LIHI Certificate #20 - Salmon River Project, New York

The Salmon River Project consists of two developments along the Salmon River in the towns of Redfield, Orwell, and Oswego, New York. The Salmon River has a 285-square-mile drainage basin located in the north-central region of the state. The project’s operational plan was developed via the Salmon River Project Settlement Offer (SRPSO) in consultation with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), New York Rivers United, the Adirondack Mountain Club, and Trout Unlimited. The SRPSO was designed to provide for the continued operation of the project with long-term environmental protection measures and the balance of power and non-power values in the Salmon River Basin.

The project includes two developments:

  • Bennett’s Bridge Development: The dam is a 607-foot-long and 45-foot-high concrete gravity dam with a reinforced concrete intake structure, 92 feet long by 39.5 feet wide by 53 feet high. The dam is comprised of a 107-foot-long non-overflow section, a 244-foot-long un-gated spillway section equipped with 2-foot-high flashboards, and a 256-foot-long gated spillway section with eleven 11.5-foot-high by 20-foot-wide Tainter gates. The project impounds a reservoir with a maximum surface area of 3,550 acres which creates a 3.5-mile-long bypass reach. Three earth dikes 100, 1,330 and 695 feet long are located along the south shore of the reservoir. The 10,000-foot-long conduit system consists of: a concrete tunnel section 650 feet long and12 feet in diameter; a reinforced plastic pipeline section 7,790 feet long and 12 feet in diameter; a steel pipeline section 1,200 feet long and 11.5 feet in diameter; a surge tank 105 feet high; a steel distributor 200 feet long and 12 feet in diameter; and four steel penstocks, each 330 feet long and 8 feet in diameter, with associated shut-off and air valves. The powerhouse is made of concrete, brick, and steel, and contains four turbine-generator units with a combined capacity of 28.75 MW.
  • Lighthouse Hill Development: The dam is a 382-foot-long concrete gravity dam consisting of a155-foot-long and 59-foot-high non-overflow section, a 43-foot-long and 53-foot-high un-gated spillway section controlled by 1-foot-high flashboards, and a 184-foot-long and 46-foot-high spillway section, gated with eight 20-foot-wide by 7-foot high Tainter gates equipped with1-foot-high flashboards. The dam impounds a reservoir with a maximum surface area of 170 acres which creates a 0.57-mile-long bypass reach. The earthen dike is 324 feet long and 40 feet high. The development has three 17-foot-wide by 8-foot-high by 62-foot-long concrete penstocks and a 15-foot-long sluice gate section leading to the powerhouse. The powerhouse is made of concrete, brick, and steel with an intake structure, containing two turbine-generator units as well as an environmental flow turbine-generator unit. Combined capacity of all units is 7.5 MW. The environmental flow generating unit is operated to continuously release year-round base flows. The tailrace is 40 feet wide and 2,800 feet long.
Project Name Salmon River
LIHI Certificate No. 20
LIHI Certificate Term November 14, 2013 - November 14, 2021
Owner Erie Boulevard Hydropower, L.P. (Brookfield Renewable Energy Group)
State New York
Location Located between river mile 13.8 and 18 on Salmon River in the towns of Redfield and Orwell, Oswego, New York.
Installed Capacity Total: 36.25 MW Bennett’s Bridge: 28.75 MW Lighthouse Hill: 7.5 MW
Average Annual Generation 144,960 MWh
Facility Type Bennett’s Bridge: Seasonal store and release that operates in a peaking mode. Lighthouse Hill: Store and release that operates in re-regulating mode.
FERC No. P-11408 issued 1996, expires 2036

The project operates as a seasonal store-and-release facility in a peaking mode at the Bennett’s Bridge development and as a store-and-release facility in a re-regulating mode at the Lighthouse Hill development. Flows are dictated by the SRPSO and a Flow Management Advisory Team is responsible for evaluating changing conditions that may affect river flows and thus change project flow operations. The team consists of NYSDEC, US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the National Park Service, NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, American Whitewater, New York Rivers United, Trout Unlimited, Adirondack Mountain Club, Oswego County River Guides, Oswego County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, Oswego County Legislators, Village of Pulaski Mayor, Albion County Legislator, Supervisor Town of Redfield, Pulaski/Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce, Salmon River Fishery Committee, and the project owner.

The Bennett’s Bridge development provides a continuous minimum flow of 20 cfs from July 1 through September 30 and 7 cfs the rest of the year into the bypass reach. The Lighthouse Hill development provides a 22 cfs flow directly to the Salmon River Fish Hatchery.

Waters within the project reach are designated as a cold-water fishery that supports trout. These waters are best suited for fishing and all other uses except as a source of water supply for drinking, culinary or food processing purposes, and primary contact recreation. The river reach is also listed as impaired for PCBs and Mirex, contaminated sediments. NYSDEC has determined that the project is not contributing to, or causing, this impairment.

Fish passage in the project vicinity has historically been blocked by the natural 110-foot Salmon River Falls. Resource agencies have not prescribed any passage facilities at the project. Trashracks are installed at the Lighthouse Hill and Bennett’s Bridge developments with 1-inch spacing and 1.5-inch spacing respectively.

The project lands consist of state forest land, owned and managed by the state of New York. The project impoundments have dedicated buffer zones for conservation purposes.

PLUS-Standard: Through voluntary efforts, the project owner collaborated with the State to develop project land-use practices that are consistent with the adjoining state properties. A Land-Use Management Plan (LUMP) was developed with NYSDEC and provides management provisions for the shorelines and protects undeveloped properties in the area. The project owner also established and finances the Salmon River Enhancement Fund which supports efforts made under the LUMP for the Salmon River.

Threatened or endangered species potentially present in the project vicinity include the bald eagle and Indiana bat. The bald eagle is an occasional transient species in the area but is not impacted by project operations. The Indiana bat is thought to be present in the downstream reach and potentially in project areas. Any activities with the potential to impact the listed species, such as logging, must first have approval and consultation from USFWS.

Historic resources at the project include the Bennett’s Bridge powerhouse, dam, and surge tank. A historic properties management plan has been implemented at the project and includes provisions requiring the submission of annual reports on activities conducted at the project to the State Historic Preservation Office.

Recreational resources at the project include picnic areas, fishing access, boat ramps, a camping area, and hiking trails. Additionally, the project owner provides releases for whitewater boating activities at least five weekends annually. Whitewater flows are provided as follows: one weekend in June - 400 cfs; two weekends in July - 750 cfs; the first full weekend in August - 750 cfs; and the first weekend in September - 750 cfs. Public access is provided free of charge.

Certification History

December 8, 2014: The Salmon River Hydroelectric Project (FERC No. 11408), LIHI Certificate No. 20 has been determined by the Executive Director, Michael J. Sale to satisfy the requirements of the Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI) Certification Program. The decision to certify the Salmon River Hydroelectric Project is for an 8-year term, effective November 14, 2013 and expiring November 14, 2021.

November 18, 2013: Erie Boulevard Hydropower, L.P. has submitted an application for recertification of the Salmon River Project. Due to an administrative backlog, the current certificate has been granted a three month extension beyond the expiration date of November 14, 2013.

March 28, 2006: The Salmon River Hydroelectric Project has been certified as low impact for an eight year term, effective November 14, 2005 and expiring November 14, 2013.

November 14, 2005: An application for certification of the Salmon River Hydroelectric project was submitted.