Iowa State Fish and Wildlife License Recommendations (12-IA-a)
In addition to consulting with other federal, state, and tribal resource management agencies involved in the FERC licensing process, the IDNR also reviews proposed hydropower projects at US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) non-powered dams. The content on this page is limited in scope and was designed to consider hydropower development at USACE non-powered dams. Because USACE hydropower projects are not eligible for a FERC exemption, this page does not discuss FPA section 30(c), which authorizes state agencies to issue mandatory terms and conditions for hydropower projects which are exempt from FERC licensing requirements.
The Federal Power Act (FPA) requires FERC to consult with state agencies responsible for the oversight and protection of fish, wildlife, and botanical resources. 18 C.F.R. § 5.1(d); 18 C.F.R. § 4.38. The IDNR is the state agency charged with “protecting the environment, and managing fish, wildlife, and land and water resources” in Iowa. Iowa Code §455A.2. If a project is subject to FERC licensing, section 10(j) of the FPA authorizes the IDNR to issue recommendations to FERC to protect, mitigate damage to and enhance fish and wildlife resources. 16 U.S.C. § 803(j). FERC must consider the license recommendation(s) provided by the IDNR and may require that the recommendation(s) become mandatory condition(s) of the FERC license. 16 U.S.C. § 803(j).
State Fish and Wildlife License Recommendations Process
12-IA-a.1 – Initiate Section 10(j) Analysis
For hydropower projects subject to FERC licensing, section 10(j) of the FPA authorizes IDNR to issue recommendations to FERC in order to protect, mitigate damage to, and enhance those fish and wildlife species and their necessary habitat. 16 U.S.C. § 803(j).
IDNR initiates the FPA section 10(j) analysis by reviewing the administrative record and identifying the potential impacts of the hydropower project on fish and wildlife species and their habitat.
Several policies, statutes and regulations may guide the FPA section 10(j) recommendations provided by IDNR. These include:
- The Iowa Wildlife Action Plan;
- The Iowa Wildlife Diversity Program;
- Iowa Code §455A;
- Iowa Admin. Code § 571.52;
- Iowa Admin. Code § 571.54;
- Iowa Admin. Code § 571.77; and
- Iowa Admin. Code § 571.113
12-IA-a.2 to 12-IA-a.3 – Are Additional Documents or Studies Needed?
If the record is incomplete, IDNR may request that the developer provide additional documents. IDNR may also conduct studies to address information gaps concerning baseline values or potential impacts of the proposed project.
12-IA-a.4 to 12-IA-a.5 – Section 10(j) Recommendations
Based upon IDNR’s review of the hydropower project, IDNR works with the developer to formulate FPA section 10(j) recommendations for the FERC license. 16 U.S.C. § 803(j). In developing its FPA section 10(j) recommendations, IDNR considers and strives to maintain consistency with IDNR policies and the requirements of the federal Endangered Species Act, and the management plan for the affected area. IDNR’s recommendations may include measures addressing instream flow regimes, fish passage facilities, and/or vegetation and terrestrial wildlife management plans. Iowa Code § 455A.2
IDNR submits its FPA section 10(j) recommendations to FERC. FERC must consider and accept any recommendation from IDNR for the protection, mitigation, and enhancement of fish and wildlife affected by the project, unless FERC determines that:
- A recommendation is inconsistent with the purposes and requirements of the FPA or other applicable provisions of law; and
- The alternative conditions selected by FERC comply with the requirement to adequate protect, mitigate damages to, and enhance fish and wildlife. 16 U.S.C. § 803(j).
Once FERC issues a license, IDNR continues to monitor the project to ensure the developer’s compliance with any conditions relevant to the projection, mitigation, and enhancement of fish and wildlife. I.C. §455A.2.
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