About Us

The Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to reducing the impacts of hydropower generation through the certification of hydropower projects  that have avoided or reduced their  environmental impacts pursuant to the Low Impact Hydropower Institute’s criteria.

There are thousands of hydropower dams in the United States located on many of our most important rivers and streams. These dams can create pollution-free energy, but they can also produce significant adverse impacts on fish and wildlife and other resources.

LIHI’s mission is to reduce the impacts of hydropower dams through market incentives. LIHI does this through its Hydropower Certification Program, a voluntary certification program designed to help identify and reward hydropower dams that are minimizing their environmental impacts. Just as an organic label can help consumers choose the foods and farming practices they want to support, the LIHI certification program can help energy consumers choose the energy and hydropower practices they want to support.

In order to be certified by the Institute, a hydropower facility must meet criteria in the following eight areas:

  1. river flows,
  2. water quality,
  3. fish passage and protection,
  4. watershed protection
  5. threatened and endangered species protection,
  6. cultural resource protection,
  7. recreation, and
  8. facilities recommended for removal.

The criteria standards are typically based on the most recent, and most stringent, mitigation measures recommended for the dam by expert state and federal resource agencies, even if those measures aren't a requirement for operating. A hydropower Facility meeting all eight certification criteria will be certified by LIHI, and will be able to use this certification when marketing power to consumers.http://www.lowimpacthydro.org/manager/

For more details about the certification criteria or the certification process, click on any document under the "Certification Application Program" section on the left side of the page.

For a recent presentation on the LIHI program and the role in green markets, please watch Low Impact Hydropower, a Pathway to Green Markets from Center for Resource Solutions on Vimeo.

Lydia Grimm, LIHI's first Executive Director drafted this REPORT in May 2002, which provides the first comprehensive description of the Low Impact Certification Program, including its development, its first years of operations, and an assessment of its early future in the context of the green power markets in the United States.


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