LIHI Certificate #37 - Kingsley Dam Project, Nebraska
|Project Name||Kingsley Dam|
|LIHI Certificate No.||37|
|LIHI Certificate Term||May 22, 2018 – May 21, 2031|
|Owner||Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District|
|Location||Kingsley Dam is located at river mile 57.3 on the North Platte River and Central Diversion Dam at river mile 310 on the Platte River in south central Nebraska. At the lower end, the Johnson No. 2 return to the Platte River is at river mile 246.5|
|Installed Capacity||115.7 MW|
|Average Annual Generation||373,373 MWh|
|Facility Type||store/release, diversion, conduit|
|FERC No.||P-1417 issued 1998, expires 2038|
The Kingsley Dam Project consists of dams, reservoirs, canals, and power plants located on the North Platte and Platte Rivers in Garden, Keith, Lincoln, Dawson, and Gosper Counties in south-central Nebraska. Four developments comprise the development. They are Kingsley Dam Hydro, Jeffrey Dam Hydro, Johnson #1 Hydro, and Johnson #2 Hydro. Three of the developments were constructed at the time Kingsley Dam was built in 1941. The Kingsley Hydro development was added in 1984. Kingsley Dam itself is located in Keith County, near the town of Ogallala. The project is owned and operated by the Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District (CNPPID), a subdivision of the State of Nebraska.
The North Platte River originates in Colorado and contains flood control and irrigation dams in Wyoming and Nebraska. The river flows north about 200 miles to Casper, WY where it turns to the east-southeast and flow about 350 miles to the City of North Platte, NE. The South Platte River joins near the City of North Platte, NE forming the Platte River. The Platte River is about 310 miles long and mostly characterized as a muddy, broad, shallow, meandering stream. It is a tributary to the Missouri River which is itself a tributary to the Mississippi River.
A Settlement Agreement (SA) was negotiated in 1998 and provides balance between developmental and environmental resources for both the Kingsley Dam project and the North Platte/Keystone Diversion project owned by the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD). Major parties to the SA included the US Department of the Interior, the States of Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming, Platte River Whooping Crane Critical Habitat Maintenance Trust, National Audubon Society, American Rivers, Sierra Club, Nebraska Wildlife Federation, and Nebraska Water Users.
The project includes four developments:
- Kingsley Development: The dam was constructed in 1941 and is a163-foot-high earthen dam and dike with a maximum water height behind the dam of 142 feet. The dam also features a gated morning glory spillway, a 475-foot-long emergency spillway, and a 685-foot-long reinforced concrete penstock that directs water to the powerhouse. The dam creates Lake McConaughy, a reservoir with a surface area of 30,500 acres. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s (USBR) North Platte Project upstream on the North Platte River utilizes the water for irrigation and hydroelectric production. The North Platte Project extends 111 miles along the North Platte River Valley from Guernsey, Wyoming to Bridgeport, Nebraska. Return flows from the Project facilities into the North Platte River make up a significant portion of the inflow to Lake McConaughy. The project is operated for power production and water supply to support downstream irrigation demands. The powerhouse contains a single 51.9 MW turbine. Discharge from the powerhouse passes directly into Lake Ogallala and from there through either the NPPD Keystone Diversion dam into the North Platte River, or through NPPD’s canal system to be returned to the river near North Platte, about four miles downstream the CNPPID Central Diversion Dam to the CNPPID Supply Canal which incorporates 27 dams and impoundments and three hydropower plants (Jeffrey, Johnson #1, Johnson #2).
- Central Diversion Dam: The dam is located 50 miles downstream of Kingsley dam. It was constructed in 1941 and is 874 feet long and stretches completely across the Platte River. It forms a 25-acre pond that extends from the dam upstream some 2,000 feet to the confluence of the South Platte and North Platte Rivers. The dam also features a 342-foot-long radial gate section, a 371-foot-long reinforced concrete ogee, a 161-foot-long radial gate section, a 3,738-foot-long north dike, a 10,700-foot-long south dike, and appurtenant facilities. No hydropower is generated at this development. The dam and water supply canal create a 75-mile-long bypassed reach in the Platte River. During irrigation season, natural inflow is released to the Platte River for downstream water users.
- Jeffrey Hydro: The dam was constructed in 1941 and is a compacted earth structure, 70 feet high. A 700-foot-long concrete lined inlet canal passes water through two 360-foot-long, 12-foot-diameter penstocks to the powerhouse. The dam creates the Jeffrey Reservoir, a regulating reservoir for Jeffrey Hydro with a surface area of 575 acres. Inflow into the reservoir is from the CNPPID Supply Canal. Outflow from the reservoir is through the Jeffrey Hydro plant back into the supply canal. Jeffrey Hydro contains two turbine generators with a total capacity of 21.6 MW. All water exits the reservoir through the turbines. Turbine outflows continue downstream to the Central Double Check Gate which can release outflow back to the Platte River or downstream to the Johnson Reservoir. The development supplies water to two irrigation canals as well as the downstream Johnson developments.
- Johnson Developments: A 8,336-foot-long, 47-foot-high dam creates the Johnson Reservoir, a regulating reservoir for the Johnson #1 Hydro with a surface area of 2,500 acres. Water passes from the reservoir through two 358-foot-long, 12-foot-diameter penstocks to provide flow to the Johnson #1 Hydro plant. Similar to Jeffrey Hydro, the powerhouse contains two turbine generators, with a total capacity of 21.6 MW and operates in a peaking mode. A 4.5-foot-diameter pipe can optionally pass flow downstream without using the turbines. Water released from this development exits the plant through the tailrace and travels through the Supply Canal 5.7 miles to the Johnson #2 Hydro Plant. Water passes from the Supply Canal through a 1,054-foot-long, 14-foot-diameter steel penstock to provide flow to the Johnson #2 Hydro plant. A bypass tube is available to route water around the turbine during maintenance operations if necessary. The powerhouse contains one 22.5 MW turbine generator.
The project operates in modes which vary by development:
- Kingsley is operated in a store and release mode without any minimum or base flow requirements.
- Central Diversion is operated as a diversion/run-of-river facility. All water is passed into the CNPPID Supply Canal unless there is an overabundance of water in the Platte River, water right holders exercise their rights, or US Fish and Wildlife Service requests water to be provided for instream flows.
- Jeffrey operates as a conduit facility with no bypass. All outflow is passed through turbines.
- Johnson 1 and Johnson 2 operate as conduit facilities. Water is directed to the Supply Canal during irrigation season or the Johnson 2 River Return to send outflow back to the Platte River during non-irrigation season.
Waters within the project reach are designated as Category 1, waters in which all designated uses are met including aquatic biota habitat, recreation, water supply, and aesthetics. Lake McConaughy is listed as a Category 5 water impaired use for aquatic life from total phosphorus, chlorophyll-a, and mercury. The cause of this impairment is unknown. The Central Diversion Dam accumulates sand and sediment which is removed annually with a minimum flow of 100 cfs provided during such activities. CNPPID Supply Channel and Jeffrey Reservoir are listed as Category 2, waters that meet all designated uses, but insufficient information is available to designate them as Category 1. Johnson reservoir is listed as impaired for elevated chlorophyll due to total nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations from agricultural runoff. Impairments are not caused by operation of the project.
The project’s waterbodies are all managed by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC) as sport fisheries. The structures associated with the project prevent upstream migration of fish species. However, this also reduces the chances that the invasive Asian carp may enter other parts of the river system. Additionally, none of the resident species are prevented from finishing their life cycle though they do fragment fish populations in the river. These waterbodies are maintained as quality sport fisheries for walleye, smallmouth bass, and white bass. The Game and Parks Commission did not express any concerns about project impacts on fish migration in the river.
The project lands consist of over 36,000 acres. The project shorelines at Lake McConaughy and Lake Ogallala are leased to the NGPC which adopted a master plan that governs land use, development, and recreational opportunities. The sand collected during dredging at Central Diversion hosts several pairs of least terns and piping plovers thus CNPPID protects the sand pile as part of their tern and plover management plan. The project’s land and shoreline management plan details the maintenance and protection of the rest of the project owned shoreline.
Threatened or endangered species potentially present in the project vicinity include the American burying beetle, bald eagle, whooping crane, least tern, piping plover, and river otter. The river otter was reintroduced along the North Platte River upstream of the project. The species is expanding its reach and is on its way to making a full population recovery in Nebraska. The project’s tern and plover management plan serves to mitigate any impacts to those species. Whooping cranes have been observed roosting in the Central Diversion area and US Fish and Wildlife Service has designated critical habitat for the species in the Platte River below the J2 Return although the species occurs throughout the project reaches. Over 4,000 acres of project property are actively managed to support the crane, tern, and plover species. Bald eagle has been noted as a transient species in the Jeffrey Return area of the Platte River. American burying beetles are found in the surrounding areas but not at the project facilities. The project’s land and shoreline management plan accounts for and provides provisions for the protection of all listed species.
The project owner has implemented a cultural and historic resources management plan to ensure the protection of resources which include the engineering and construction system used to construct the project. CNPPID monitors these resources and reports issues to the State Historical Preservation Officer.
Recreational resources at the project include fishing access, boating access, and waterskiing access. Public boat ramps are provided on project property as well as camping facilities, hiking/biking access, and a swimming beach. Public access is provided free of charge.
PLUS-Standard: The project owner has conducted significant dredging to open boat passage between boating areas in the Jeffrey Reservoir. Additionally, the owner constructed a 10-mile hiking/biking trail including an access bridge across the outlet canal of the Johnson Reservoir. The owner constructed and operates an eagle viewing building at the Kingsley development which is visited by over 1,000 people each season.
The Certificate includes the following facility-specific condition:
- Condition partially satisfied in 2019. Condition 1: Since the final actions pertaining to the erosion concerns at Lake McConaughy are not yet completed, the facility Owner shall provide to LIHI by August 31, 2019 a summary of agency and public consultation related to proposed project boundary changes at Lake McConaughy, the outcome of that consultation, and a copy of the annual boundary review report provided to FERC (due by July 31, this portion satisfied). The facility Owner shall also submit FERC’s final decision regarding the relevant project boundary changes to LIHI within 30 days of issuance.
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 response from FERC on boundary changes and that erosion control activities are taking place at Lake McConaughy.
2021: There were no reported changes or compliance issues. The project remains in compliance based on the annual review. For Condition 1, the project reported FERC’s February 9, 2021 notice of the non-capacity license amendment application filed December 31, 2020 to change the project boundary, which as proposed would add a net increase of 2,500 acres in the FERC project boundary.
2020: There were no reported changes or compliance issues. The project remains in compliance based on the annual review. For Condition 1, the project reported no change in status.
2019: There were no reported changes or compliance issues. The project remains in compliance based on the annual review. For Condition 1, the project submitted boundary review information.
2018: 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.
August 1, 2019: The decision to recertify the Kingsley Dam Hydroelectric Project is final. No appeals were received during the appeal period which closed on March 10, 2019. The new certification term for the Project is from May 22, 2018 through May 21, 2026.
February 8, 2019: The Low Impact Hydropower Institute has preliminarily approved Low Impact Certification for the Kingsley Dam Hydroelectric Project for a new 8-year term:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org with “Kingsley Dam Hydroelectric Project” in the subject line, or by mail addressed to the Low Impact Hydropower Institute, 329 Massachusetts Ave, Suite 2, 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 March 10, 2019. The full application and reviewers report are available below.
If no appeal requests are received and the decision becomes final, the new certification term for the Project will be May 22, 2018, 2018 through May 21, 2026.
October 23, 2018: The Low Impact Hydropower Institute has received a complete application for a new term of Low Impact Certification for the Kingsley Dam Hydroelectric Project. The Project is located on the North Platte and Platte Rivers in south-central Nebraska.
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 2018 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 email@example.com with “Kingsley Dam Project 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 December 22, 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 21, 2013: The Kingsley Dam Hydroelectric Project has been certified for a second five year term of low impact certification, effective May 22, 2013 and expiring May 22, 2018.
May 22, 2013: Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District has submitted an application for recertification of the Kingsley Dam Hydroelectric Project.
December 19, 2008: The Kingsley Dam Project has been certified as low impact for a five year term, effective May 22, 2008 and expiring May 22, 2013.
May 22, 2008: Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District has submitted an application for certification of the Kingsley Dam Hydroelectric Project. A 60 day comment period for public comments on the application for certification will remain open until July 22, 2008.
- Kingsley Dam Recertification Review Report
- Kingsley Dam Recertification Application Revised
- Nebraska State Historic Preservation Office Comment Letter – Kingsley Dam Recertification
- Nebraska Game and Parks Commission Comment Letter – Kingsley Dam Recertification
- Nebraska Public Power District Comment Letter – Kingsley Dam Recertification
- Environmental Account
- Flow Attenuation Plan
- Hydrocycling Agreement