xamples of Accomplishments
Service participation in FERC’s hydropower licensing process has resulted in many benefi ts for the Nations fi sh and wildlife
resources. The following examples provide an overview of signifi cant contributions Service expertise in fi sh and wildlife
matters has made to resources affected by the construction and operation of hydropower projects.
Susquehanna River Projects, Pennsylvania
Four large hydropower projects block passage of anadromous fi sh to
historic spawning waters of the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania.
The Service was instrumental in convincing FERC to consolidate the
relicensing cases of all the hydro power projects in order to address
fi sh passage needs. Service biologists defi ned a long-term restoration
program for American shad which resulted in settlement agreements
with effected utilities.
From 1984 - 1993, cooperative efforts by utilities and government
agencies focused on rebuilding shad runs returning to the river.
Success in this effort led to the construction of a fi sh passage facility
at the lowermost dam and an agreement with the three remaining
utilities to complete fi sh passage at their dams. Once completed, shad,
river herring and other migratory fi sh will have to access to over 300
miles of spawning habitat in the Susquehanna River.
Otter Tail River Projects, Minnesota
In coordination with the Minnesota Department of Natural resources,
the Service recommends measures to improve fl ow conditions at fi ve
existing hydro projects on the Otter Tail River. Based on instream
fl ow studies conducted for the project, stable fl ow operations at four
of fi ve individual projects, and substantially increased fl ows in another
section of the river were included in the new license. As a result,
habitat conditions have been greatly improved for fi sh and other
aquatic species in over 24 miles of river.
Skagit Project, Washington
Service overview and input during 11 years of studies and negotiations
yielded agreements for protection, mitigation and enhancement of fi sh
and wildlife resources in relicensing of three dams on the Skagit River
in western Washington state. River fl ows will be increased and habitat
enhanced to benefi t salmon and other native river species. Over 500
acres of wildlife habitat will be preserved and ecosystem monitoring
and research are part of the plan. Additionally, eroded sites along
project reservoirs and roads will be stabilized and replanted with
Jordan Dam, Alabama
Based on Service recommendations, FERC required the power com-pany
to increase the minimum fl ow released below the Jordan Dam on
the Coosa River in Alabama. When the dam was built, approximately
eight miles of river became a series of ponds; fl ows needed to sustain
the endangered Tulotoma snail, paddlefi sh, and a trophy striped bass
fi shery were cut off. Fish numbers and diversity, and numbers of Tulo-toma
snails have increased with these fl ow releases.
Pit River Projects 3, 4, and 5, California
Negotiations with the developers of Pit 3, 4, and 5 Projects on the
Pit River in California will allow improved instream fl ows to support
restoration of bald eagle populations in the basin. Since initiation of
minimum fl ow releases below the Pit 3 dam, studies have document in-creased
numbers of fi sh favored by bald eagles and improved angling
success for rainbow trout.
Coneross Project, South Carolina
Studies, negotiation, and Service involvement resulted in increased
fl ows required by FERC. The fl ow regime allows for seasonal fi sh pas-sage,
fi sh habitat, and invertebrate production in a formerly dewa-tered
reach of Coneross Creek in South Carolina.
Stiles Dam, Wisconsin
The results of an instream fl ow study conducted cooperatively by the
Service and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources led to
substantial increases in minimum fl ow releases at the Stiles Dam on
the Oconto River in Wisconsin. Increased minimum fl ows and stabi-lized
reservoir levels will greatly improve habitat for many fi sh spe-cies,
including walleye, smallmouth bass, and steelhead.
Bradley Lake Hydroelectric Project, Alaska
The Service recommended measures to protect and restore fi sh and
wildlife at the Bradley Lake Hydroelectric Project in Kenai Mountains
of south central Alaska. Guidelines were developed to restore moose
and bear habitat disturbed by construction and to create nesting
habitat for waterfowl. Access roads were designed to avoid important
bald eagle nesting habitat to reduce impacts from construction
activities and to benefi t the salmon fi shery, a water by-pass system was
installed to protect spawning salmon in the lower Bradley River and
gravel mining sites were reclaimed to enhance fi sh habitat.
Salmon River Projects, Idaho
In the early 1980s, the Service petitioned FERC to consider the
cumulative impacts of multiple hydroelectric project developments
in the Salmon River basin. At one point, there are over 60 active
proposals to build hydropower projects on tributaries of the Salmon
River - most would have harmed anadromous and resident fi sh as well
as wildlife. Thanks to the cooperative efforts of a number of Federal
and State agencies and various Indian tribes, FERC chose to delay
licensing of most of these projects until a basin-wide environmental
impact statement considering cumulative impacts could be completed.
As a result, eight applications were denied because of the potential for
signifi cant environmental degradation. The others are still pending
New York State Dam, New York
The Service played a major role in assuring that a new license on the Mohawk River in New York addressed the protection
of public trust resources. Construction and operation of newly designed fi sh passage facilities combined with a program
of monitoring and operational modifi cations, provides for safe and effective downstream fi sh passage for large numbers of
anadromous blueback herring on the Mohawk River while avoiding project-related fi sh mortality’s.
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