Prepare for a summer of helicopters over June Lake
On Monday, July 9 Southern California Edison (SCE) hosted a Project Scoping Meeting for their planned upcoming project on the Rush Creek hydroelectric system.
SCE owns and operates three dams in this system which are located 14 miles south of Mono Lake. The Rush Creek hydroelectric system is made up of the Agnew Lake Dam, Gem Lake Dam and Rush Meadows Dam on Waugh Lake.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) requires that SCE be able to control water levels in these lakes so that in the event of above average water accumulation or seismic activity, the public will be protected.
Seismic activity is a concern because of the dams’ proximity to the Silver Lake Fault, which runs along Highway 158; and the Hartley Spring Fault, which is 5 miles east, running roughly parallel to the Silver Lake Fault.
The project in question is focused around the Rush Meadows Dam. This concrete dam was built in 1925 and is 50 feet high and 463 feet wide. SCE intends to retrofit the dam by removing a 22-foot high by 12-foot wide notch at one end of the dam that is intended keep water levels in Waugh Lake safe for downstream residents in case of an earthquake. This modification will allow SCE to comply with FERC regulations.