The Middle Fork Irrigation District (MFID) Hydroelectric Project (“Project” or “facility”) is owned and operated by Middle Fork Irrigation District, The Middle Fork Irrigation District is a local municipality that distributes water to nearly 6400 acres serving approximately 400 users in the area.  The Project was exempted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) on April 6, 1984 with FERC Project No. P-4458.

The MFID Project is located near the town of Parkdale, Oregon, an unincorporated community in Hood River County, Oregon.  Locally, the area is described as the upper Hood River Valley. The Project was built by the MFID, a District formed in 1921 to meet the irrigation needs of the agricultural community in the upper Hood River Valley.  Geographically, the Project is located northeast of Mt. Hood, and Project water flows from District points of diversion, northeast towards the Columbia River in Hood River, Oregon.  The Hood River is in north central Oregon and joins the Columbia River 22 miles upstream of the Bonneville Dam.  The Hood River subbasin includes the towns of Odell, and the City of Hood River.  Agriculture is the leading industry in the Hood River Valley.

Project Description

Flows into the Project begin at Laurance Lake, which has an area of 52.8 acres and a shoreline of 1.6 miles. Laurance Lake, also known as Clear Branch Reservoir, is impounded by the 110-foot high Clear Branch Dam.  Laurance Lake lies in a heavily forested valley with steep ridges on both sides and Mt. Hood to the south. The lake and its drainage basin are entirely within the Mount Hood National Forest land. The reservoir supports an irrigation system that irrigates nearly 6,400 acres of high value crop land in the upper Hood River Valley.

The three small powerhouses within the MFID’s Project irrigation system operate under a FERC Exemption for small hydro and were added to the preexisting irrigation distribution system in the mid-1980s.  Hydro Plant Nos. 1 and 2 are off-stream conduit facilities that are part of the water transmission system primarily used for irrigation.  Hydro Plant No. 1 contains a single 2.0 MW Pelton turbine, and Hydro Plant No. 2 contains a single 0.5 MW Francis turbine. A third powerhouse, Hydro Plant No. 3, is not included in the LIHI Certificate.  It is located at the outlet of Hydro Plant No. 2 and provides water for multiple uses including hydropower, downstream agricultural uses, the maintenance of a rural fire protection system, and the Bonneville Power Administration fish hatchery facility, which is operated by the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs.  Hydro Plant No. 3 ultimately discharges to Rogers Creek, a tributary of the Middle Fork of the Hood River.

Clear Branch Dam and Laurance Lake with Mt. Hood in the background

 

Hydro Plant #1 tailrace pond

Project Name Middle Fork Irrigation District (MFID)

Hydro Plants No. 1 and No. 2

LIHI Certificate Number 143
LIHI Effective and
Expiration Dates
February 1, 2018 – January 31, 2028
Owner Middle Fork Irrigation District
State Oregon
Location Middle Fork, Hood River Basin
Installed Capacity Hydro Plant 1: 2.0 MW

Hydro Plant 2: 0.5 MW

 

Total: 2.5 MW

Average Annual Generation Hydro Plant 1: 16,575 MWh

Hydro Plant 2:   3,894 MWh

 

Total: 20,469 MWh

Facility Type In-conduit, run-of-river
FERC No. 4458

Certification History

June 21, 2018: The 30-day appeal window closed for the preliminary certification decision of the Middle Fork Irrigation District Hydroelectric Project closed on June 14, 2018 with no appeals to the decision received. The decision is therefore final and the Middle Fork Irrigation District Hydroelectric Project is LIHI Certificate #143. The Certificate term is February 1, 2018 through January 31, 2028.

May 15, 2018: On May 11, 2018, the Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI) preliminarily approved Low Impact Certification for the Middle Fork Irrigation District, Powerhouses #1 and #2 for a 10-year term.

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. Any appeal must include specific reasons why the appellant believes the hydropower facility does not meet one or more criteria. Appeal requests can be submitted by email to comments@lowimpacthydro.org with “MFID 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 and 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 June 14, 2018. The full application and reviewers report are available at the bottom of this page.

If no appeal requests are received and the decision becomes final, the new term for the MFID Project will be February 1, 2018 through January 31, 2028.

February 26, 2018: The Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI) has received a complete application from the Middle Fork Irrigation District (MFID) for the Low Impact Certification of Hydro Plant No. 1 and No. 2 of the Middle Fork Irrigation District Hydroelectric Project located in Parkdale, Oregon (FERC exempt No. P-4458).

LIHI is seeking comment on the MFID application for certification. 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 “MFID 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 April 27, 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.

Files: