Center for Biological Diversity: Endangered Earth - Online # 255

10/9/2000 869

FOSSIL CREEK VICTORY! AGREEMENT REACHED TO DECOMMISSION POWER PLANT, REMOVE DIVERSION DAM INFRASTRUCTURE AND RESTORE VEGETATION

After years of grassroots activity, legal notices and intense negotiations, the Center for Biological Diversity, a coalition of environmental groups and the Yavapai-Apache Nation have secured a legal agreement to restore water flows to Fossil Creek in central Arizona. Fossil Creek is fed by artesian springs at an amazing rate of 320 gallons per second, but for over 90 years, the Arizona Public Service Company (APS) has dammed the creek to feed the Childs-Irving hydropower plant. This has left the entire 14-mile length of the creek dry and the surrounding ecosystem damaged.

APS had applied to renew its dam license for 30 years, but under the terms of the agreement will withdraw the application. The power plant will be decommissioned by 12-31-04 and the site restored by 2009. Some minor structures will be left for historical reference, but the entire aboveground flume system, bridges, penstocks, and the top six feet of the dam including the intake structure will be removed. The maintenance road will be restored to a hiking trail and three small bridges will be removed to eliminate potential ORV routes. Underground tunnels will be fitted with bat friendly grates.

The final, legally binding agreement, including the how-to prescription, has been signed by APS, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Yavapai- Apache Nation, American Rivers, The Nature Conservancy, Northern Arizona Audubon Society, and the Arizona Riparian Council.

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