Hydropower and Fish Passage

 Held on May 17-18, 2017

Holden, Massachusetts


The relicensing of 231 hydropower projects will occur between 2018 and 2025, with an additional 100+ projects to be relicensed between 2026 and 2030.  More than half of these projects are located in the Northeast and about 30% are located in the Midwest and South.  All of the projects will need to address a variety of environmental issues associated with their operation and, in many cases, mitigation alternatives will need to be developed to reduce or minimize impacts to affected resources.  The two most prevalent environmental issues addressed during relicensing typically are instream flows and fish passage.  Fish passage can be problematic with respect to biological, engineering, and project operation considerations, as well as be very costly. 


To help understand and address environmental impacts as part of the relicensing process, Alden hosted the Hydropower and Fish Passage Forum.  The goal of the Forum is to bring together regulatory and resource agencies, NGOs, consultants, and project owners to exchange information and have relevant discussions on important environmental issues (primarily fish passage) addressed during the FERC relicensing process.  

Forum topics included:

  • The demographics of upcoming relicensings and primary environmental concerns
  • Developing environmentally-sustainable hydropower using new tools and recent study results
  • EPRI’s hydropower and environmental research activities
  • Updates to the Low Impact Hydro Institute’s certification process
  • Upstream passage: biological and engineering considerations and recent advancements
  • Downstream passage: recent innovations and the application of established techniques
  • Downstream passage for silver American eels
  • USFWS and NMFS fish passage perspectives and guidelines
  • The use of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling to optimize fish passage designs
  • Post-installation effectiveness testing
  • Project Owner experiences, perspectives, and strategies

Speakers and Panel Participants included representatives from the following organizations:

  • Louis Berger 
  • Low Impact Hydro Institute
  • Electric Power Research Institute
  • US Fish & Wildlife Service
  • National Marine Fisheries Service
  • USGS – Conte Anadromous Fish Research Center
  • Hydropower Consulting Specialists LLC
  • Alden Research Laboratory, Inc.
  • Blue Leaf Environmental LLC
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  • Hydro Research Foundation
  • Lakeside Engineering
  • Whooshh Innovations
  • ENEL Green Power
  • Eagle Creek Renewable Energy
  • Brookfield Renewable Energy (Maine)