze impacts in the summer of 2004.


2.      Cultural Resources IAG


The Cultural Resources IAG met on August 27 and November 5, 2003 to discuss the National Register of Historic Places Eligibility Study being conducted by Thomason and Associates (final meeting summaries are available on Yadkin's website). This study also includes a cultural landscape component. We anticipate that Phil Thomason will be prepared to present some preliminary results to the IAG in May 2004.


Also at the request of the US Forest Service, Yadkin is currently considering some archaeological survey work at several dispersed recreation areas around the Project reservoirs.  Yadkin has consulted further with the USFS on this issue and will be preparing a draft study plan within the next few months.


3.      Fish and Aquatics IAG


The Fish and Aquatics (RTE Aquatic) IAG met several times during 2003 on March 12, April 9, and October 7 (final meeting summaries are available on Yadkin's website). The IAG met most recently on February 3, 2004 . Over the past year, Normandeau Associates has made good progress on the Reservoir Fish and Aquatic Habitat Assessments, the Tailwater Fish and Aquatic Assessment, and the Fish Entrainment Study. Normandeau completed habitat mapping at Narrows and High Rock reservoirs in December 2003 and January/February 2004 respectively. Reservoir habitat mapping on Tuckertown and Falls reservoirs will continue through June 2004. Normandeau also conducted tailwater fish, macroinvertebrate, and mussel sampling in August and November 2003. They plan to complete the tailwater sampling this spring. Normandeau is also nearing completion of the Fish Entrainment Study, and a draft study report is expected to be available in the second quarter of 2004.


At the most recent Fish and Aquatics IAG meeting, the IAG also began discussing the Habitat Fragmentation Study. The state and federal resource agencies are currently considering possible study methodologies. The proposed Habitat Fragmentation Study will be discussed further at the meetings in May 2004.


4.      Water Quality IAG


During 2003, the Water Quality IAG met on March 13, May 20, and October 7 (final meeting summaries are available on Yadkin's website). At these meetings, the IAG finalized study plans for the Water Quality Monitoring Study and the Sediment Fate and Transport Study. The IAG met most recently on February 3, 2004 to start reviewing some preliminary temperature and dissolved oxygen data from the continuous monitors below all four Project dams. The monthly reservoir water quality sampling is now complete; however, continuous monitoring below High Rock, Narrows, and Falls dams will continue in 2004 (May through November).


Normandeau and PB Power continue to make progress on the Sediment Fate and Transport Study and we anticipate a draft study report being available during the second quarter.


The Water Quality IAG plans to meet again on May 4, 2004 to review Normandeau's water quality data analysis and discuss plans for possible investigations, during the summer of 2004, of potential mechanical and operational alternatives for increasing tailwater dissolved oxygen levels.


5.      Wetlands, Wildlife, and Botanical


The Wetlands Wildlife, and Botanical IAG met on March 13, April 25, and October 8, 2003 (final meeting summaries are available on Yadkin's website) to finalize study plans for the following studies: Wetland and Riparian Habitat Assessment; Transmission Line and Project Facility Habitat Assessment; Invasive Exotic Plant Species Inventory; RTE Species Inventory, and Avian Inventory. The IAG also met on February 3, 2004 .


Normandeau Associates has finished photo-delineating wetlands and upland land use at the Project and plans to ground-truth the data in 2004. Also in October 2003, Normandeau Associates examined, in the field, newly established vegetation in High Rock Reservoir. Normandeau is also finalizing the RTE species list based on comments received from the IAG and will begin species surveys in spring 2004. Normandeau will also complete field work for the T-line and Project Facility Habitat Assessment and the IEPP Species Inventory in 2004.


At the October IAG meeting, Dana Bradshaw, Center for Conservation Biology, reviewed the results of the 2003 Bald Eagle and Great Blue Heron surveys. Dana will also be conducting field surveys for the Avian Inventory this year.


6.      Recreation, Aesthetics, and Shoreline Management


The Recreation, Aesthetics, and Shoreline Management IAG met several times during 2003 (March 13, April 10, July 9, and October 8) to finalize study plans for the Recreation Use Assessment, Recreation Facility Inventory and Condition Assessment, Recreation Economic Impact Study, Shoreline Management Plan Comparison, Overall Project Aesthetic Study, and the Uwharrie National Forest Aesthetic Study (final meeting summaries and study plans are available on Yadkin's website).  Yadkin plans to work with the IAG on a study plan for the Regional Recreation Evaluation during the first half of this year. The IAG met most recently on February 4, 2004 and were updated on the status of studies. 


ERM has been collecting recreation use data (visitor spot counts and use surveys, resident use surveys etc.) for almost a year. ERM will continue to collect use data through April 2004. ERM will use the recreation expenditure data collected in these surveys to determine the impacts of recreation on the economy. ERM has identified many Key Observation Points for the Overall Project Aesthetics Study and has documented these KOPs during the fall and winter 2003. These KOPs will also be photographed this spring. Draft study reports for these studies will be available during the second half of this year.


LVA is continuing work on the Recreation Facility Inventory and SMP Comparison Study. Preliminary data from the SMP Comparison Study was presented at the February 2004 meeting and draft study report is anticipated to be available to the IAG in March 2004.


7.      Operations Model


In 2003, the Operations Model IAG met on March 14, September 4, and November 6 (final meeting summaries are available on Yadkin's website). PB Power and Hydrologics have been working with the IAG to explain how the OASIS model for use in the Yadkin Project relicensing is being developed, how the model operates, and what data inputs are being used. At the request of the IAG, Yadkin continues to pursue discussions with Progress Energy about the OASIS and CHEOPS models and the input data sets to be used.