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Volume 2 (2002), Pages 81-105
Research Article

A Process for Evaluating Adverse Environmental Impacts by Cooling-Water System Entrainment at a California Power Plant

1Tenera Environmental, 225 Prado Road, Suite D, San Luis Obispo, CA, 93401, USA
2Columbia Basin Research, 1325 Fourth Ave., Suite 1850, Seattle, WA, 98101-2509, USA
3Tenera Environmental, 100 Bush Street, Suite 850; San Francisco, CA, 94104, USA

Received 15 November 2001; Revised 19 February 2002; Accepted 20 February 2002

Academic Editor: Joe Wisniewski

Copyright © 2002 C.P. Ehrler et al.


A study to determine the effects of entrainment by the Diablo Canyon Power Plant (DCPP) was conducted between 1996 and 1999 as required under Section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act. The goal of this study was to present the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (CCRWQCB) with results that could be used to determine if any adverse environmental impacts (AEIs) were caused by the operation of the plant’s cooling-water intake structure (CWIS). To this end we chose, under guidance of the CCRWQCB and their entrainment technical working group, a unique approach combining three different models for estimating power plant effects: fecundity hindcasting (FH), adult equivalent loss (AEL), and the empirical transport model (ETM). Comparisons of the results from these three approaches provided us a relative measure of confidence in our estimates of effects. A total of 14 target larval fish taxa were assessed as part of the DCPP 316(b). Example results are presented here for the kelp, gopher, and black-and-yellow (KGB) rockfish complex and clinid kelpfish. Estimates of larval entrainment losses for KGB rockfish were in close agreement (FH is approximately equals to 550 adult females per year, AEL is approximately equals to 1,000 adults [male and female] per year, and ETM = larval mortality as high as 5% which could be interpreted as ca. 2,600 1 kg adult fish). The similar results from the three models provided confidence in the estimated effects for this group. Due to lack of life history information needed to parameterize the FH and AEL models, effects on clinid kelpfish could only be assessed using the ETM model. Results from this model plus ancillary information about local populations of adult kelpfish suggest that the CWIS might be causing an AEI in the vicinity of DCPP.