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  1. #1
    Morgan is offline Just finished a River Runs Through it!
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    Hydro power on tailwaters

    My columns in The Daily gazette are no longer available online, so I thought I would post this here, since it's timely. Regards, Morgan

    Daily Gazette article
    Thursday, August 27, 2009

    The Daily Gazette - Schenectady, NY
    See HTML Version of article

    MORGAN LYLE
    Fly fishing: Power plant licensing process open to comment

    What happens in the next two weeks may determine whether the public gets a say in New York City’s plan to build hydro power plants at its reservoirs on the east and west branches of the Delaware River and the Neversink River.
    New York City announced Aug. 13 it will seek a federal license to install power plants at its water supply reservoir dams in the Catskills. The announcement started a 30-day window for public comments on whether the city gets to use the “traditional” licensing process or the “integrated” one.
    The difference is crucial. In an “integrated”
    licensing process, the city would have to conduct studies of the impact of the hydro plants, similar to those required under New York’s State Environmental Quality Review Act. In a “trad*itional” licensing, the city would be under no such obligation–and the “traditional” approach is the one it wants.
    The last time New York City talked about putting turbines on the state’s best trout rivers, back in the 1970s, it was “swarmed” by envir*onmentalists who defeated the plan, said Greg Starheim, chief executive officer of the Delaware County Electric Cooperative.
    The non-profit cooperative declared its own interest in installing hydro power plants at the Catskill reservoirs in June 2008, but the city then filed a competing application and won the right to apply for the license from the federal government.
    “The approach that the city is taking envir*onmentally is very different from ours, and we think they’re running right into the same situation they did in the ’70s, with little regard for fish and wildlife,” Starheim said. “As they go through the licensing process, they’re going to get crucified, and rightly so.”
    It’s not clear whether the city really even wants to build and operate power plants. Sen. Charles Schumer says it doesn’t, and has urged the city to let the electric cooperative proceed with its plan. Starheim said he thinks the city acted “in part to block us from doing this.” The city isn’t answering questions and has only issued a statement saying it “continues to work closely with DCEC.”
    What is clear, however, is that New York City has been granted an official permit by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to apply for a license to operate power plants on blue-ribbon trout rivers, and wants permission to avoid any serious scrutiny in the process. Until it says otherwise, we should assume it means business.
    The process for electronically filing comments to the FERC is long and clunky, but I managed to get through it.
    Go to FERC: Federal Regulation and Oversight of Energy - Electricity, Natural Gas, LNG Terminals, Hydropower, and Petroleum, click “For Citizens,” then click “Get Involved.” A copy of my letter is on my blog, The Fly Line, at The Fly Line. You can snail-mail a comment to
    Office of the Secretary, Federal Energy Regul*atory Commission, 888 First St. NE, Washington, DC 20426. Refer to “West of Hudson
    Hydroelectric Project, Project No. 13287” in your correspondence.
    Unlike the city, the DCEC is willing to candidly discuss its plans, and says it welcomes a thorough environmental review.
    Starheim said flows from the Cannonsville, Pepacton and Neversink reservoirs would continue to be governed, as they are now, by the Delaware River Basin Commission, which has voting members from New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York City. The flows would not be altered for the purpose of generating power.
    Starheim acknowledged, however, that the DCEC’s plan to bring water over the dams in siphons could introduce water that is warmer than what is currently released from penstocks at the bottoms of the dams themselves. The cold water from the dams is essential for the high-quality trout habitat of the Catskill tailwaters.
    “I’m not at all discounting that in a pure
    siphon approach, there would be warmer water coming over the dam,” Starheim said. “There needs to be some kind of combination here, and you don’t have the answer until you do the licensing study.”


  2. #2
    AKSkim's Avatar
    AKSkim is offline Boston - Title Town USA
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    Re: Hydro power on tailwaters

    Thank you Morgan for that article.

    However I do have one question.

    If they do install turbines at those reservoirs to generate electricty,
    seeing how the peak time of any power generating unit is during the
    summer months when people are running their air conditioners...

    What would that do to the low summer flow rates that I hear people
    on this board complain about?

    So instead of say the normal summer 100 cfs coming out of the reservoir,
    to generate electricty you would need to release say.... 1,200 cfs.

    Would that 1,200 cfs surprise the summer trout and flush all them down river
    and the fishing up there would be over as most people know it?

    Ok, so I had two questions.


  3. #3
    Dr. Gonzo's Avatar
    Dr. Gonzo is offline Stuck in my cabana, livin on bananas and blow.
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    Re: Hydro power on tailwaters

    I'm not surprised. The City also wanted to skirt around the Clean Water Act regarding the turbid water that comes out of the Shandaken Tunnel whenever it rains in Schoharie. It took multiple lawsuits and years of litigation to get them to comply with basic environmental laws. I don't see this situation being much different, unless they've learned their lesson from past blunders. I don't know who replaced Lloyd as DEP commissioner but hopefully it' someone willing to listen to reason. Otherwise they'll be spending millions of our dollars to defend pointless litigation.

    "The two best times to go fishing is when it's rainin' and when it ain't."--Patrick McManus.

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  4. #4
    AKSkim's Avatar
    AKSkim is offline Boston - Title Town USA
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    Re: Hydro power on tailwaters

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Gonzo View Post
    they'll be spending millions of our dollars to defend pointless litigation.

    Where is it again you will you be licensed to practice?


  5. #5
    eddavidson9's Avatar
    eddavidson9 is offline how's that for a slice of fried gold
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    Re: Hydro power on tailwaters

    Quote Originally Posted by Morgan View Post
    My columns in The Daily gazette are no longer available online, so I thought I would post this here, since it's timely. Regards, Morgan
    Thanks Morgan, always enjoy your columns. Guess i'll have to flip through the paper copy more regularly now.


  6. #6
    Morgan is offline Just finished a River Runs Through it!
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    Re: Hydro power on tailwaters

    AK, I don't know how flows might be affected by power generation, but it's one of the things I find especially alarming. West Canada Creek flows are manipulated for power -- they turn it on and off like a goddamned garden hose.


  7. #7
    Morgan is offline Just finished a River Runs Through it!
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    Re: Hydro power on tailwaters

    Ed, thanks very much -- nicd of you to say.


  8. #8
    Dr. Gonzo's Avatar
    Dr. Gonzo is offline Stuck in my cabana, livin on bananas and blow.
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    Re: Hydro power on tailwaters

    From the article it also seemed like they wanted to use warm water from the tops of the reservoir to generate, rather than releases from the valves on the dam.

    "The two best times to go fishing is when it's rainin' and when it ain't."--Patrick McManus.

    www.creekaddict.com

  9. #9
    Morgan is offline Just finished a River Runs Through it!
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    Re: Hydro power on tailwaters

    Andy, the idea of siphons over the dams was the Delaware County Electric Cooperative's. Their director acknowledges water from siphons might be warmer and that the issue needs to be addressed. Whether NYC would use siphons or just their tubes at the bases of the dams, I don't know.


  10. #10
    CTobias's Avatar
    CTobias is offline Professional BS'r
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    Re: Hydro power on tailwaters

    Quote Originally Posted by Morgan View Post
    they turn it on and off like a goddamned garden hose.

    That is the case with any tailwater from a hydro plant. The rivers are at the mercy of the plant, unless there are minimum water releases established. The salmon river fluctuates greatly, but at the same time at a certain date there is a minimum flow that must be maintained for the fishery.

    Look at the Oswego River, it changes ten times over the course of the day.

    Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.
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  11. #11
    Big_Spinner is offline Trout Hunter
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    Re: Hydro power on tailwaters

    Hi Morgan and all,

    Here is the direct link to the notice for application.

    eLibrary: 12113021

    Jim


  12. #12
    AKSkim's Avatar
    AKSkim is offline Boston - Title Town USA
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    Re: Hydro power on tailwaters

    I am wondering if there maybe a job in there for me.

    Something important like...

    FLO-CZAR


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