LIHI Certificate #197 - Hailesboro No. 3 Project, New York

Project Name Hailesboro No. 3
LIHI Certificate No.
197
LIHI Certificate Term
February 3, 2023 – February 2, 2033
Owner Hydro Development Group Acquisition, LLC – a subsidiary of Patriot Hydro. LLC
State New York
Location River mile 67.5 Oswegatchie River, St. Lawrence County, New York
Installed Capacity 1 MW
Average Annual Generation 3,993 MWh
Facility Type Run of river
FERC No. P-5633. Exemption issued July 14, 1982, amended June 11, 1998.

The Hailesboro No. 3 Project (FERC No. 5633) is located on the Oswegatchie River in St. Lawrence County, New York. The 132-mile long Oswegatchie River is located in the St. Lawrence River watershed. The headwaters of the Oswegatchie River are in the Adirondack Mountains and the river flows generally to the west and then north before flowing into the St. Lawrence River in Ogdensburg, New York.

The project is located at river mile (RM) 67.5 and is the 6th dam upstream from the mouth, and the most downstream of three associated projects that also include Hailesboro No. 4 (LIHI #198) and Hailesboro No. 6 (LIHI #1999). The river is split into three branches upstream of Hailesboro No. 6 (Island Branch) and between the Projects that recombine downstream of Hailesboro No. 3.

The project was originally constructed around 1910 and operates under an exemption issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on July 14, 1982 as amended by FERC Order issued June 11, 1998.

The project consists of:

  • a 16-foot-high, 68-foot-long reinforced concrete dam having a 24-foot-long spillway section with crest elevation 427.2 feet NGVD and having an intake section at the left (south) abutment and a gated sluiceway section at the right abutment;
  • a reservoir with a surface area of 6.5 acres and negligible storage capacity at normal surface elevation of 427.2 feet NGVD which creates a short, 200-foot-long bypassed reach;
  • a timber gate intake structure, a 90-foot-long, 9-foot-diameter penstock, a 95-foot-long, 8.5-foot-diameter penstock, and a concrete intake box containing two turbine units with a combined capacity of 1 MW;
  • a powerhouse containing two 500 kW generating units;
  • a tailrace;
  • a substation, a 0.25-mile long 2.3-kV transmission line, and appurtenant facilities.

The Project operates in a run-of-river mode with inflow approximating outflow and minimal fluctuations in impoundment water surface elevation. Impoundment water spills into the bypassed reach under normal most operating conditions via a notch in the dam. A minimum flow of 3 cfs is provided into the bypassed reach as recommended by NY Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) at the time of the exemption proceeding.

The Oswegatchie River in the vicinity of the project is designated as Class A water. The best usages of Class A waters are as a source of water supply for drinking, culinary or food processing purposes, primary and secondary contact recreation, and fishing. The project reaches are not listed as impaired by NYSDEC and run-of-river operations do not affect water quality.

There are no migratory fish in the project reaches due to the presence of several downstream dams as well as natural falls that block upstream fish movement. Resident fisheries of the Oswegatchie River in the Project vicinity consist of a mix of warm and cool water species. The most abundant species captured during the surveys were rock bass, fallfish, and pumpkinseed. The low intake approach velocity of 0.66 ft/second allows most fish to avoid entrainment in the turbines. In addition, many smaller fish that might not be able to outswim the approach velocities are often small enough to avoid turbine blade strikes and pass through a powerhouse unharmed.

Project lands encompass about 6.5 acres for the impoundment and about 0.5 acres surrounding the facility. There are no lands of ecological significance and no critical habitats located in the vicinity. The run-of-river operations limit fluctuations in impoundment water surface elevation that otherwise could contribute to shoreline erosion.

The only federally threatened or endangered species that could be present in the project vicinity is the Northern long-eared bat. Several migratory birds may be present in the Project areas and include belted kingfisher, black-billed cuckoo, chimney swift, golden-winged warbler, and wood thrush. The project’s small footprint and lack of need to cut trees limit any potential impacts to these species. The state-listed rough pennyroyal has been observed within the project vicinity. It inhabits dry open areas including mowed lawns and mowed roadside/pathway areas. Periodic mowing around the powerhouse and dam is one of the most common routine maintenance activities at the project, and given the species habitat preferences, this would likely support the species.

There are no known aboveground or archaeological resources listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places in the Project area. No traditional cultural properties have been identified. However, due to the age of the dam and powerhouse, it is possible that they could be eligible for listing, subject to determination of historical relevance.

Recreational facilities include a canoe launch/take-out located on the shore of the impoundment upstream of the existing boat barrier, a parking area to accommodate 4 vehicles; a canoe launch access trail leading from the parking area along the site access road, crossing over the Project’s intake structure, to the canoe launch site, and a picnic area on the lawn north of the intake structure. Recreational access is provided free of charge.


Compliance Status

The Certificate includes the following facility-specific conditions:

Condition 1.  In the event any archaeological or historic resources are found during operation and maintenance of the Hailesboro No. 3 Project, the facility Owner shall consult with the SHPO to ensure continued Project operation and maintenance activities will not have an adverse effect on the documented sites.  In its annual compliance submittals to LIHI, the Owner shall inform LIHI of any agency consultation that has occurred and report on any issues or concerns raised by the SHPO.

Condition 2In annual compliance submittals to LIHI, the facility Owner shall provide updates on the status of the portage put-in downstream of the Hailesboro No. 3 Project, including outreach made to FERC and landowners regarding acquiring land adjacent to the Hailesboro No. 3 tailrace necessary to construct the portage put-in; or the Owner shall provide documentation of closure of the issue with FERC under Article 410(2) of the Hailesboro No. 4 license if a put-in at Hailesboro No. 3 is no longer relevant or necessary.

2024: No material changes or compliance issues were identified. The project remains in compliance based on the annual review. For Condition 1, the project reported no activity. For Condition 2, the project reported sending letters to two landowners with no response received yet.

2023: Annual reporting for the current Certificate has not yet taken effect.


Certification History

June 6, 2023: The Certification of the Hailesboro No. 3, No. 4 and No. 6 projects is now final after the close of the appeal period on June 3, 2023, with no appeal requests filed.  The certification term for each project is February 3, 2023 through February 2, 2033.

May 4, 2023: The Low Impact Hydropower Institute has preliminarily approved Low Impact Certification for the Hailesboro No. 3, No. 4 and No. 6 Hydroelectric Projects. The full application and reviewer’s report are available below. This decision is preliminary pending the 30-day appeal window. Only those who commented on the initial applications during the 60-day comment period are eligible to file an appeal. Such appeal needs to include an explanation as to how the Projects do not meet the LIHI criteria. Appeal requests can be submitted by email to comments@lowimpacthydro.org with “Hailesboro Projects” in the subject line, or by mail addressed to the Low Impact Hydropower Institute, 1167 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02476. All requests will be posted to the website. The applicant will have an opportunity to respond and any response will also be posted. Requests must be received by 5 pm Eastern time on June 3, 2023.

February 7, 2023: The Low Impact Hydropower Institute has received a complete application for Low Impact Certification of the Hailesboro No. 3, 4, & 6 Hydroelectric Project.  LIHI is seeking public comment on this application.  Specifically, we are interested in knowing whether you think the Project meets the LIHI Low Impact Certification Criteria, as revised in the 2nd Edition Handbook.  Please review the program and criteria in LIHI’s revised Handbook and then review the Project’s application materials below. Comments that are directly tied to specific LIHI criteria (flows, water quality, fish passage, etc.) will be most helpful, but all comments will be considered.  Comments may be submitted to the Institute by e-mail at comments@lowimpacthydro.org with “Hailesboro 3, 4, & 6 Project Comments” in the subject line, or by mail addressed to the Low Impact Hydropower Institute, 1167 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington, MA 02476. Comments must be received on or before 5 pm Eastern time on April 8, 2023 to be considered.  All comments will be posted to the web site and the applicant will have an opportunity to respond.  Any response will also be posted.


Certification Files


Key Documents