Ecological Services
Northeast Region
Energy News and Highlights

Fish get better downstream access on Winnipesaukee River in NH

October 15, 2012

The Service's New England Field Office and Fisheries Program staff collaborated with the state and owners of six hydroelectric projects to tweak operations such that river herring and American eels can more safely move down the Winnipesaukee River. During rain and high flow events, the projects shut down at night to protect eels and herring.

Cabot Station and fishways at the Turners Falls project in Massachusetts.
Cabot Station and fishways at the Turners Falls project in Massachusetts. Credit: USFWS

Five hydroelectric dams on Conn. River up for relicensing

October 15, 2012

The Service will collaborate with state and federal agencies, as well as other organizations, on the upcoming relicensing of the Turners Falls, Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage, Vernon, Bellows Falls and Wilders projects. The five-year process began in early October. The projects collectively impact more than 175 miles of the river, which supports four endangered species and other sea-run fish, including American eel, American shad and river herring.

More on Connecticut River dams

Salmon River below the Chasm Hydroelectric Project.
Salmon River below the Chasm Hydroelectric Project. Credit: USFWS

Service to recommend water flow safe for fish at N.Y. hydroelectric project

October 15, 2012

The Service's New York Field Office monitored water flow this summer at the Chasm Hydroelectric Project, located on a reach of the Salmon River that is home to wild brook trout. The Service will make recommendations to the project so that flows will allow fish and other aquatic animals to survive between spills from the project.

More New York hydroelectric projects

Green Island Power Project.
Green Island Power Project. Credit: USFWS

New facilities will pass fish through Hudson River dam

October 15, 2012

As part of the licensing settlement for Green Island Power Project near Troy, N.Y., the facility will add six structures to pass fish upstream and downstream of the project, including three ladders for American eels; two Denil-style ladders for blueback herring, alewife, and shad; and an innovative downstream screen system. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a new 50-year license to the project on August 17. All structures should be completed within three years and will be monitored for effectiveness.


Biologists check flow study at new hydropower project in Mass.

August 27, 2012

Biologists from the Service's New England and Chesapeake Bay field offices deployed equipment at Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge in Swanton, Vt., that will collect valuable information on water quality for the research.

Hydropower projects can inhibit fish migration, warm waters, break up habitat and eliminate places for spawning. Credit: USFWS

Fishway improved at N.Y. hydropower project

The Service and New York state inspected the recently modified downstream fishway at Waterloo Hydro on the Seneca River. The modifications to the passage sluice provide a much gentler passage than the previous design. Additional modifications are needed, including alteration of the gate to provide a surface release, an additional weir near the top of the sluice, a notch in the last weir, and adjustments to some of the weir heights.


juvenile eels
Juvenile eels—elvers--climbing to base of Conowingo Dam on the Susquehanna River. Credit: Maryland Fishery Resources Office, USFWS

Reducing American eel deaths at hydroelectric dams on St. Lawrence River

New York field staff met with experts from Canada to discuss ways to study, reduce and mitigate for American eels killed in their migration south through hydroelectric dams.


Biologists visit N.H. hydropower projects

New England and regional staff met with N.H. Fish and Game and project owners to visit four hydropower projects on the Winnipesaukee River. This spring, a program to stock river herring into Lake Winnisquam was initiated, and downstream passage measures are needed at the four projects to assure safe migration of post-spawned adults and juvenile herring to the ocean. This is part of a larger effort to restore herring to the Merrimack River basin. The four projects each have unique designs, operation limitations and turbine types, and they have different license and exemption requirements to address passage needs. The Service is preparing letters to the project owners outlining the restoration effort, the owners' responsibilities and recommended or prescribed passage measures.

OSM director viewing mussels
OSM director viewing mussels in Indian Creek. Credit: USFWS

Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement Director Dons Chest Waders in Indian Creek

On May 24, 2012, after a week of visiting with stakeholders in Appalachia’s coalfields, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) Director Joseph Pizarchik and OSM staff joined biologists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) on the banks of Indian Creek in Cedar Bluff, Virginia. The group discussed OSM’s role in overseeing mining activities and the importance of ensuring maintenance of water quality in southwestern Virginia, the nation’s top hotspot of aquatic biodiversity. Director Pizarchik donned chest waders to assist Service biologists in the creek as they searched for the federally listed endangered tan riffleshell and other freshwater mussels. The Director’s visit served to reinforce OSM’s continuing commitment to VDGIF, the Service, and others to support recovery efforts for the large number of federally listed aquatic species living beneath the surface of streams in the upper Tennessee River basin.

Great Works Dam
The Great Works Dam, 1,000 feet of concrete, timber and cribwork, is the second dam closest to the sea. The first, the Veazie dam, will be removed next year. Credit: Bridget Besaw/Penobscot River Restoration Trust

Penobscot River Restoration Project begins removal of Great Works Dam

Demolition of the Great Works Dam begins today, a major step toward freeing the Penobscot River to flow from Old Town, Maine, to the Gulf of Maine for the first time in generations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Penobscot River Restoration Trust, and public and private partners will celebrate the beginning of the removal of this dam with all-day activities including a press conference and luncheon. This historic event is a key component of the innovative Penobscot River Restoration Project aimed at reviving native fish populations, renewing cultural traditions, and creating economic and recreational opportunities, all while maintaining existing hydropower production along the largest river within Maine.

Event details
Blog post
Press release
Other materials

Conowingo Dam
East Lift at Conowingo Dam provides fish passage on the Susquehanna River Credit: Robert Judge, Exelon Coporation

Deputy Director tours fish facilities on Susquehanna River

In late April, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Serviceís Deputy Director, Rowan Gould, and others tour Conowingo and Holtwood hydropower dams in Maryland and Pennsylvania. The dams include lifts that transport fish upstream. Helping fish access upstream waters is crucial to many types, including herring and shad.

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student planting buffer
Dunloggin Middle School student planting buffer near stream.
Credit: Pam Kidwell, Dunloggin Middle School

Schoolyard Habitats and Conservation Measures Earns Maryland School Green Ribbon Recognition

Dunloggin Middle School in Howard County Maryland was one of 78 schools designated as a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School. More than 350 schools applied for the recognition. With help from the Chesapeake Bay Field Office and Natural Resources Conservation Service, the school constructed a half mile nature trail and created a riparian wetland to help reduce the runoff from the school to a nearby stream.

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$1.1 million will improve land along Connecticut River

Twelve grants supported by the Upper Connecticut River Mitigation and Enhancement Fund will protect river, wetlands and shoreline in the upper Connecticut River Basin, including the Nulhegan River in Vermont and Indian Stream in New Hampshire. The fund was established as part of the mitigation for the Fifteen Mile Falls Hydro Project relicensing.

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wood frames used by nesting common terns
Wood frames used by nesting common terns
Credit: New York Power Authority

Making man-made spaces friendly for wildlife

The Service is tweaking existing structures to help improve habitat for a variety of New York's wildlife, including common terns, ospreys, Blanding's turtles, and lake sturgeon. Structures, such as cells for ships to temporarily moor at, are used to provide space for nesting and spawning. The New York Power Authority is constructing the habitat improvement projects through the relicensing of the St. Lawrence-FDR Power Project.

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New York biologist presents at workshop

Biologist Gian Dodici, from the Service's New York office, recently spoke at a stream bank stabilization workshop hosted by the Department of Planning and Soil and Water Conservation District of Westchester County, N.Y. Dodici discussed how to restore natural stream design and gave examples of his office's work.


Last updated: May 22, 2013