UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION

In re:                                                  )

FirstLight Hydro Generating Company                     )       Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage Project, No. 2485-073

 

MOTION TO INTERVENE AND COMMENTS

OF THE

CONNECTICUT RIVER WATERSHED COUNCIL, INC.

IN THE ABOVE APPLICATION

FOR TEMPORARY AMENDMENT OF MINIMUM AND MAXIMUM RESERVOIR ELEVATION REQUIREMENT

 

 

The Connecticut River Watershed Council, Inc. (herein “CRWC”) hereby moves for leave to intervene to the above referenced application for amendment of license filed by FirstLight Hydro Generating Company on September 16, 2016, pursuant to the Notice dated October 20, 2016, published by the Commission and Rule 214 of the Commission’s Rules of Practice, 18 C.F.R. § 385.214 and related authority and orders.  In addition to the Application, FirstLight submitted a Final Report for the 2015-2016 Temporary Amendment on July 14, 2016.  FirstLight submitted operation and elevation data and charts in spreadsheet file format on August 23, 2016 (“2015-2016 Amendment Report”), in response to a request from FERC.  This Motion to Intervene clearly states CRWC’s position and specifies the bases for its position. The facts below demonstrate that CRWC and its members have interests that are directly affected by this proceeding.  CRWC’s intervention is also in the public interest.

  1. Statement of Interest

CRWC is a nonprofit watershed organization that has an interest in protecting environmental values that directly and indirectly support the state, regional, and local economies and quality of life in the Project area.  The Connecticut River and the rich agricultural soils of the surrounding valley bottom are the resources that define this region of Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire.  The ecological and cultural importance of the Connecticut River was recognized by the federal government in the 1990’s when the river was designated an American Heritage River, and the watershed a National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, and most recently in 2012 as the first National Blueway by former Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar.

The Connecticut River provides water-related recreational opportunities for swimming, boating and fishing, as well as drawing both residents and tourists who enjoy walking, bicycling, hiking, camping, and nature observation along its banks.  Within the reach of the Connecticut River known as the Turners Falls pool, FirstLight Hydro Generating Company (“FirstLight”) operates popular campsites, picnic sites, and a tour boat in the project area.  The Commonwealth of Massachusetts operates two state-owned boat launches in the reach.

CRWC’s interests include the prime agricultural and recreational lands and economy of the valley; the improvement of water quality; enhancing aquatic and related terrestrial habitat; protecting and restoring the several threatened and endangered plant and animal species of the valley; preserving wetlands, undeveloped shore lands, and the many significant archaeological, cultural, and historical sites of the valley; and enhancing the aesthetics of the region.  These interests are not adequately represented by other parties to this proceeding.  CRWC members live and work along the areas of the river affected by the Project, and regularly use, and continue to use the areas of the River and River valley affected by the Project, including the River itself, its fishery, lands on the River’s banks, and State and Applicant-owned or operated boat launches, and all of the other above-mentioned resources and amenities.

Prior to the winter of 2014-2015, temporary amendments to the license authorized changes to the minimum and maximum reservoir elevation requirement only under certain emergency operating conditions as determined by ISO-NE.  For example, the licensee’s application to the winter of 2005-2006 temporary license amendment requested permission to use increased operational flexibility whenever ISO-NE declared an Energy Emergency under Operating Procedure (OP) No. 21 (Action during an Energy Emergency), OP No. 4 (Action During a Capacity Deficiency), or OP No. 7 (Action in an Emergency).  Consequently, the operational changes were rare during the amendment periods.  Under this proposed amendment, if approved, there are no such restrictions, allowing for use of the expanded upper reservoir every day during the winter, if desired.  The current application requests a temporary amendment for the third winter in a row, and we have seen frequent use of the additional flexibility during the previous two winters.  Operations that are detrimental and exacerbate existing erosion problems should not become the norm.  Operational changes should be reserved solely for emergencies; otherwise any operational changes should be to remedy erosion issues, not make them worse.

  1. Description of CRWC

The Connecticut River Watershed Council, Inc. (CRWC) is a nonprofit citizen group that was established in 1952 to advocate for the protection, restoration, and sustainable use of the Connecticut River and its four-state watershed.  The Council’s members use and are concerned about the area of the Connecticut River affected by the presence and operation of the Northfield Pumped Storage Project (FERC Project No. 2485) and the Turners Falls Project (FERC Project No. 1889).  CRWC is an active member of Connecticut River Streambank Erosion Committee (CRSEC), and as a member of the committee, has been working with the owners of the Project to address erosion in the Turners Falls pool, including development of bioengineering river bank stabilization projects that are part of the Erosion Control Plan ordered and approved by the FERC.  CRWC advocates for the protection of water quality and habitat on the river, as well as the environmentally-responsible use of the river.  As such, CRWC has been an active stakeholder participating in the ongoing relicensing of Northfield Mountain, Turners Falls Dam, Vernon Dam (No. 1904), Bellows Falls Dam (No. 1855), and Wilder Dam (No. 1892).  CRWC has intervened in the Holyoke Dam (FERC No. 2004), Canaan Dam (No. 7528), and Fifteen Mile Falls (No. 2077) projects on the Connecticut River, and is currently also involved in the relicensing of Bear Swamp Pumped Storage Project and Fife Brook Dam (P-2669) on the Deerfield River.

III.  Statement of Position and Comments on Application for License Amendment

There is a long history of riverbank erosion associated with Northfield Mountain pumped storage project ever since Turners Falls Dam was raised and operation of Northfield Mountain began in 1972.  As stated above, CRWC has been an active member of the CRSEC, which has worked with the applicant for many years on erosion control projects in support of the Erosion Control Plan, required by the FERC in 1999 per the conditions of FirstLight’s license based on the documented loss of valuable farmland and private property.

CRWC is aware that New England is experiencing the retirement of several large power plants (mostly coal and nuclear), and this, together with an increased demand for natural gas, is contributing to worries about the reliability of electrical transmission in the region during the winter.  CRWC supports increasing the reliability and storage capacity of the New England grid, but not at the expense of avoidable environmental harm.  FirstLight has argued in its Application on page 5 that the proposed amendment is in the public interest because it will provide ISO-New England (ISO-NE) with additional operational flexibility without adverse environmental impacts.  On October 26, 2016, ISO-NE submitted to FERC a letter supportive of the temporary license amendment.

CRWC disagrees that FirstLight has adequately demonstrated no adverse environmental impacts from the proposed license amendment.  FirstLight has provided no analysis and has made likely incorrect statements about erosion at transect locations over the past three years.

Impact of the proposed temporary amendment and those approved for the previous two winters would increase and institutionalize erosion.

A study prepared by FirstLight on the impacts of Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage Project in 2007 states, “Several aspects of the erosion in the Turners Falls Pool … are consistent with the possibility that erosion is enhanced by pool fluctuations.”[1]  In section 9.1g of the Field, 2007 report, it states that, “the sequence of erosion, from bank undercutting to the removal of sediment by flows, that create steep bare banks from previously well forested rounded banks may take several years to complete…”

Consistent with the several legal requirements requiring limits on erosion,[2] FERC’s Order Granting Temporary Amendment dated December 16, 2015 (“2015 Order”) in paragraphs 44 and 45 stated that, “… approval of a single temporary variance for the period of December 1 through March 31 could increase the rate of erosion at the lower reservoir during that period, but any such increase would likely be at most very minor and incremental in nature….  However, … it is difficult to determine to what extent modified project operation occurring over a succession of winters until the conclusion of the relicensing proceeding, could affect existing erosion, bank stability, or water quality.”

Despite the fact that, at the very least, an “incremental” problem has been identified and it is recognized that this incremental problem could actually become more severe, FirstLight is effectively asking to have it become the norm without first completing studies.  If the present application is approved, this will be the third consecutive winter under modified operations, and no environmental analysis has looked at the impact of a succession of years.  Exhibit E, filed with the request for temporary amendment for the 2014-2015 winter season and incorporated by reference in this amendment request, included modeled conditions under the temporary amendment compared to a typical year.  We have no analysis of actual conditions for several years in a row.

We are concerned with the undermining of banks at the toe of the slope, which begins the cycle of erosion.  The daily difference between the maximum and minimum pool elevation, a change in the average elevation of the pool, and the duration and speed of elevation change in the pool height are all factors that can contribute to a notching at the toe of the slope, sometimes acting in concert with other influences such as ice in the winter.


 

Data from the past two winters shows average elevation of pool is different during amendment periods

Table 1 of the 2015-2016 Amendment Report shows that the average lower reservoir average elevation was 181.7 ft during the 2015-2016 Amendment year, compared to 181.2 ft during non-amendment years.  This is a difference of half a foot.  FirstLight seeks to minimize this change by including “all amendment years” data in Table 1.  CRWC does not consider the “all amendment years” data to be relevant in this table because only the two most recent years allowed operational changes during the entire amendment period, whereas previous amendments involved rare or no actual operational changes.  The winter of 2014-2015 had the same, higher, average elevation of 181.7 ft.  CRWC reiterates our concern that a change in the average elevation of 6 inches has the potential to impact the effectiveness of bank restoration projects that have been implemented up and down the river.  This is because bank stabilization treatments were designed with the toe of the slope being set at a particular typical elevation range and a 6-inch change during the previous two winters is a change from that design specification.

We may already be seeing the effects of temporary amendment conditions contributing to bank failure.  In the middle of November 2016, landowner Tom Shearer contacted FirstLight and its contractors reporting that the 2015 repair work on an earlier stabilization effort at his property was not holding up well.  There has been a notable absence of high flow events in 2016.   It seems plausible that temporary amendment conditions, put in place right after the Shearer repair work, could have contributed to early destabilization.

Cross-section surveys actually do indicate bank movement

FirstLight stated on page 12 of the Application that comparison of the 2015 and 2016 cross-sectional surveys demonstrates that, “there is no evidence of any material channel movement between the 2014 and 2015 surveys, and no environmental impacts were identified.”  This was the extent of FirstLight’s analysis.  We have looked at the cross-section surveys and disagree that there is no evidence of channel movement.  On the contrary, banks have moved back several feet in most of the transects.  We also note that though FERC required, in their 2015 Order, that transects must include a standardized definition of left and right bank used for the transect charts, there was no such definition included in the 2015-2016 Amendment Report.  The water line elevation depicted in the cross sections varied between 179 ft in Vernon VT to 185 ft at the Turners Falls Dam.  If no consistent water line elevation was chosen and explained, we would have assumed the Vernon water level would have been a higher elevation than the transects in Barton Cove, based on logger data for the hydraulic study completed by FirstLight in March 2015 (Study 3.2.2) for relicensing.

Table 1.  CRWC’s comparison of 2014, 2015, and 2016 surveys

Cross-Section (location)

Water level on diagram

Left bank Right bank
Section 1 (Vernon VT)

Water level at 184 ft

At water level, little change.  1-5 ft of recession at elevation 210-240 ft. Little change.  No data provided from 2014.
Section 11 (Hinsdale NH)

Water level at 179 ft

At water level, bank receded 2 ft between 2014 and 2016. No change at water level
Section 11 (Vernon VT)

Water level at 179 ft

Several areas above water line receded as much as 3 ft between 2014 and 2016. Not much change, but possibly 1 ft bank added at elevation 185 ft.
Section 2 (Vernon VT)

Water level at 183 ft

Bank receded 2-3 ft at water level. Bank receded 3 ft at water line.  Bank between top of bank and water line possibly added material, but changes are irregular year to year.
Section 303B (Vernon VT)

Water level at 182 ft

Little change. Bank receded 14 ft at water level.  Recession in upper bank as well.
Section 18 (Vernon VT)

Water level at 182 ft

Little change.  Some bank movement above — looks like a notch settled down. Bank receded 7 ft at water line, and 5 ft just below water line.
Section 3 (Vernon VT)

Water level at 180 ft

Bank receded 2 ft at water level and 5 ft a foot below.  Also bank movement – adding and subtracting above water line. Slight addition of bank along entire profile.
Section 21 (Vernon VT)

Water level at 182 ft

Bank receded 5 ft at water level, also recession within 10 ft above and 5 ft below water level. Little change.
Section 4 (Northfield MA)

Water level at 182 ft

Little change.  In upper bank, some areas of addition and subtraction. Bank receded 5 ft at water level.  Quite a bit of recession all along upper bank as well.
Section 29 (Northfield MA)

Water level at 181 ft

Bank added 7 ft at water level.  Some addition and slight subtraction in upper sections. It appears a notch at the water line in 2014 slumped to add 5 ft in 2016 and recede the bank a bit above.
Section 5A (Northfield MA)

Water level at 182 ft

Little change. Little change.
Section 5B (Northfield MA)

Water level at 182 ft

Bank receded 2 ft at water line. Bank receded 7 ft at water line. Near top of bank, 10 ft of material was added.
Section 5D (Northfield MA)

Water level at 182 ft

Bank receded 7 ft at water line. Bank added 7 ft at water line.
Section 5E (Northfield MA)

Water level at 182 ft

Bank receded 2 ft at waterline.  Some changes above that. Little change
Section 5C (Northfield MA)

Water level at 182 ft

Bank added 1 ft at water line. Bank receded 7 ft at water level.
Section 26 (Northfield/Gill MA)

Water level at 181 ft

Little change Little change at water level.  Notching or slumping of upper bank added bank in mid section.
Section 10 (Northfield/Gill MA)

Water level at 182 ft

Little change. Slight recession at water level and some changes above.
Section 6B (Northfield MA)

Water level at 182 ft

Bank added in 2015 was lost again in 2016. Little change at water line, some change above.
Section 6A (Northfield MA)

Water level at 182 ft

Bank receded 2ft at water level.  Near top of bank, 2-7 ft bank lost in 2015 was added back in 2016. Little change.
Section 12 (Northfield/Gill MA)

Water level at 182 ft

Little change Little change
Section 119B (Northfield/Gill MA)

Water level at 181 ft

Some bank added at water level, possibly from slumping above that added material all along bank. Looks like some bank recession at water line, but survey not completed to water line in 2016.
Section 7 (Northfield MA)

Water level at 182 ft

No change at water level, some shifting in various places above. No change at water level.  Some recession near top of bank.
Section 8B (Northfield MA)

Water level at 182 ft

No change at water level, some shifting in various places above Little change at water level.  Some slumping just below top of bank.
Section 8 A (Northfield MA)

Water level at 182 ft

Shearer riverbank rebuilt in Fall 2015 indicates bank addition. Little change at water level.  Some slumping just below top of bank.
Section 75B (Northfield/Gill MA)

Water level at 180 ft

Bank receded 5 ft at water level. No change at water level.
Section 87B (Northfield/Gill MA)

Water level at 180 ft

Bank added 5 ft at water level. Bank added 5 ft at water level.  Bank added above, possibly due to slump.
Section 9 (Montague/Gill MA)

Water level at 181 ft

No change. Bank receded 10 ft at water level.
Section 12B (Montague/Gill MA)

Water level at 180 ft

Bank receded 7 ft at water level. Bank receded 10 ft at water level. Bank notch above filled in between 2015 and 2016.
Section BC1 (Montague/Gill MA)

Water level at 181 ft

Little change at water level.  Some bank shifting above. Little change; very flat bank.
Section BC5 (Gill MA)

Water level at 184 ft

Little change at water level.  Some bank shifting above. Bank added 3 ft at water level.  Some slumping may have filled in between 2015 and 2016.
Section BC2 (Montague/Gill MA)

Water level at 185 ft

No change at water level.  Some odd shifting at top of bank. No change at water level.  Some odd shifting at top of bank.
Section BC3 (Montague/Gill MA)

Water level at 185 ft

Bank is a concrete wall at water level. Bank is a concrete wall at water level.

 

Problems with transect profiles confuse analysis

FirstLight provides no meaningful analysis of the data, and in fact, CRWC’s data review and analysis indicates that there is cause for concern.  How the changes between 2014 and 2016 compare to earlier years is not easily known, but it is clear that FirstLight cannot plausibly conclude that “there is no evidence of material channel movement.”  To further demonstrate our serious concerns with FirstLight’s ability to fairly present and analyze data, we examined Appendix E to FirstLight’s Relicensing Study 3.1.2.  Appendix E to Study 3.1.2 includes transect data between 1999 and 2015.  It appears that what is called “left” bank looking downstream in the 2015-2016 Amendment Report is called “right” bank (not identified, but assumed to be looking upstream) in Study 3.1.2 Appendix E.  But, there are inconsistencies in the comparison.  Transect 1 left bank in the 2015-2016 Amendment Report  looks exactly like the right bank in Study 3.1.2 Appendix E, whereas Transect 5E left bank looks like a mirror image of the right bank in Study 3.1.2 Appendix E.  Changing the perspective in facing upstream or downstream should result in a mirror image transfer of left and right banks, however that was not done consistently in Study 3.1.2 Appendix E, making comparison confusing.  Moreover, Study 3.1.2 Appendix E figures once again have a vertical exaggeration greater than 1, which we complained about during last year’s temporary amendment and to which FERC concurred.  For example, the left bank of Transect 1 has a vertical exaggeration of 2.94 in Study 3.1.2 Appendix E.  Transects in the 2015-2016 Amendment Report were required to have a vertical exaggeration of 1 because it is easier to see changes in bank with no vertical exaggeration.  Study 3.1.2 Appendix E figures show a line at the “OHWM” or Ordinary High Water Mark, rather than the “water line.”  It appears that these may be arbitrary or incorrect – transects in Vernon, VT had an OHWM of 193.2 ft (14.2 ft higher than the water line in the 2015-2016 Amendment Report) and in Barton Cove the OHW was 183.7 ft, (1.3 ft lower than the Turners Falls Dam water line).

CRWC is unwilling to spend the extra resources to discern anything from a time-consuming comparison of recent changes shown in the 2015-2016 Amendment Report against historic changes from 1999. FL should do this.  Given the number of times that FirstLight has presented data that is confused, opaque, or in error, we are forced to conclude that they are interested in skewing results to their favor at the expense of valid analysis and conclusions.

FirstLight relies on clearly atypical and unreliable data  

FirstLight, in its Application on page 11, states that the timing, rate, magnitude, and frequency of water elevation fluctuations in the upper reservoir and Turners Falls Impoundment were not materially different under the last year’s temporary amendment compared to previous years.  FirstLight cites Figures 2 and 3 in Attachment 1 of the Application, showing the amount of pumping and generation that occurred in the winter of 2015-2016 was “similar” to previous winters.  Neither graph has a title to the x-axes, and graphs such as this were not filed last year in an application or reports. Most importantly, FirstLight neglects to note in the text or the graph the fact that Unit 1, one of the four turbine units, was taken out of service on August 31, 2015 and returned to service on February 17, 2016 (letter from FirstLight filed with FERC on March 2, 2016).  [Unit 4 was similarly taken out of service December 2, 2013 and returned to service May 20, 2014 (letter from FirstLight filed with FERC May 23, 2014).]  Yet FirstLight has compared an atypical year against typical years (lumped with another atypical winter, 2013-2014) to demonstrate that pumping and generating during the winter of 2015-2016 fell within the “norm,” with no disclaimers.

FirstLight also concluded the same for the Connecticut River downstream of Cabot Station.  Neither the application nor the 2015-2016 Amendment Report included monthly Turners Falls elevation graphs nor Montague USGS gage graphs, as was in the 2015 application.  Figure 1 in the Application shows only the maximum daily impoundment fluctuation duration curve for the Turners impoundment at the Turners Falls dam.  This only addresses the magnitude of water elevation fluctuations above the dam, not the timing, rate, or frequency of fluctuations.  FirstLight cites its September 1, 2015 license amendment application pages 9-11 and Figure 1 from Attachment 1.  We stress that a flow duration curve cannot support FirstLight’s conclusions about the timing and rate of water elevation fluctuation changes.

Charts submitted by FirstLight are not accompanied by the required discussion and analysis

FERC’s order approving the 2015-2016 temporary amendment required charts of upper and lower reservoir elevations, Connecticut River flows, and pump and generation data including plots of historical data for the same months in winters 1999/2000 through 2013/2014.  The report “must include a discussion of the information shown in the charts, to include, but not be limited to, detailed review of fluctuations in upper and lower reservoir elevations and Connecticut River flows that occurred during the amendment period…”  FirstLight’s 2015-2016 Report included a long set of elevation level and flow duration curves for winter months from 1999 to 2016, with no discussion or meaningful analysis.  This set of graphs alone does not meet FERC’s required submissions in their 2015 Order. Graphs such as Figures 1-8 and 10-13 from the 2015 application, as well as an analysis, would have been more useful than endless flow duration curves.

Below, CRWC includes the lower reservoir elevation charts for March from 2015 and 2016 (when all four units were working) compared to the modeled chart for March included in Attachment E from the 2014 application.  The modeled and “baseline” conditions for March in the lower reservoir as measured at the Turners Falls dam showed elevations varying a foot or two around an average elevation of about 182.5 ft.[3]  Actual conditions from March 2015 and 2016 showed elevations varying 2-3 feet around an average elevation of about 181.5 ft.  CRWC did not do a comparison for other months, but again, since one of the units was out of service until the middle of February, a comparison of other months against other any other years would not be valid.

 

 

FirstLight winter observations are of no value.

FirstLight states on page 12 of the Application that it performed periodic visual inspections of the river during the 2015-2016 winter to observe any changes in shoreline conditions.  They state, “FirstLight found no discernable change in the riverbank where observations were made, and the riverbanks appeared to be in their typical, stable condition.”  This statement, which was also included in the 2015-2016 Amendment Report, is highly subjective and inaccurate if we consider the transect data presented in Table 1 starting on page 6 of this Motion to Intervene.  The 2015-2016 Amendment Report contained a section called “Visual Inspection” starting on page 6.  Table 3 on page 6 of the 2015-2016 Amendment Report listed 10 observation locations, with several locations having multiple views making the total number of observation angles approximately 16 based on the descriptions (it is evident from the photos provided of Route 10 that there are more photo angles than listed in the table).  Table 4 of the 2015-2016 Report listed observation dates that included the air temperature and the upper reservoir and lower reservoir average day-time elevations as well as the average day-time river flow, presumably measured at the Montague USGS gage.  Appendix 4 included eight “representative pictures” from four of the locations on a single observation date, February 11, 2016.  There were no field notes given, and none are available, according to page 16 of the Application.  FirstLight clarified in its Application that the photographs focused on tracking ice formation.  This means that the ice photos were taken as part of relicensing study 3.1.2, not for compliance with the temporary amendment.

FERC stated in its 2015 Order, that, “… although we require descriptions of any observed environmental effects and associated mitigative measures in the monthly reports, any additional discussion in the monthly reports is not necessary, because the final report will include discussion of all the data and charts in a comprehensive manner.”  CRWC concludes that the winter observations and the photographs, which FirstLight says was focused on tracking ice formation, have provided no information about environmental effects of last year’s temporary amendment, and there was nothing comprehensive about the winter observations or the report.  With no formal procedures for observing or taking the photographs of the banks, and comparing over time, the requirement serves no purpose whatsoever.  Both FERC and stakeholders would be better served by FL spending time on data analysis and the presentation of useful water level data and transect data.

Operating reserves give FirstLight enough flexibility

As is stated in the application on page 3, Northfield Mountain already supplies operating reserves; the reserves can be tapped into more frequently during the winter if needed.  The winter of 2015-2016 was one of the mildest New England has ever experienced.  According to ISO-New England, there were no OP-4 events (https://iso-ne.com/static-assets/documents/2016/04/a2_post_winter_2015_2016_review.pdf).  Despite that, the additional capacity in the upper reservoir was used frequently, for purposes other than grid reliability and capacity.

  1. Recommendations
  2. FirstLight’s requested amendment should be denied because it has not adequately demonstrated no environmental effects. In addition, temporary amendments are not warranted because relicensing is ongoing.
  3. If approved, FERC should restrict the operational changes to be triggered by ISO-NE when it issues an OP-21, OP-4, OP-7, or Master/Local Control Center Procedure No 2, which is an alert issued by the ISO-NE “for the entire region or for a local area to notify power system personnel and wholesale electricity market participants when abnormal conditions on the region’s power system exist or are anticipated.” (See http://www.iso-ne.com/markets-operations/system-forecast-status/current-system-status/alert-descriptions).
  4. FirstLight should revise its 2015-2016 Amendment Report with real analysis of bank movement, and present all historic transect measurements with a standard right/left bank perspective, standard water line, and no vertical exaggeration. FirstLight should include, at a minimum, a note about one of the units being taken out of service, with discussion on how this might affect any graphs or analysis.
  5. The winter visual observation requirement should be eliminated altogether because it has proven to be a meaningless undertaking. If FERC sees a value to it, then a protocol for observing and photographing the banks needs to be established.  Photos and observations at the beginning of the amendment period should be compared to the end of the amendment period, and all photos should be provided in the report, with photos clearly showing the banks.
  6. Service and Communication

Service of process and all other communications concerning this motion and the above-referenced project should be made to:

Andrea Donlon

Connecticut River Watershed Council, Inc.

15 Bank Row

Greenfield MA 01301

 

  1. Conclusion

The temporary license amendment should be denied.  There is no basis to effectively institutionalize a detrimental practice.   CRWC believes that continued operation of Northfield Mountain, and any scenario that involves moving additional water in and out of the Connecticut River, comes at a price for the riverbanks.  The license amendment application has presented insufficient analysis on the winter of 2015-2016, and includes no information on the cumulative impact of the requested changes for three winters in a row.

We respectfully request that the Commission allow CRWC to become a party to this proceeding.

DATED this 21st day of November 2016, on behalf of the Connecticut River Watershed Council, Inc.

Signed,

 

ANDREW FISK

Andrew Fisk, Executive Director

Connecticut River Watershed Council, Inc.

15 Bank Row

Greenfield MA 01301

 

 


CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

 

I hereby certify that I have this day served the foregoing document, the Motion to Intervene for Project 2485, the Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage Project, submitted by CRWC, upon each person designated on the attached service list.  Dated this 21st day of November, 2016.

 

Signature:

 

Andrea Donlon

Connecticut River Watershed Council, Inc.

15 Bank Row

Greenfield MA 01301

Telephone:  (413) 772-2020 x. 205

E-mail: adonlon@ctriver.org

 

 

SERVICE LIST

 

 

FirstLight Hydro Generating Company

Gus Bakas

Director – Massachusetts Hydro

Northfield Mountain Station

99 Millers Falls Road

Northfield MA 01360

 

Julia S. Wood

Van Ness Feldman, LLP

1050 Thomas Jefferson St., NW

Washington DC 2007

(202) 298-1938

 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)

John Warner, Ecological Services

N.E. Fish and Wildlife Office

70 Commercial Street, Suite 300

Concord NH 03301-5087

(603) 271-2541

 

Connecticut River Atlantic Salmon Commission

Kenneth Sprankle

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

103 East Plumtree Road

Sunderland MA 01375

(413) 548-9138 x. 121

 


 

Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection

David Foulis

MA DEP Western Regional Office

436 Dwight Street

Springfield MA 01103

(413) 784-1100

 

Robert Kubit

MA DEP Central Regional Office

8 New Bond St, Worcester, MA 01606

(508) 767-2854

 

Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife

Caleb Slater, PhD., Anadromous Fish Coordinator

MA DFW

1 Rabbit Hill Road

Westborough, MA 01581

(508) 389-6331

 

Franklin Regional Council of Governments

Kimberly Noake MacPhee

12 Olive Street, Suite 2

Greenfield, MA 01301

(413) 774-3167 x130

 

ISO New England Inc.

Peter Brandien, Vice President, System Operations

ISO New England Inc.

One Sullivan Road

Holyoke, MA 01040

(413) 535-4000

[1] Field Geology Services, 2007.  Fluvial Geomorphology Study of the Turners Falls Pool on the Connecticut River Between Turners Falls, MA and Vernon, VT.  Prepared for Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage Project by Field Geology Services, Farmington, ME.  Dated. November, 2007.  Page 40.

[2] Authority that prohibits project operations from causing or contributing to erosion include the Clean Water Act, Massachusetts Water Quality Standards, the Federal Power Act, public and private property rights, and other federal and state fish and wildlife habitat requirements. These prohibition are reflected in the license and study requirements cited in this motion.  Rule 214 requires one moving to intervene to state “the basis in fact and law” for its position.  This motion does so, and demonstrates legitimate claims.  However, actual litigation of the factual and legal merits of CRWC’s position is to be addressed through the post-intervention proceeding.

[3] CRWC notes that the “baseline” elevation included in this Exhibit E graph for March appears to be centered around an average elevation of 182.5 ft, which is 1.3 ft higher than the average elevation FirstLight provided in Table 1 of the 2015-2016 Amendment Report for non-amendment years (181.2 ft), calling into question the model and its graphs.