LIHI Certificate #119 – Texon Project, Massachusetts
|Project Name||Texon (Crescent)|
|LIHI Certificate No.||119|
|LIHI Certificate Term
||March 13, 2020 – March 12, 2030|
|Owner||Hitchcock Hydro, LLC, a subsidiary of Gravity Renewables, Inc.|
|Location||Located on river mile 24 on the Westfield River in the town of Russell, Hampden County, MA.|
|Installed Capacity||1.5 MW|
|Average Annual Generation||5,000 MWh|
|FERC No.||P-2986 exempt 1982|
The Texon Project is located on the Westfield River between the towns of Russell and Huntington, MA. The River runs for 78 miles through western Massachusetts from the Berkshire Hills region to its confluence with the Connecticut River, and contains Wild and Scenic River segments upstream of the project, primarily in the River’s tributaries. The East, Middle and West branches of the river begin on the eastern slopes of the Berkshires, and flow southward through mostly rural communities. The project is situated 20 miles upstream of the confluence with the Connecticut River, between the downstream Indian River Project and the upstream Army Corps of Engineers Littleville and Knightville Dams. The river is currently used for recreational purposes such as fishing and boating, with the best areas being located upstream of the project in the river’s four tributaries. The project is owned by Hitchcock Hydro, LLC.
The project includes: a 250-foot-wide by 12-foot-high masonry gravity dam comprised of stone blocks and concrete with 3-foot-high wooden flashboards; an angled bar rack intake; a downstream fish passage collection chamber and bypass pipe; a trash sluice; concrete inlet channel and forebay; a single Kaplan unit with an installed capacity of 1.5 MW in the powerhouse; a substation; and appurtenant facilities.
The project is located adjacent to an abandoned mill on the western side and a railway on the eastern side. The riverbanks immediately downstream are bounded by exposed bedrock outcrops. Access to the river downstream of the project is located on the eastern embankment of the tailrace and serves as a put-in for canoers and fishermen. The powerhouse is adjacent to the dam, so the bypass reach is minimal.
The project operates in run-of-river mode and impounds a 3-acre reservoir. The project provides a minimum flow of 22 cfs. The regime was developed via recommendation from the USFWS. Additionally, the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MDFW) stated that it does not have any concerns about protection of fish and wildlife protection in regard to the flow regime.
Waters within the project reach are designated Class 5 Impaired or threatened for aesthetic value and fish/aquatic wildlife protection and propagation. The probable sources of these impairments are municipal point source discharges/sewage. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has confirmed that the project has no influence on the Category 5 designation.
Several downstream natural features, including natural falls, have historically prevented upstream migration of many anadromous species. However, upstream fish passage is provided for American eel populations that are present in the project area. Upstream fish passage for the species is available via eelways on either side of the dam. Downstream fish passage was installed at the request of MDFW. The passage consists of a 45-degree angle intake structure with trashracks with 1-inch clear spacing, a dropbox, and a downstream pipe bypass.
The project property consists of roughly half an acre. There are no lands of significant ecological value in the project reach due to the project’s small footprint. No threatened or endangered species, or their habitats, are found in the project property.
Cultural resources in the project area include a nearby 19th century paper mill site which could meet National Register criteria. Consultation with the Massachusetts Historical Commission confirmed that the project is unlikely to affect any historic or archaeological resources.
Recreational resources at the project include a canoe portage, hiking trail, and fishing access. Informal public access is provided free of charge.
The Certificate includes the following facility-specific conditions:
- Condition 1: If a resource agency formally requests downstream American eel passage at the Project during the term of the new LIHI certificate, the facility Owner shall notify LIHI within 90 days of such action and shall provide a plan and schedule for installation upon plan approval by the resource agency(ies).
2022: 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 change. The compliance review found that the downstream Russell (Indian River) project P-12462 is installing an upstream American eel ladder. Texon has voluntary upstream eel passage already in place.
2021: Annual reporting for the current Certificate has not yet taken effect.
January 1, 2022: The LIHI Certificate term has been extended in accordance with Revision 2.05 of the LIHI 2nd Edition Certification Handbook issued January 1, 2022. Refer to the facility table above for the new term.
April 26, 2021: The decision to recertify the Texon Project became final after the close of the appeals period on April 18, 2021 with no appeals filed. The Certification term is from March 13, 2020 – March 12, 2025.
March 19, 2021: The Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI) has preliminarily approved recertification of the Texon (Crescent) Project for a new 5-year term of Low Impact Certification.
This decision is preliminary pending the 30-day appeal window. Only those who commented on the initial application during the 60-day comment period are eligible to file an appeal. Such appeal needs to include an explanation as to how the Project does not meet the LIHI criteria. Appeal requests can be submitted by email to email@example.com with “Texon (Crescent) Project” 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 April 18, 2021. The full application and reviewer’s report are available below.
If no appeal requests are received and the decision becomes final, the Certification term for the Project will be March 13, 2020 through March 12, 2025.
January 12, 2021: The Low Impact Hydropower Institute has received a complete application for Low Impact recertification of the Texon Hydroelectric Project located on the Westfield river in Massachusetts. The complete application can be found below.
LIHI is seeking public comment on this application. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org with “Texon 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 March 13, 2021 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.
June 15, 2015: Executive Director Michael J. Sale, using authority delegated from the LIHI Governing Board and a full review of the Application Reviewer’s report and all public comments and additional materials provided by the Applicant, has determined that the Crescent Hydroelectric Project (FERC No. 2986) meets the LIHI Certification Criteria. The effective certification date for the Crescent Project is March 13, 2015 for a five (5) year term, which will expire on March 13, 2020, with the following condition:
- Condition satisfied in 2018. The Facility Owner shall install upstream eel passage facilities as required by Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MDFW) by July 15, 2016. The applicant shall work in collaboration with MDFW to install temporary eelways during summer of 2015 to find the right locations, prior to finalizing the permanent upstream passage by date listed above.
March 16, 2015: On March 13, 2015, the Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI) received a complete application from Littleville Power Company, Inc., for the Low Impact Certification of the Crescent Project, FERC P-2986, located on the Westfield River in the town of Russell, Hampden County, Massachusetts.
- Texon Recertification Review 2021-03-16
- Texon Recertification Application
- Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Comment Letter – Texon Recertification 2021
- Crescent Certification Review Report 2015
- Crescent Certification Application Questionnaire
- Crescent Application Attachment – Facility Description
- Crescent Application Attachment – Agency Contacts
- Crescent Application Attachment – FERC Exemption
- Crescent Application Attachment – Flows
- Crescent Application Attachment – Water Quality
- Crescent Application Attachment – Fish Passage
- Crescent Application Attachment – Watershed Protection
- Crescent Application Attachment – Threatened and Endangered Species
- Crescent Application Attachment – Cultural Resources Management Plan
- Crescent Application Attachment – Recreation
- Crescent (Texon) FERC Exemption 1982
- Crescent (Texon) Water Quality Certificate 1981