Oswego1

Figure 1. Downstream view of the Oswego Falls East (right) and Oswego Falls West (left) developments at Upper Fulton Dam/Lock 2.

The Oswego Falls Project is located on the Oswego River in the city of Fulton, Oswego County, New York and consists of two powerhouses, the Oswego Falls East (OFE) and Oswego Falls West (OFW) developments, that share a single dam, spillway, and impoundment.  The dam, which was constructed in 1927, and forebay gate structures at the Upper Fulton Dam are owned by the New York State Canal Corporation (NYSCC).

Project Name Oswego Falls
LIHI Certificate Number 35A
LIHI Effective and
Expiration Dates
December 7, 2017 to December 6, 2022
Owner Erie Boulevard Hydropower, L.P.
State New York
Location Located on the Oswego River, New York.
Installed Capacity 7.36 MW
Average Annual Generation 33,780 MWh
Facility Type Run-of-river
FERC No. P-5984

The Oswego River is formed at the confluence of the Seneca and Oneida rivers and flows north approximately 23 river miles to Lake Ontario. The Oswego River first flows through the Lock 1 dam impoundment at the Phoenix Project (FERC No. 4113), which is owned by Algonquin Power. The water flow then enters the Oswego Falls impoundment formed by the Upper Fulton Dam (Lock 2, River Mile 12.6). The Oswego Falls East and Oswego Falls West developments (FERC No. 5984) are located immediately below this impoundment.

The dam at Oswego Falls has a weir section (top elevation of 354.0 feet) and a spillway section for overflow, equipped with a 1.5-foothigh pneumatic flashboard system installed and maintained by EBH. The spillway’s crest elevation is 351.8 feet. The top of the pneumatic system is at elevation 353.3 feet. To the west of the weir section, there are six Tainter gates which allow lowering the impoundment to elevation 343.8 feet.

This dam creates a head pond extending 9.4 miles upstream with a gross volume of 3,540 acre-feet and a surface face area of 580 acres at elevation 353.3 feet. The usable storage at 0.5 of drawdown is about 300 acre-feet.

The dam and forebay gate structures at the Upper Fulton dam are owned by New York State Canal Corporation (NYSCC). The dam has a weir section and a spillway section for overflow, and the crest is equipped with a 1.5-foot-high pneumatic flashboard system installed and maintained by Erie. To the west of the weir section, there are six Tainter gates, which are owned by NYSCC. The Oswego Falls West Development is located on the left bank (looking downstream), and the Oswego Falls East Development is located on the opposite (right) bank. In accordance with the 2004 Offer of Settlement and 2006 FERC order amending the license for the Oswego Falls Project, a seasonal (June 15 to September 15) upstream eel conveyance system will be installed at the Oswego Falls Project by the end of 2008.

The existing licensed operational mode for the Oswego Falls Project is modified run-of-river operation, which allows for a 0.5-foot impoundment fluctuation. The Project generates with inflows between 652 cfs and 7,158 cfs, and flows outside of this range are spilled at the dam. The licensed bypass flow for the Oswego Falls Project is 236 cfs or inflow, whichever is less. Of this total bypass flow, 70 cfs is released at the East Development, and 166 is released through the No. 1 Tainter gate.

The Project operation is coordinated with the other Oswego River hydro developments on the Oswego River. Each project uses its storage capabilities to generate power using a modified run-of-river (MROR) operation. At the Project, the MROR operation allows for a 0.5-foot impoundment fluctuation.

The licensed bypass flow for the Project is the lesser of 236 cfs or inflow. The initial 70 cfs of bypass flow is released at the OFE development with the remainder released through Taintor gate 1, which is adjacent to the pneumatic flashboard section of the dam.

The Project generates when total inflow exceeds 652 cfs; enough water to pass the bypass flow plus running one turbine at its minimum turbine limit. Once total inflow exceeds 7,158 cfs, the total hydraulic capacity of the Project, all excess water is spilled at the dam.

Certification History

June 4, 2018 – The 30-day appeal window for the preliminary certification decision of the Oswego Falls  Hydroelectric Project closed on May 31, 2018 with no appeals to the decision received. The decision is therefore final and the Oswego Falls Hydroelectric Project is recertified for a term from December 7, 2017 through December 6, 2022.

May 1, 2018 – On April 27, 2018, the Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI) preliminarily approved the Oswego Falls Project for a new 5-year term of Low Impact Certification.

The reviewer’s report is attached at the bottom of this page. This decision is preliminary pending the 30-day appeal window. Only those who commented in the initial application 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 to comments@lowimpacthydro.org. Requests must be received by 5 pm Eastern time on May 31, 2018. 

If no appeal requests are received and the decision becomes final, the new term for the Oswego Falls Project will be December 7, 2017 through December 6, 2022.

January 2, 2018: The Low Impact Hydropower Institute has received a complete application for a new term of Low Impact Certification for the Oswego Falls Hydroelectric Project. The Oswego Falls Project is located on the Oswego River in the city of Fulton, Oswego County, New York. The 2017 application materials can be found below. LIHI is seeking public comment on this application. Specifically, we are interested in knowing whether you think the Oswego Falls project meets the LIHI Low Impact Certification Criteria, as revised in the 2nd Edition Handbook released in March 2016. Please review the program and criteria in LIHI’s revised Handbook and then review the Project’s 2017 application materials posted on the project page. 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 with͞ Oswego Falls Comments in the subject line, or by mail addressed to the Low Impact Hydropower Institute, 329 Massachusetts Avenue, Suite 2, Lexington, MA 02420. Comments must be received at the Institute on or before 5 pm Eastern time on March 3, 2018 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.

October 12, 2017: The Oswego Falls Hydroelectric Project has been granted an extension of the current term through June 30, 2018.

March 10, 2015:  The Oswego Falls Project has been determined to continue to satisfy the LIHI Certification Criteria, and a new Low Impact Certification term is effective December 7, 2012 with an expiration on December 7, 2017.  The newly defined Oswego Falls Project has been certified for an additional 5-year term as LIHI Certificate No. 35A.  The Oswego Falls Project comprised of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) license 5984 for Erie Boulevard Hydropower’s Oswego Falls East & West hydro developments.  In December 2007, the Oswego Falls Project was certified as part of the larger Oswego River Project (LIHI 35), which was comprised of hydro developments in FERC licenses 5984 and 2474 (Oswego Falls East, Oswego Falls West, Fulton, Minetto and Varick). LIHI’s five year certification for the ORP ended on December 7, 2012. Due to the large disparity in the FERC licensing time frames, LIHI determined that the ORP needs to be separated into two individual LIHI projects. The Oswego Falls will now be defined as LIHI Project 35A going forward.  The remaining part of the Oswego project, for developments in FERC license 2474, will now be defined as the Oswego River Project (LIHI 35B)

January 16, 2013:  Erie Boulevard Hydropower, L.P. has submitted an application for recertification of the Oswego Falls and Oswego River Projects.

July 3, 2008: The Oswego Falls and Oswego River Projects have been certified as low impact for a five year term, effective December 7, 2007 and expiring December 7, 2012.

December 7, 2007: Erie Boulevard Hydropower, L.P. has submitted an application for certification of the Oswego Falls and Oswego River Projects. A public comment period will be open for 60 days; all comments must be received by February 7, 2008.


Files:

2018 Recertification

2007 Certification