Recommended Changes to the Permit
D R A F T
This post summarizes my personal thoughts about what should be done to the renewal of the water appropriations permit issued to Brookfield Renewables, Inc. by MDE to operate the Deep Creek Hydro project. Other posts on this website are in support of these conclusions. They will be elaborated upon after providing the summary.
The current “water appropriations and use permit” under which the Deep Creek Hydro Project, owned and operated by Brookfield Renewables Inc., is operating, is coming up for renewal in April of 2019. The MDE permit under which they currently operate is Permit # GA1992S009 (08)”, which is version 8, the current (Jan 2018) valid version of the permit. The language in the permit talks about the privileges that the white water rafters and fisheries are entitled to, but never mentions the entitlement(s) of property owners around Deep Creek Lake or the Deep Creek watershed, who, by far, contribute much greater to the economy of Garrett County. It seems only fair that this imbalance must be addressed in a more equitable way.
I have performed various kinds of analyses and documented the assumptions and results on this website to support the following proposed modifications to the permit, the specific language to be developed by MDE/DNR. Following these proposals is a discussion that goes into much more detail and references various blog entries on this website to support the conclusions.
The proposed changes are:
Extend the current lower rule band at the end of July to the end of August, and from there let it fall down in a straight line to the beginning of December. This would extend the boating season for many people at the Southern end of the lake. If the water is managed properly this adjustment should have no affect on white water opportunities.
The upper rule band from the months of September through the following year April can be held at 2460 ft ASL. This will provide plenty of potential water storage capability while minimizing shoreline erosion. Shoreline erosion will happen regardless. The new proposed rule bands are shown in Figure 1,
TER releases should be eliminated. The minimal fishing that occurs in the Youghiogheny River from the tail race of the Deep Creek Hydro Project to the Sang Run River bridge does not warrant the complexities and unreliability of the current TER protocol and the cost of stocking fingerlings in this part of the river. If drought conditions occur, they would have also been present in the tributaries that feed the river prior to the formation of the lake. Fish will survive! People will survive!
Under no circumstances shall the lower rule band be violated. Should water levels predicted to go below the lower rule band based on anticipated commitments for white-water uses, white-water releases should be suspended (Note that TERs are no longer a consideration). The term ‘predicted’ will be elaborated upon later on by a detailed description of a Water Allocation Methodology (WAM).
Make the mandatory schedule for white water releases an optional schedule to be used with a water allocation methodology (WAM). It is anticipated that in general more white water releases can be scheduled in a more predictive manner.
The permit should contain language that the property owners around the lake have a significant say in the operating parameters of the permit.
The permit should be made reviewable every three years, with possibilities of minor adjustments, and renewable every 10 or 20.
Details and expanded rationale to follow using much of the information published on this website….
First Published: 1/3/2018
Script Collection: NONE
FILE: 1-3-2018-Recommended Changes to the Permit.md
Adapted for this website: 1/3/2018