LIHI Certificate #9 - Strawberry Creek Project, Strawberry Creek, Wyoming, (FERC #2032)

Strawberry Creek Hydroelectric Project approved for a third term of LIHI Certification
Harrington Park, New Jersey (May 9, 2014)  - Executive Director, Mike Sale, with delegated authority from the LIHI Governing Board has determined that the Strawberry Creek Hydroelectric Project continues to meet the Low Impact Certification Criteria.  The Strawberrry Creek project has been granted a third five-year term of Low Impact Certification, effective October 30, 2013 and expiring October 30, 2018.
Harrington Park, New Jersey (November 18, 2013) - The Low Impact Hydropower Institute has received an application from Lower Valley Energy for a third term of Certification of their Strawberry Creek Hydroelectric Project.  The 2013 application was received on September 5, but because of administrative backlog, the Certificate has been granted an extension on the current certificante through June 30, 2014 by the Institute for review of this application by Executive Director, Mike Sale.

We encourage public comments on this application. Specifically, we are interested in knowing whether you think the Strawberry Creek Hydroelectric Project continues to meet our LIHI criteria.  Please review the program and criteria in greater detail and then review the Strawberry Creek’s 2013 application posted below.  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 dhall@lowimpacthydro.org with “Strawberry Creek Hydroelectric Project Comments” in the subject line, or by mail addressed to the Low Impact Hydropower Institute, PO Box 194, Harrington Park, New Jersey 07640.  Comments must be received at the Institute on or before 5 pm Eastern time on January 18, 2014 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.


Portland, Maine (January 22, 2009) – The Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI) announced today that Lower Valley Energy's Strawberry Hydroelectric Project was re-certified as a Low Impact facility. The project is located on Strawberry Creek in Lincoln County, Wyoming, and occupies 25 acres of United States land within the Bridger-Teton National Forest.  The Strawberry Project was originally certified by LIHI for five years in October 2003.
 

PROJECT SUMMARY  

·         Facility location: Strawberry Creek, Wyoming
·         Installed capacity: 1.5 MW
·         Average annual generation: 9 gigawatt hours
·         Year FERC license issued: 2000
·         Applicant: Lower Valley Energy Inc.
·         Applicant contact: James R. Webb, President/CEO 307-885-3175
 
 
The Board’s vote to certify the Strawberry Project was unanimous and the five-year certification expires October 30, 2013.
***
PORTLAND, ME – (February 27, 2004) — The Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI) announced that at their February 23, meeting they certified the Strawberry Hydroelectric Project as low impact.  The Project is located on Strawberry Creek on 25 acres of the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Lincoln County, Wyoming.  The 1,500 kilowatt, run-of-river facility is owned and operated by Lower Valley Energy, and licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

The Strawberry Project (FERC #2032) became the first hydropower facility to earn LIHI certification in Wyoming and the ninth nationwide. The LIHI certification program is relatively new, having certified its first plant in March 2001. The Institute’s voluntary certification program is designed to help consumers identify environmentally sound, low impact hydropower facilities for emerging “green” energy markets.  While some hydropower plants will not qualify, the certified total is expected to grow significantly.

 

“We are pleased to be able to certify the Strawberry Project as Low Impact,” said Richard Roos-Collins, chair of LIHI’s Governing Board, “I am impressed with the way Lower Valley Energy’s management team approached the certification effort.” Asked if he saw an upswing in the interest in the Institute’s Low Impact certification program, Fred Ayer, LIHI’s Executive Director responded, “Yes, and here’s why.  We issued our first Low Impact certification in 2001.  As of May 1, 2003 we had certified four projects, but since then we have added 5 projects, have one pending, and two more scheduled to be filed on March 15.  I’m expecting 2004 to be a banner year.” 

 

The Strawberry Project consists of a reinforced concrete gravity dam 22 feet high and 110 feet long with a 40-foot-long overflow spillway at an elevation of approximately 7,000 feet, an intake sluice, a reservoir with a surface area of 2.8 acres, a penstock, a powerhouse with three turbine-generator units, a substation with associated transmission lines, and an operator’s dwelling. The 2.3-mile-long penstock results in a bypassed reach approximately two miles long. A ten-foot wide road provides access along the penstock and to the dam and impoundment. The applicant diverts all flow up to 48 cubic feet per second (cfs) from Strawberry Creek for power generation; there are no required minimum flows for the bypass reach. Facility operations dewater the bypass reach between late October and mid April. Below the facility boundary Strawberry Creek is dewatered by irrigation diversions (between June and September) and by natural subsurface flows. The applicant operates the project manually in a run-of-river mode.

 

The project is located on Strawberry Creek within National Forest land managed by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), approximately 2.5 miles upstream of the National Forest border at the mouth of the canyon containing the stream, and 7.5 miles upstream of Strawberry Creek’s confluence with the Salt River. A natural barrier at Shoshone Falls on the Snake River, to which the Salt River flows, prevents migration of any anadromous fish to the drainage. Irrigation diversions immediately outside the National Forest border dewater the stream in the growing season and block passage for native cutthroat trout. Other factors limiting fish habitat downstream of the facility include high channel gradient and water velocities in certain reaches. According to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD), the karst limestone geology of the area causes the stream in some locations to flow underground to subsurface streams, sink holes, and caves, with waters reemerging lower in the watershed. This natural phenomenon contributes to dewatering of Strawberry Creek downstream from the facility, and is the direct cause of dewatering in several reaches above the project site. Where Strawberry Creek does have surface flows upstream of the facility, extremely cold water temperatures makes for marginal fish habitat. Land and snow slides in the upper reaches of the watershed further disrupt flows and fish passage and degrade water quality and aquatic habitat. A decrease in grade at the dam site results in warmer surface flows, while the impoundment creates habitat that supports a recreational fishery of stocked Snake River cutthroat trout.

The Strawberry Project consists of a reinforced concrete gravity dam 22 feet high and 110 feet long with a 40-foot-long overflow spillway at an elevation of approximately 7,000 feet, an intake sluice, a reservoir with a surface area of 2.8 acres, a penstock, a powerhouse with three turbine-generator units, a substation with associated transmission lines, and an operator’s dwelling.

 

The 2.3-mile-long penstock results in a bypassed reach approximately two miles long. A ten foot wide road provides access along the penstock and to the dam and impoundment. The applicant diverts all flow up to 48 cubic feet per second (cfs) from Strawberry Creek for power generation; there are no required minimum flows for the bypass reach. Facility operations dewater the bypass reach between late October and mid April. Below the facility boundary Strawberry Creek is dewatered by irrigation diversions (between June and September) and by natural subsurface flows. The applicant operates the project manually in a run-of-river mode.

 

The project is located on Strawberry Creek within National Forest land managed by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), approximately 2.5 miles upstream of the National Forest border at the mouth of the canyon containing the stream, and 7.5 miles upstream of Strawberry Creek’s confluence with the Salt River.

 

A natural barrier at Shoshone Falls on the Snake River, to which the Salt River flows, prevents migration of any anadromous fish to the drainage. Irrigation diversions immediately outside the National Forest border dewater the stream in the growing season and block passage for native cutthroat trout. Other factors limiting fish habitat downstream of the facility include high channel gradient and water velocities in certain reaches.

 

According to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD), the karst limestone geology of the area causes the stream in some locations to flow underground to subsurface streams, sink holes, and caves, with waters reemerging lower in the watershed. This natural phenomenon contributes to dewatering of Strawberry Creek downstream from the facility, and is the direct cause of dewatering in several reaches above the project site. Where Strawberry Creek does have surface flows upstream of the facility, extremely cold water temperatures makes for marginal fish habitat. Land and snow slides in the upper reaches of the watershed further disrupt flows and fish passage and degrade water quality and aquatic habitat. A decrease in grade at the dam site results in warmer surface flows, while the impoundment creates habitat that supports a recreational fishery of stocked Snake River cutthroat trout.

 

The Strawberry project meets LIHI’s eight environmentally rigorous Low Impact criteriaaddressing river flows, water quality, fish passage and protection, watershed health, endangered species protection, cultural resources, recreation use and access, and whether or not the dam itself has been recommended for removal. Strawberry successfully completed LIHI’s application process, which includes a public comment period, review by an independent technical consultant, consultations with state and federal natural resource agencies, and evaluation by the LIHI Governing Board, including leaders in the river conservation and renewable energy fields.

 

The Board’s vote to certify the Strawberry Project was unanimous and as part of that certification, the Board requires that the Lower Valley Energy, working with state and federal agencies, file a FERC required trout habitatimprovement plan with FERC by the end of 2004 and receive their approval for the plan by March 31, 2005.

 

The Star Valley Conservation District Board of Supervisors submitted the only public comment on the application, stating its opinion that the project meets LIHI criteria and should be certified as low impact. As a result, we are able to issue the certification effective October 27, 2003.

 

 


Files:

Final Addendum to 2003 Application, Agency Comment letters
Application 2002
FERC License September 2000
Press Release 2004
Decision Letter 2004
Re-Certification Application September 2013
Signed Statement 2013
Questionnaire 2013
 
 

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