Recognizing Outstanding Stewards of America’s Waters

Recognizing Outstanding Stewards of America’s Waters

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Each year, the National Hydropower Association (NHA) recognizes organizations whose work exemplifies extraordinary operational excellence and/or enhancement of recreational, historical, environmental, or educational aspects of a waterpower project. 

The recognition is provided through the association’s Outstanding Stewards of America’s Waters (OSAW) annual awards program. The 2021 winners, announced on October 21 during the Clean Currents Conference + Tradeshow, are: 

  • Duke Energy 
  • Idaho Power Company 
  • Turlock Irrigation District 
  • Verdant Power 
  • Whooshh Innovations 
  • Yuba Water Agency 

“Year after year, organizations working in the hydropower and marine energy sectors of the waterpower industry continue to provide innovative solutions to improve the communities 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 energy technology protects and preserves our natural ecosystems quite like waterpower does.” 


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

Winners are: 

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

Find supplemental information about how Don Pedro handled the August 2020 heatwave here.

Verdant Power: Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy Project 

Find supplemental information about the RITE Project here.

NHA created a video highlighting the Operational Excellence projects.


Four organizations 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 a natural resource; or conserve historical aspects of hydropower facilities and their integration with the surrounding community. 

Winners are: 

Duke Energy: Toxaway River Bridge Replacement 

Find supplemental information about the Toxaway Bridge Replacement here.

Idaho Power Company: Niagara Springs Sturgeon Hatchery Wins 

Find supplemental information about the Niagara Springs Sturgeon Hatchery here. 

Whooshh Innovations: Passage Portal at Big Bar 

Watch the a short clip of Sockeye Salmon moving through Whooshh’s Passage Portal here. 

Yuba Water Agency: Watershed Resilience Program 

See an overview of the Watershed Resilience Program here. 

NHA created a short video highlighting the Recreational, Environmental & Historical Enhancement projects.

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 into the Outstanding Stewards of America’s Waters (OSAW) awards program 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.