LIHI Certificate #154 – Barton Village Project, Vermont

The Barton Village Project is located on the Clyde River in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. The project is located in the Town of Charleston, which is approximately ten miles south of the United States-Canada border and fifteen miles northeast from Barton Village. Originally constructed in the 1890’s, the project lands include Pensioner Pond Dam and the Great Falls of the Clyde. There are two other hydroelectric facilities on the Clyde River: the Clyde River Hydroelectric Project which consists of the West Charleston and Newport projects.

The project includes a masonry and concrete gravity dam, spillway, three penstocks, a powerhouse containing two Francis turbine/generator units, and two tailraces.

The gravity dam is a 77-foot-long, 24-foot-tall structure with a 665-foot-long, 7-foot-diameter steel penstock and two 105-foot-long, 5.5 and 5.8-foot-diameter steel penstocks leading to the powerhouse containing two Francis turbine/generating units with an installed capacity of 1.4 MW. The primary water conveyance structure at the dam is the flashboard topped spillway with a total length of approximately 53 feet. In addition, the west gate structure consists of three conveyances that allow water to pass into the bypassed reach which is a significant natural falls. Known as the Great Falls of the Clyde, the reach is a large limestone gorge with several waterfalls. The project uses an automation system which controls and records operation of the project. A series of Programmable Logic Controllers connects to a Human Machine Interface which allows for remote control, programming, and recording of key parameters.

The project operates in run-of-river mode and impounds a187-acre reservoir known as Pensioner Pond. The project provides a minimum flow of 45 cfs in the bypassed reach. The automation controls mentioned above assist in run-of-river adherence. This flow regime was developed in consultation with Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (VANR).

Project Name Barton Village
LIHI Certificate No. 154
LIHI Certificate Term March 29, 2019 - March 28, 2024
Owner Barton Village Electric Dept
State Vermont
Location River mile 11.3 on the Clyde River, Charleston VT
Installed Capacity 1.4 MW
Average Annual Generation 4,273 MWh
Facility Type Run of river
FERC No. P-7725 issued 2004, expires 2043

Waters within the project reach are designated Class B and managed for cold water fish habitat. These waters maintain high quality habitat for aquatic biota, fish, and wildlife as well as exhibiting good aesthetic value and primary recreation. VANR confirms that the project does not have an adverse effect on water quality. Additionally, the project has measures in place to ensure high water quality including its run-of-river operations, minimum bypass flows, and water monitoring through the use of its automation controls.

Downstream dams create a barrier to upstream passage at the project. Resource agencies have not prescribed any fish passage facilities at the project due to the coarse nature of the substrate in the bypass reach. Downstream fish passage is facilitated via the 45-cfs bypass flow and entrainment is mitigated via trashracks with 1-inch spacing. VDEC worked with the project owner to facilitate improvements adjacent to the intake such that water is directed with adequate depth to allow for safe fish movement. Pensioner Pond and the Clyde River are home to about 50 fish species including white sucker, longnose sucker, smallmouth bass, slimy sculpin, brook trout, rainbow trout, rainbow smelt, and walleye.

The project lands consist of 14 acres. As a run-of-river facility, the project does not impact the shoreline nor its vegetation. The project area does not contain any lands of significant ecological value.

Threatened or endangered species potentially present in the project vicinity include the Canada lynx and Northern long-eared bat. While the Northern long-eared bat is not known to occur at the project, any potential impact is minimized by scheduling distribution line tree maintenance from October1-April 14 in accordance with Vermont’s Regulatory Review Guidance concerning Northern long-eared bat protection. Further review with the Vermont Nongame and Natural Heritage Database confirmed that no rare animal species are found in the project area.

The project itself is eligible for listing on the National Register for Historic Places but has not been included in the Register. Consultation with the State Historic Preservation Office must occur prior to any necessary alterations to the project.

Recreational resources at the project include a portage trail for anglers and canoeists/kayakers, a camping area, and several hiking trails. Access to the tailrace is provided via a wooden stairway. Public access is provided free of charge.


Certification History

August 13, 2019: The decision to certify the Barton Village Hydroelectric Project is final. No appeals were received during the appeal period which closed on July 19, 2019. The new certification term for the Project is from March 29, 2019 through March 28, 2024. The Certification includes one condition:

  • Partially Satisfied 2020 - Condition 1: Upon completion of the current water year (Oct. 1, 2018 – Sep. 30, 2019), the Facility Owner shall provide operations data to VDEC that documents run of river compliance. The Facility Owner shall submit the data to VDEC by December 31, 2019 and provide any response from the agency in the first annual compliance submittal to LIHI.

June 19, 2019: The Low Impact Hydropower Institute has preliminarily approved Low Impact Certification for the Barton Village Hydroelectric Project.

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 comments@lowimpacthydro.org with “Barton Village Hydroelectric Project” in the subject line, or by mail addressed to the Low Impact Hydropower Institute, 329 Massachusetts Ave, Suite 6, Lexington, MA 02420. 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 July 19, 2019.  The full application and reviewers report are available below.

If no appeal requests are received and the decision becomes final, the Certification term for the Project (pending LIHI #154) will be March 29, 2019 for a five (5) year term which will expire on March 28, 2024.

April 3, 2019: The Low Impact Hydropower Institute has received a complete application for Low Impact Certification of the Barton Village 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 “Barton Village Project Comments” in the subject line, or by mail addressed to the Low Impact Hydropower Institute, 329 Massachusetts Avenue, Suite 6, Lexington, MA 02420.  Comments must be received on or before 5 pm Eastern time on June 2, 2019 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.