NHA Announces 2017 Outstanding Stewards of America’s Waters Award Winners

NHA Announces 2017 Outstanding Stewards of America’s Waters Award Winners
Washington, D.C. (May 3, 2017)

NHA Announces 2017 Outstanding Stewards of America’s Waters Award
Winners

Washington, D.C. (May 3, 2017) – The National Hydropower Association is pleased to announce the winners of the 2017 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 Tacoma Power; Snohomish County PUD; We Energies; and Chelan County PUD and the Foundation for Water and Energy Education.

“This year’s OSAW winners are a true reflection of the hydropower industry’s commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship” said Linda Church Ciocci, Executive Director of NHA. “From creating state-of-the art hatcheries to educational programs, these projects demonstrate the value hydropower brings to local communities.”

Two projects received an award in the category of Recreational, Environmental & Historical Enhancement. This category recognizes hydropower 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.

Winners include:

Tacoma Power: Cushman Hydroelectric Project Hatcheries

With a relentless focus on environmental stewardship, Tacoma Power partnered with key stakeholders to construct two state-of-the-art hatcheries aimed at reintroducing and restoring fish populations in the North Fork Skokomish River in Mason County, Wash. To date, the utility has released 400,000 spring Chinook that were raised at the North Fork Skokomish Salmon Hatchery and is incubating 450,000 additional spring Chinook, plus coho and steelhead eggs. At the Saltwater Park Sockeye Hatchery, 250,000 sockeye eggs are being incubated.

Both hatcheries feature innovative circular tanks that maximize efficiency, water quality and fish quality. Tacoma Power is the first utility in Washington state to manage its own hatcheries.
Snohomish County PUD: Volitional Fish Passage at Diversion Dam Working in tandem with community stakeholders, Snohomish County PUD constructed a volitional fish passage at a Diversion Dam that will increase salmon and steelhead production in the Sultan River. The passage, which will allow access for resident and anadromous fish to 6 miles of habitat that had not been accessible since 1930, is not a structure typical of fish passage such as pool-and-chute or fish ladder. Instead, Snohomish County PUD chose a slotted channel to the river bottom, allowing fish to move freely through the Diversion Dam, following the river bed’s natural gradient and thalweg over its natural substrate. The structural modifications primarily consisted of cutting the concrete sluiceway area, excavating down to the natural, historic elevation of the channel, and installing a new gate to maintain diversion capabilities.

One company received the OSAW for Operational Excellence. This category recognizes waterpower projects that add value to the industry through technical contributions, innovation, engineering, upgrades and improvements, or technology breakthroughs for new hydropower or marine hydrokinetic technologies.

We Energies Twin Falls Powerhouse Redevelopment Project

The Twin Falls Powerhouse Redevelopment project was a decade-long initiative to replace an aging, inefficient and increasingly unsafe 1912 hydroelectric powerhouse with a modern, safe and efficient powerhouse. The redeveloped Twin Falls site achieved commercial operation in July 2016, increasing the generation capacity by 50 percent without changing the flow, headwater or tailwater levels. We Energies worked successfully with engineer of record Black & Veatch and construction contractor CR Meyer to ensure protection of the water quality and endangered resources, and avoided changes in the impoundment level.

A significant challenge of the project was developing a closed-loop cooling system that is reliable in wide-ranging ambient air temperatures and that eliminates the threat of zebra mussel infiltration. We Energies, along with turbine supplier Canadian Hydro Components and Black & Veatch, implemented an innovative system which provides sufficient cooling using either the cooling coils or the forced-air radiator – without the use of river water

And finally, one company received the award for Public Education. This category recognizes programs that effectively communicate and promote the benefits of hydropower to an outside audience.

Chelan County PUD and the Foundation for Water and Energy Education: Hydropower and STEM Career Academy

Could a comprehensive, yet fun curriculum be developed for high school students to guide them towards a career in hydropower? The Foundation for Water and Energy Education, partnering with Chelan County PUD, established the Hydropower and STEM Career Academy, answering that question by creating an immersive week-long program at Chelan County PUD’s Rocky Reach Dam. In addition to exploring the physics of producing and distributing hydropower, students conducted hands-on activities with mechanical and electrical engineers, plant mechanics and operators, divers, linemen and fish biologists. The program also brought in counselors, college advisors and mentors to identify the prerequisites and academic achievement needed to pursue
hydropower careers.

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).

OSAW Awards are given out in three distinct categories:
  • Operational Excellence: projects that add value to the hydropower industry through technical
    contributions, innovation, engineering, upgrades and improvements or technology breakthroughs for
    new hydropower technologies
  • Recreational, Environmental & Historical Enhancement: 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.
  • Public Education: programs that effectively communicate and promote the benefits of hydropower
    through mediums such as curriculum, learning centers, videos or outreach programs.

NHA invites you to learn more about these outstanding endeavors, both past and present, at www.hydro.org/osaw.