FERC and the SMP

FERC and the Shoreline Management Plan

GRDA has put together a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) related to the Shoreline Management Plan and Order Approving the Plan. The response to those questions are provided below for your information:

Why is the federal government involved in the management of Grand Lake?
The Federal Power Act created a federal agency known as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). This federal agency is an independent regulatory agency that regulates and oversees energy industries for the protection ofeconomical, environmental, and safety interests of the American public. FERC is responsible for licensing and inspecting private, municipal, and state hydroelectric projects. . FERC’s authority applies to the lands, waters and structures within the FERC hydropower project boundary.

What is a project boundary?
When FERC projects were/are built, all licensees are required to designate a “project boundary” which is a line enclosing the lands, waters, and structures needed to operate a licensed hydroelectric project. The project boundary does not define the ownership of the land, it simply defines what land is included and managed by the Pensacola Project license. Ownership of the land around Grand Lake is based upon a metes and bounds description, not the 750’ elevation, and only a survey can determine ownership of land.

Why is Grand Lake also referred to as the Pensacola Project?
In 1939, the federal government issued a hydropower license for the Grand Lake O’The Cherokees. The hydropower project at Grand Lake was issued a license as the Pensacola Project P-1494. The GRDA operates Grand Lake according to the provisions contained in its hydropower license.

What is a flowage easement and who controls that land within the flowage easement?
A flowage easement allows the holder of the easement to inundate the land described in the easement with water. On Grand Lake, the flowage easement is generally owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have specific flood rights over private property in conjunction with the regulation of lake levels during high flow events (i.e., when the water level is 745-755 ft).

What is a Shoreline Management Plan?
A Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) is a comprehensive plan to manage the multiple resources (i.e., recreation, land use, aquatic habitat, terrestrial, cultural, etc) and uses of the project’s shorelines in a manner that is consistent with license requirements and hydropower project purposes and addresses the needs of the public. A SMP is the “road map” to help GRDA reach its “vision”–its destination of managing the Grand Lake shoreline now and in the future. GRDA, along with interested stakeholders developed this “vision” for Grand Lake.

What is the U.S. Corps of Engineers involvement in the SMP?
Because the U.S. Corps of Engineers has a flowage easement and directs the lake levels of Grand Lake once water has reached elevation. 745, the U.S. Corps of Engineers participation in the development of a shoreline management plan was essential. Further, for certain activities within the lake and within the flowage easement require direct consultation with the U.S. Corps of Engineers.

Has the Shoreline Management Plan been approved by FERC?
The GRDA submitted its application to approve its proposed Shoreline Management Plan to FERC on July 21, 2008. On October 17, 2013, FERC issued an Order Modifying and Approving the Shoreline Management Plan. The Order requires GRDA to make further modifications to the SMP. The public should periodically check the GRDA website for updated versions of the SMP.

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