Cresticon Hydroelectric Project (FERC No. 10163) Athol, MA
Portland, Maine (June 25, 2012) - The Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI) is pleased to announced that at LIHI’s June 21, 2012 Board Meeting the Institute’s Governing Board determined that the Cresticon Hydroelectric Project met the LIHI Certification Criteria.
In reaching its decision to certify the Cresticon Hydroelectric Project, the Low Impact Hydropower Institute’s Governing Board reviewed the application for certification, as well as the Application Reviewer’s report and recommendations. LIHI certification for the Cresticon Hydroelectric Project is granted with four non-standard conditions for the 5-year term beginning on March 3, 2012 and expiring on March 3, 2017.
Condition No. 1. L.P. Athol shall initiate the following measure for the interim downstream passage of American eel the first downstream passage season after LIHI certification: nightly shutdowns (dusk to dawn) during rainy nights from August 15 through November 15. L.P. Athol shall keep a daily log during this period that identifies precipitation and generation information and must provide the log to USFWS and MADFW by December 31 of each year until permanent downstream measures for American eel are in place. To demonstrate compliance with this condition, L.P. Athol shall also file documentation from the USFWS and MADFW by January 31 of each year of their satisfaction with the interim downstream measures for the downstream passage of American eel.
Condition No. 2. Within one year of the date of the Certification, L.P. Athol shall file a plan with LIHI that provides for the permanent downstream passage of American eel. The Plan shall include letters of concurrence from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Wildlife. The Plan shall commit to providing permanent downstream eel passage and protection measures within five years of LIHI certification, including replacement of the Facility’s trashracks within 3/4 inch clear space trashracks.
Condition No. 3. L.P. Athol shall modify the Lower Cresticon downstream bypass system so that it conforms to USFWS design criteria: a 3-foot wide by 2-foot deep plunge deep weir should be located adjacent to the trashracks and there should be a 3-foot deep plunge pool in the sluiceway immediately below the weir. The modifications should be completed no later than September 1, 2012. By December 31, 2012, L.P. Athol should submit evidence with LIHI of USWFS’s concurrence that the downstream bypass system has been modified in accordance with USFWS’s criteria.
Condition No. 4. By December 31, 2012, L.P. Athol should submit evidence with LIHI of MADEP’s concurrence that the water quality sampling scheduled for July – September 2012 demonstrates that the Facility does not cause or contribute to any violations of state water quality standards on the Millers River in the Facility area.
Portland, Maine (March 3, 2012) – The Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI) announced today that L.P. Athol Corporation (“Applicant”)has submitted an application for certification of the Cresticon Hydroelectric Project (“Project”) which is located on the Miller River in Athol, Massachusetts.
The Cresticon Hydroelectric Project is owned and operated by L.P. Athol Corporation a Massachusetts corporation organized in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on March 18, 1986. The Athol Manufacturing Company originally developed the Upper and Lower Cresticon hydroelectric projects at the turn of the 20th century. The oldest part of the complex, which includes the “Lower Site” hydro, was built in 1899 with additions to the building made up until the 1950s. The Upper Site hydro was constructed in 1931 and is located across Chestnut Hill Avenue from the Lower Site.
The Union Twist Drill acquired the facilities in the early 1900s for the manufacturing of tools. In 1972 the Union Twist Drill Company and the property were acquired by Litton Industries of California, which remained in operation until it was closed due to labor strife in 1985. In 1985, the hydro project, including ownership of all project features, equipment, and water rights were transferred to Cresticon, Inc. a subsidiary of Litton Industries.
On November 10, 1986, Cresticon, Inc. filed an application to exempt the Cresticon Project from the licensing requirements set forth in Part I of the Federal Power Act. The comments of interested agencies and individuals, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the state fish and wildlife agency, were fully considered in determining whether to issue the exemption from licensing. At that time, the buildings, property and hydro were purchased by the L.P. Athol Corporation.
The Federal Energy regulatory Commission issued an exemption for the continued operation of the Upper and Lower Cresticon hydroelectric projects to L.P. Athol Corporation effective February 12, 1988.
The Cresticon Hydroelectric Project(s) (“the project”) are located on the Millers River in the town of Athol, Massachusetts. Industrial, residential and undeveloped lands are all found in the project area. Some of the undeveloped land primarily on the north 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 large industrial development. The project area, as outlined in the attached Project Boundary Map, Appendix 3-1, is located in the Millers River Basin. The approximate latitude and longitude of the Upper Cresticon project area are 42°35'45.69"N and 72°13'10.85"W. The approximate latitude and longitude of the Lower Cresticon project area are 42°35'47.05"N and 72°13'24.64"W.
The projects are operated as a run-of-river facilities. The projects is required to maintain a continuous minimum flow of 25 cubic feet per second (ABF .5 cfs) or the inflow to the reservoir, whichever is less. Project works at the Upper Cresticon development consists of: (1) an existing 274-foot-long stone and concrete gravity dam; (2) 2-foot-high flashboards; (3) an impoundment having a surface area of 8.5 acres with negligible storage and normal water surface elevation of 569.06 feet m.s.l. (4) an existing 334 foot-long power canal; (5) an existing powerhouse containing one generating unit with an installed capacity of 250 kW; (6) an existing 223-foot-long tailrace; (7) an existing 90-foot-long, 13.8-kV transmission line; and (6) appurtenant facilities.
Project works at the Lower Cresticon project consist of: (1) an existing 135-foot-long, 3-foot, 10-inch-high concrete and stone dam; (2) 2-foot-high flashboards; (3) an impoundment having negligible storage and surface area and a normal water surface elevation of 355.2 feet m.s.l.; (4) a 670-foot-long power canal; (5) an existing powerhouse containing one generating unit with an installed capacity of 250 kW; (6) an existing tailrace; (7) an existing 1,200-foot-long, 13.8-kV transmission line, and (8) appurtenant facilities.
The Millers River formed at the end of the last glacial period when several glacial lakes joined and, eventually, drained into the Connecticut River. The river's headwaters are in Ashburnham and Winchendon, Massachusetts, and the headwaters of the North Branch are in Mountain Pond, at the western foot of the Wapack Range in New Ipswich, New Hampshire. The Millers River drains a total area of about 390 square miles, about 313 square miles of which are in Massachusetts, with the remainder in New Hampshire. About 78 percent of the basin is forested, 11 percent is open land, 8 percent is wetland, and 3 percent contains urban areas. The watershed is made up of all or part of 17 municipalities with population centers concentrated around Gardner, Athol, and Orange Massachusetts.
A gauge, located nine miles upstream from the Cresticon hydroelectric project, was has been maintained in the Millers River since 1916. The average flow over the 35 years of record was 738.6 cfs. The maximum discharge of record, 29,000 cfs (estimated), occurred in 1928; the minimum, 20 cfs, occurred in 1964. In accordance with its FERC License (project No. 10163) the project is operated as a run of river facility and is responsible for maintaining a continuous minimum flow of 25 cubic feet per second or the inflow to the reservoir, whichever is less, for the protection and enhancement of aquatic resources in the Millers River. (see Appendix 1-1)
In an email dated November 15, 2011 Melissa Grader with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service confirmed that the Cresticon hydroelectric project has no history of compliance issues with respect to maintaining the required bypass flows
We encourage public comments on this application. Specifically, we are interested in knowing whether you think this Project meets our LIHI criteria. Review the program and criteria in greater detail and then review the Project’s 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 email@example.com; or by mail addressed to LIHI, 34 Providence Street, Portland, ME, 04103.
Comments must be received at the Institute on or before May 3, 2012 Eastern time 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.
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