November 26, 2018
Wayne Ives, Instream Flow Specialist
Dept. of Environmental Services
29 Hazen Drive; P.O. Box 95
Concord, NH 03302-0095
Re: Env-Wq 1900: Instream Flow Rules
The Connecticut River Watershed Council, Inc. (CRWC), now doing business as the Connecticut River Conservancy (CRC), is a nonprofit citizen group established in 1952 to advocate for the protection, restoration, and sustainable use of the Connecticut River and its four-state watershed. We appreciate the opportunity to provide the following comments on the Env-Wq 1900: Instream Flow Rules.
Regarding Env-Wq 1903.02 Prioritization of Designated Rivers section (b) (2) bases prioritization on the availability of stream gages. If there are no stream gages on a section of designated river do we assume that it will never be evaluated for instream flow? Additionally, how are these 4 criteria weighted in the decision making process? It would also seem to make sense to prioritize a designated river based on the timing of FERC relicensing since some sort of instream flow study or evaluation is often required for the re-licensing.
Additionally under Env-Wq 1903.02 Prioritization of Designated Rivers there is no mechanism for notifying the general public about a public hearing regarding prioritization. While it is important to notify the specified parties in sections (d) and (e), there should also be notification for the general public. The rules should outline how this is done. For (e) (11) the rules should determine how an interested party should request to be notified.
In regard to Env-Wq 1904.04 (c) (3) “Flows established pursuant to existing Federal Energy Regulatory Commission licensing processes or state contracts”, when instream flow may be changed during the course of a hydro-electric relicensing, how would the water management plan be updated in response to this?
Env-Wq 1904.04 (e) the rules should include notifying all Local River Management Advisory Committee members in the WMPA, not just the LRMAC of the designated river. For instance, specifically in regard to the Connecticut River, it would be important to notify those LACs working on tributaries.
Regarding Env-Wq 1905.05 Dam Management Plan (c) (1) e. in addition to the state dam ID number, this documentation should include the FERC project number for dams that have a hydro-electric component.
Connecticut River Conservancy appreciates the opportunity to comment.