Our 40-year operating license at Carmen Smith, issued in 2019, includes 10 natural resource and recreation management plans and over 300 individual commitments. Over the coming years, we will be implementing these projects and ensuring that we remain in compliance. We will also be monitoring infrastructure and natural resources and making adjustments and repairs as needed over the life of our license.
Click on one of the following links below to learn more about our work around the Carmen Project.
To download the text of these plans or other FERC license information, please click here.
Fish, hydrology and water quality
We are working to provide passage for federally threatened bull trout and Chinook salmon so they can move safely past Trail Bridge Dam. In our project reservoirs and nearby waterways, we will monitor populations of native trout and return historic fish spawning and feeding areas to a more natural environment. Click here to watch a video of fish spawning gravel being added to the McKenzie River below Tamolitch Falls.
We precisely control how fast and how much water we move through our hydropower project. This supports survival of fish at different life stages, in addition to other aquatic life that live in the nearby waterways. Please click here to learn about our requirements around reservoir surface elevations, minimum water releases, and rates of change.
We will monitor water quality throughout the project, including dissolved oxygen, temperature, turbidity and total dissolved gas. These metrics will help us understand and protect the aquatic environment, which in turn benefits all animals, including humans.
We will be enhancing biodiversity on more than 300 acres of terrestrial wildlife habitat by encouraging native plant species, preserving mature trees, and promoting understory development. Over 100 acres of the total will be dominated by native grasses, shrubs, small trees and snags, for the life of the 40-year license. This type of habitat provides food, shelter, nesting and perches for many species including elk, Wilson's Warbler, woodpeckers, bats, and birds of prey. Native plants in turn increase native insect populations, which supports many other species.
We monitor Bald Eagles in the area and use current knowledge to minimize impacts to protected wildlife. We installed "flight diverters" on our transmission lines where they cross water bodies to help birds that are flying over the water to see the thin power lines and avoid mid-air collisions.
Recreation facilities and public education
We partner with the Willamette National Forest to provide the public with camping, hiking, fishing, educational, and wildlife observation opportunities around the Carmen Project. In 2019, we completed an historical rehabilitation of Ice Cap Creek Campground and day use area. Over the coming years, we will be continuing similar rehabilitation at other recreation sites located around the hydropower project: Trail Bridge Campground and day use area, Smith Reservoir day use area, Lakes End Campground, Beaver Marsh wildlife observation site, and the Carmen Diversion Reservoir day use area.
Invasive plant species cause a number of ecological problems. These plants outcompete native species, which can make it difficult for animals that prefer to eat native plants or insects to survive. Since 2009, we have worked to remove invasive plant species and encourage native plants to thrive. When native plants have difficulty growing back, we will selectively plant natives that are also culturally significant to American Indian Nations, whose ancestors traveled through this area before the 1860s.
We also monitor populations of rare plants and lichens that occur in the Carmen-Smith Project area, to ensure that EWEB's power generation activities are co-existing with uncommon plants.
We are committed to protecting archaeological artifacts and important cultural sites that occur around Carmen-Smith. Over the coming years, we will be monitoring and evaluating these sites for eligibility on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Carmen-Smith hydropower project as a whole is eligible for listing in the NRHP. As a result, we take care to preserve the existing form and integrity of the built structures whenever possible.
Transmission line management
We manage our Carmen transmission line for safety and wildlife habitat simultaneously. Several of the projects listed above, such as removing invasive species, topping tall trees to create snags, and encouraging low-growing plants for wildlife takes place underneath our transmission line. We also relocated 5 power line poles out of Deer Creek to the opposite side of Deer Creek Road. This reduces impacts to birds, aquatic wildlife, and improves water quality in this riparian area, allowing riparian trees to grow and shade Deer Creek.
Roads, waste areas and staging areas
We partner with the Willamette National Forest to ensure that we follow the most current Forest Service standards for developing, using and maintaining roads, waste areas and staging areas. We store things like boulders, gravel, logs and construction materials in these areas. We will be using these resources heavily in the coming decade, as we implement both natural resource and infrastructure projects.
Fire response and suppression
We partner with the Willamette National Forest to minimize risk of fire and develop current protocols for responding to a fire. We keep defensible space around project structures and maintain fire safety standards inside vehicles and our built structures. We will also be assessing our transmission line for areas where we can improve our fire defense.