Lexington MA (June 3, 2020):  On May 29, 2020 the Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI) preliminarily approved the Woronoco Project (LIHI #68) for a new 5-year term of Low Impact Certification. The Certificate includes the following conditions:

Condition 1: Assuming USFWS approval of permanent removal of the North Eel Dam eel passage ladder is received, the facility Owner shall also notify MDEP of this change as the WQC includes the requirement for eel passage. In the Annual Compliance Report to LIHI, the Owner shall confirm that the annual eel passage data has been provided to MDFW, and USFWS if that agency requests it, along with copies of any FERC or MDEP responses to notification regarding removal of the Northern Dam eel passage ladder.

 Condition 2: The facility Owner shall make the following improvements to the Project recreational facilities:

  • Conduct seasonal facility cleanup and necessary structural repairs and install improved signage to all facilities by June 30, 2020 to promote 2020 seasonal use. Signage should satisfy FERC requirements. Access and parking information must be clearly posted.
  • A regular inspection and maintenance program shall be established to ensure these facilities are maintained especially given the concern of vandalism. At a minimum, a monthly frequency is recommended. A description of this program shall be provided to LIHI by June 30, 2020 and a status summary of these activities shall be reported to LIHI in annual compliance submittals.
  • The ADA fishing platform shall be inspected for safety and usability prior to June 30, 2020. If determined not to be suitable for ADA fishing access, needed improvements or relocation if necessary, shall be made as soon as practicable in accordance with applicable permitting requirements and any necessary agency consultation.   The Owner shall inform LIHI of a plan to ensure platform usability by July 31, 2020 along with a schedule for additional planned work.  The Owner shall notify LIHI of project status and final completion in annual compliance submittals.

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 comments@lowimpacthydro.org with “Woronoco 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 July 3, 2020. The full application and reviewer’s report are available HERE.

If no appeal requests are received and the decision becomes final, the Certification term for the Project will be January 28, 2020 through January 27, 2025.