LIHI Certificate #76 - West Dudley Project, Massachusetts

The West Dudley Hydroelectric Project (“the project”) is located on the Quinebaug River in the town of Dudley, Massachusetts. Industrial, residential and undeveloped lands are all found in the project area. Some of the undeveloped land primarily on the west side of the river, close as it is to intensive industrial and commercial use, provides some wildlife habitat. Undeveloped lands include a number of wooded areas some of which are seasonally flooded. The remainder of the area consists of low-density residential and small industrial development. The project area is located in the Thames River Basin.  The approximate latitude and longitude of the project area are 42° 3'1.64"N and 71°58'53.05"W.

The project is operated as a run-of-river facility. The project is required to maintain a continuous minimum flow of 76 cubic feet per second (ABF .5 cfs) or the inflow to the reservoir, whichever is less. Project works consist of: (a) a reservoir with an 31-acre surface area, and a useable storage capacity of 201 acre-feet; (b) a 55 foot spillway; (c) a dam consisting of two sections 55 feet in length and 144 feet in length, at the junction of which is located an existing 60 foot stone and masonry powerhouse; (d) 4 foot high flashboards; (e) transmission equipment and electrical facilities; and (f) appurtenant equipment.

The powerhouse contains three turbine generators. Unit 1 consists of a modified Medsker bran turbine with a belt driven induction motor. It is a fixed blade Kaplan style which develops 95 kw of power. Unit 2 is also a modified Medsker brand turbine with a belt driven induction motor. It is a fixed blade Kaplan style which develops 120 kw of power. Unit 3 is a Flygt brand submersible unit with a direct-coupled planetary gearbox and induction generator. It is an adjustable blade Kaplan style with output of 95 kw. The total water flow through the project at full operation is approximately 500 cfs.

The project utilizes a previously existing impoundment and the plant is unmanned, but operation is monitored on a 24/7 basis.

On June 10, 1983 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) issued an exemption to the West Dudley Power Company authorizing the operation and maintenance of the West Dudley hydroelectric project (FERC 7254). No agency comments were received in opposition to the exemption. No federally listed threatened or endangered plant species are known to occur within the West Dudley facility area.

As a condition of issuance, the FERC Exemption requires the Applicant to comply with any terms and conditions that the Federal or State fish and wildlife agencies have determined appropriate to prevent loss of, or damage to, fish and wildlife resources. Based on commitments to comply with both state and federal agency recommendations, the facility operates within FERC and Federal or State Fish and Wildlife Agency guidelines. The project’s exemption is subject to termination if the facility is found to be out of compliance. There have been no deficiencies noted by any agency with jurisdiction for the plant.

The Applicant maintains that the project is not currently required by any state or federal agency to maintain upstream or downstream fish passage facilities.  The Applicant says that Dr. Caleb Slater of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife confirmed March 16, 2011 letter that there are no anadromous fish species present in the vicinity of the Project and upstream and downstream fish passage at the project is not required until such time as migratory fish are restored to the project area.

Project Name West Dudley
LIHI Certificate No. 76
LIHI Certificate Term April 7, 2020 - April 6, 2025
Owner West Dudley Hydro, LLC
State Massachusetts
Location Located at approximate river mile 50 on the Quinebaug River in Dudley, Massachusetts.
Installed Capacity 0.310 MW
Average Annual Generation 969 MWh
Facility Type Run-of-river
FERC No. P-7254 exempt 1983

Certification History

November 17, 2020: The decision to recertify the West Dudley Project became final after the close of the appeals period on November 15, 2020 with no appeals filed. The Certification term is from April 7, 2020 – April 6, 2025.

October 16, 2020: The Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI) has preliminarily approved recertification of the West Dudley Project (LIHI #76) for a new 5-year term of Low Impact Certification. The Project is located on the Quinebaug River in Massachusetts. The Certification includes the following condition:

  • Condition 1: The facility Owner will continue to voluntarily provide interim downstream eel passage until such time as the voluntary permanent downstream passage measures are implemented. The facility Owner shall provide LIHI with an annual update on the schedule for permanent passage implementation and, upon completion, shall provide evidence that the installation is functional and acceptable to resource agencies.

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 with "West Dudley 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 November 15, 2020. The full application and reviewer's report are available below. If no appeal requests are received and the decision becomes final, the Certification term for the Project will be April 7, 2020 through April 6, 2025.

August 12, 2020:The Low Impact Hydropower Institute has received a complete application for Low Impact recertification of the West Dudley Hydroelectric Project. The complete application can be found below.

LIHI is seeking public 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 “West Dudley 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 October 11, 2020 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.

May 6, 2016: LIHI Executive Director Michael J. Sale, using authority delegated from the LIHI Governing Board, has certified that the West Dudley Hydroelectric Project (FERC No. P-7254) satisfies the LIHI Certification Criteria. A Preliminary Decision was announced on April 6, 2016, and a 30-day appeal period was open through May 6, 2016. No requests for appeal were received. This Certification Decision includes one facility-specific condition, as follows:

  • Condition 1:The Owner shall continue to provide interim safe, timely, and effective downstream passage for American eel on an annual basis during the period August 15 through November 15.  The Owner shall cease generating from dusk to dawn during that period whenever either of the following occurs: 1) a rain event of 0.25 inch or more in a 24-hour period, or 2) a 50% increase in flow over the previous three-day average flow (e.g., if a substantial water release occurs from an upstream reservoir). The generation shutdowns shall continue for 72 hours (i.e., three nights). The Owner shall keep a log during this period, showing hourly precipitation and generation information, and provide it to LIHI, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife by December 31 annually until permanent measures are in place. In the event that either the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife determine that the above-described interim downstream passage measure is not providing safe, timely and effective passage for out-migrating eels, the Owner shall implement other reasonable interim measures as requested by these agencies.  The Owner may also propose alternative eel passage measures for consideration if such measures have a strong technical and scientific basis.  During the term of this certification, should a resource agency request implementation of permanent downstream passage or upstream passage at the Facility, the Owner shall notify LIHI within 14 days of that request and provide LIHI with a copy of the request and the Owner’s response.

The effective certification date for the West Dudley is April 7, 2015 for a five (5) year term, which will expire on April 7, 2020.

December 4, 2015: On December 4, 2015, the Low Impact Hydropower Institute received a complete application for a new term of Low Impact Certification for the West Dudley Hydroelectric project.  The application materials can be found in the Files section below.

The public comment period for this application closed on February 8, 2016.

September 22, 2011: The West Dudley Hydroelectric Project has been certified as low impact for a five year term, effective April 7, 2011 and expiring April 7, 2016.

April 7, 2011: West Dudley Hydro, LLC has submitted an application for the certification of the West Dudley Project. The public comment period will remain open for 60 days.