LIHI Certificate #126 – York Haven Project, Pennsylvania

March 30, 2020 – COVID-19 Update:  York Haven has temporarily closed its tailrace fishing area until further notice.

York Haven Power Company, LLC (YHPC), owns and operates the York Haven Project (Project) on the Susquehanna River in York, Dauphin, and Lancaster counties in Pennsylvania. The Project is licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) as Project No. 1888. Construction of the Project began in 1901. Initial construction of the hydroelectric plant was completed on August 18, 1904, with the last of the 20 units placed in service in 1914. The Project powerhouse is located at river mile (RM) 55 of the Susquehanna River, approximately 17 miles downstream from the City of Harrisburg.

The Project has 20 generating units operating in a run-of-river mode with an installed capacity of 19.62 megawatts (MW) and an estimated maximum hydraulic capacity of 17,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) under optimum head conditions. The Project is capable of maintaining run-of-river operations and impoundment water level under low to moderate streamflow conditions. During periods of moderate to high runoff (>17,000 cfs), the Project cannot control water levels. The York Haven powerhouse is located on the western side of the Susquehanna River, parallel to the western river bank. The 20 individual generating units range in size from 700 to 1,600 kilowatts (kW).

The Project works include a stone masonry headrace wall, which extends 3,000 feet upstream from the north end of the powerhouse in a northerly direction parallel to the west bank of the river. This headrace wall serves to direct water to the powerhouse. The Main Dam is attached to the headrace and runs from the north end of the headrace wall, diagonally, across the main channel of the river approximately 4,970 feet to the west shore of Three Mile Island. The Main Dam is constructed of concrete-covered rock fill and rock fill/timber crib sections with a maximum height at the crest of 18 feet and an average height of 10 feet. The East Channel Dam is a concrete gravity overflow dam, which extends approximately 928 feet in an easterly direction, from the east shore of Three Mile Island to the east bank of the river, with an average height of 9 feet from foundation level.

The East Channel Dam incorporates a vertical slot fishway constructed in 2000 to support the upstream passage of anadromous fish, primarily American shad. Two wheel gates, each with a hydraulic capacity of 1,000 cfs, are located just to the east of the fishway to provide the required 2,000 cfs East Channel attraction flow during fish passage operations. Fishway operations for upstream passage occur annually from mid-April to mid-June with the specific dates for each year determined jointly by dam operators, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC). At the normal maximum water surface elevation of 277.91 feet (NGVD29), Lake Frederic, the Project impoundment, is approximately 3.5 miles long with a surface area of 2,218 acres and approximately 9,600 acre-feet of gross storage capacity and a usable storage capacity within its allowable 1.1 feet of fluctuation of about 1,700 acre-feet, or approximately 1 hour of storage at the plant’s maximum hydraulic capacity.

The Project is operated with a year-round continuous minimum flow requirement of 1,000 cfs and an average daily minimum flow requirement of 2,500 cfs, or inflow, whichever is less, both of which can be delivered through the powerhouse. YHPC currently maintains the minimum flow requirement through spillage over the existing dam structures in combination with the operation of a minimum of two turbine-generator units. Additionally, YHPC is required to provide a minimum flow of 2,000 cfs at the East Channel Dam and spill 4,000 cfs at the Main Dam during the American shad passage season while the upstream fish passage facility is operating.

Project Name York Haven
LIHI Certificate No. 126
LIHI Certificate Term August 7, 2015 - August 7, 2020, extended to August 7, 2021
Owner York Haven Power Company, LLC
State Pennsylvania
Location Located at river mile 55 on the Susquehanna River in York, Dauphin, and Lancaster counties in Pennsylvania.
Installed Capacity 19.62 MW
Average Annual Generation 129,384 MWh
Facility Type Run-of-river
FERC No. P-1888 issued 2015, expires 2055

Certification History

March 2, 2021: The Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI) has received a complete recertification application from York Haven Power Company, LLC for the York Haven Project located on the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania.

LIHI is seeking 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 with "York Haven Project Comments” in the subject line, or by mail addressed to the Low Impact Hydropower Institute, 1167 Massachusetts Avenue, Office 407, Arlington, MA 02476. Comments must be received at the Institute on or before 5 pm Eastern time on May 1, 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. The project description and complete application can be found below.

December 24, 2015 – LIHI Executive Director Michael J. Sale, following approval from the Technical Committee of the LIHI Governing Board that resulted from a full review of the Application Reviewer’s report and all public comments and additional materials provided by the Applicant, has certified that the York Haven Hydroelectric Project (FERC No. P-1888) satisfies the LIHI Certification Criteria. A Preliminary Decision was announced on November 25, 2015, and a 30-day appeal period was open through December 24, 2015. No requests for appeal were received. This Certification Decision includes two facility-specific conditions, as follows:

  • Condition 1.  Changes in the negotiated minimum flow rules are still possible.  Minimum flows are established in the 401 Water Quality Certification.  These minimum flows are established for the period prior to the operation of the nature-like fishway (NLF) and for the period after the construction of the NLF is completed.  The facility owner shall follow the flow management schedules as identified in the resource agency documents.  Any changes to the flow regimes (as agreed upon by the resource agencies), or deviations in meeting the agreed to flows, shall be documented in the annual compliance statement to LIHI. If deviations occur, an adequate explanation and recommendation of how to avoid similar deviations in the future should also be reported in the annual compliance statement to LIHI.
  • Condition 2.  Throughout the term of LIHI certification, the facility owner shall adhere to the timelines, monitoring, and study scopes for all fish passage mitigation actions that were agreed to in the 2014 Settlement Agreement and are contained in the 401 Water Quality Certificate, including construction of the NLF.  In its annual compliance statement to LIHI, the facility owner shall summarize progress that has been made toward fish passage improvement goals (including the latest fish passage monitoring statistics), define corrective actions that will be taken where goals are not being met, and describe the current positions of relevant fish management agencies on this progress.  LIHI reserves the right to modify certificate conditions, or to revoke the certification, if sufficient progress is not being made or if the relevant terms of the 2014 Settlement Agreement are not incorporated into the facility’s new FERC license.

The effective certification date for the York Haven Project is August 7, 2015 for a five (5) year term, which will expire on August 7, 2020.

August 7, 2015 – On August 7, 2015, the Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI) received a complete application from York Haven Power Company, LLC for the Low Impact Certification of the York Haven Hydroelectric Project, FERC P-1888, located on the Susquehanna River in York, Dauphin, and Lancaster counties in Pennsylvania.