NHA Announces 2021 Outstanding Stewards of America’s Waters Award Winners


NHA Announces 2021 Outstanding Stewards of America’s Waters Award Winners

Atlanta, GA (October 22, 2021) – The National Hydropower Association is pleased to announce the winners of the 2021 Outstanding Stewards of America’s Waters (OSAW) Awards, which recognizes projects that have provided extraordinary recreational, historical, environmental or educational value. This year’s winners include: Turlock Irrigation District, Verdant Power, Idaho Power Company, Duke Energy, Yuba Water Agency, and Whooshh Innovations.

“Year after year, the hydropower and marine energy industries continue to provide innovative solutions to improve the communities in which they serve,” said LeRoy Coleman, NHA Director of Communications. “From demonstrating that hydropower is truly the guardian of the electric grid to the conservation of white sturgeon, these companies exemplify that no other renewable protects and preserves our natural ecosystems quite like hydropower.”

OSAW Awards are given out in three distinct categories: Recreational, Environmental & Historical Enhancement, and Operational Excellence.


Four companies received an award in the Recreational, Environmental & Historical Enhancement category, which recognizes projects that provide enhanced recreational opportunities for the general public; offer measurable benefits that mitigate, conserve, preserve or enhance the natural resources; or conserve historical aspects of hydropower facilities and their integration with the surrounding community.

Idaho Power Company: Niagara Springs Sturgeon Hatchery

As part of its licenses to operate hydroelectric projects on the middle Snake River, Idaho Power Company developed the Niagara Springs Sturgeon Hatchery – the first of its kind in Idaho. The hatchery is designed to support a novel approach to the conservation of white sturgeon populations along the 330 miles of the Snake River in Idaho and Oregon between Brownlee Dam and Shoshone Falls Dam. This innovative hatchery operates by receiving fertilized sturgeon eggs from natural spawning events in the Snake River. This approach helps maintain the genetic diversity of the natural population. Learn more

Yuba Water Agency: Watershed Resilience Program

Leveraging Forest Resilience Bonds, Yuba Water Agency partnered with local agencies to establish the Watershed Resilience Program to aid in reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire as a result of overly-dense forests that are more susceptible to high-severity wildfire, insects, disease and drought. In addition to the avoided costs in the millions of dollars from reduced risk of catastrophic

fire, the program has reduced the associated risk to water infrastructure, water quality and post-fire cleanup of sediment and woody debris inflows. Learn more

Whooshh Innovations: Passage Portal at Big Bar

In 2020, the Canadian government enlisted the help of Seattle-based Whooshh Innovations to work at a remote site where there had been a very large rockslide which formed a natural dam across the entire Fraser River which blocked salmon passage at a point called Big Bar near Lillooet, British Columbia. Whooshh was able to deploy two of its new Passage Portal™ systems in less than 3 months and began safely aiding thousands of salmon over the barrier to continue their migratory journey despite being in a remote location with no roads, power or connectivity. Learn more

Duke Energy: Toxaway River Bridge Replacement

When a routine maintenance inspection showed that the largest, most remote and iconic engineering feature along the Foothills Trail, the Toxaway River Bridge, needed significant repairs, Duke Energy started planning for an engineering overhaul. Repairing the Toxaway River Bridge was a challenging achievement, given its limited vehicular access, and fluctuating lake levels for delivery of heavy equipment, Duke Energy successfully maintained the original aesthetics of this iconic bridge, minimized environmental impacts in a sensitive mountainous area, and kept the bridge open for through-hikers during construction. Learn more


Two projects won an award in the Operational Excellence category, which recognizes projects that add value to the hydropower industry through technical contributions, innovation, engineering, upgrades and improvements or technology breakthroughs for new hydropower technologies.

Turlock Irrigation District: Don Pedro Power Plant’s Role in Supporting the Grid During the 2020 August Heatwave

During the Summer of 2020, California experienced a period of excessively hot temperatures that created a strain on generation resources. TID made operational adjustments at both Don Pedro and Turlock Lake Regulating Reservoir, allowing favorable power generation to meet demand without sacrificing irrigation water availability for growers, resulting in an increase of 2,000 MWh of clean, carbon-free energy over the course of the heatwave. Learn more

Verdant Power: Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy Project

In 2020, Verdant Power deployed three of its fifth-generation turbines mounted on a single TriFrame™ in New York City’s East River tidal strait.  The operational excellence of the RITE Project, as recognized by the OSAW award, puts the vision of a commercial MRE industry within reach. Learn more

About the Outstanding Stewards of America’s Waters Awards

In 1994, the National Hydropower Association (NHA) created the Hydro Achievement Awards to recognize organizations and projects committed to excellence in the development and operation of hydropower. In 1999, NHA added the Outstanding Stewardship of America’s Rivers (OSAR) Report to profile the best examples of hydropower’s ability to generate clean, renewable, reliable and affordable electricity while protecting the riverine ecosystem. Beginning in 2007, these two recognition programs were merged to more effectively provide recognition to deserving organizations and to reflect the changing nature of the hydropower industry, particularly the fact that hydropower can be used in various waterways. The new award program is called the Outstanding Stewards of America’s Waters (OSAW).