Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI)
LIHI attempts to reduce the impacts of hydropower generation through the certification of hydropower projects that have committed to environmental, cultural, and recreational stewardship. In some cases, certification allows these facilities to be eligible for access to renewable energy markets that they would not otherwise be able to derive revenue from. Currently, a LIHI certification lasts 5 years.
CRC routinely comments on LIHI applications to make sure that hydro-facilities are required to do the best that they possibly can for the river and our river communities. Additionally, CRC routinely participates in policy discussions and comments on LIHI policy and standards. Some examples of our LIHI comments can be found on our blog.
Hydropower Reform Coalition
CRC is a member of the Hydropower Reform Coalition and supports advancing policy decisions to increase ecological and sustainable considerations in the hydro-power industry.
Past Work to Improve Hydropower
The 15-Mile Falls Project is a series of dams near Littleton, NH — the Moore, Comerford and McIndoes Falls dams, currently owned by Great River Hydro. These impoundments represent the largest single hydroelectric generating complex of dams in New England, affecting levels and flows from the Connecticut Lakes to the dam at Wilder, VT. CRC is a signatory to the 2001 landmark agreement guaranteeing increased river flows. The agreement established permanent easement protection on 9,200 watershed acres and created a $15 million Mitigation and Enhancement Fund. CRC continues to monitor license conditions and the workings of the M&E Fund.
The Holyoke Dam is the lowermost dam on the Connecticut River, controlling migratory fish access to 85% of the spawning habitat in the Connecticut River basin for American shad, blueback herring, shortnose sturgeon, and other species. CRC was part of a settlement agreement that was finalized in 2004. Post-relicensing work has kept us busy for more than a decade. Years of studies, designs, and meetings with Holyoke Gas & Electric finally led to the construction of upstream and downstream passage for shortnose sturgeon in 2015-2016. CRC reviews and comments on migratory fish passage reports and other studies that are released on an annual basis.
The Canaan Dam is located in Stewartstown, NH and Canaan, VT. This 275 foot-long dam and hydro-facility creates a 4,000 foot pond on the Connecticut River. During the 2009 relicensing, CRC and Trout Unlimited successfully requested that Vermont include a condition in their 401 Water Quality Certificate that the dam owner install fish passage at the request of the state. Although appealed by the dam owner to the VT Environmental Court, the condition remains in the VT 401 Certification and thereby is a condition of the FERC license.