Searching for Stewards of America’s Waters

Searching for Stewards of America’s Waters

NHA thanks our sponsors:


When it came time to relicense its Henry M. Jackson Hydroelectric Project, Washington-based Snohomish County Public Utility District (PUD) needed to warm the water just below the Culmback Dam to better reflect the natural temperatures found seasonally in the Sultan River.

In response, Snohomish PUD developed an innovative water temperature conditioning structure. The intake for the system allows a wide band of water temperatures to blend with the cold water at the bottom of the reservoir when the reservoir is stratified in temperature. The water conditioning structure improves fish growth, expands fish distribution, and adds resiliency to the fish population in the Sultan River.

For its efforts, Snohomish County PUD was named an “Outstanding Steward of America’s Waters” by the National Hydropower Association (NHA).

Snohomish County PUD, however, isn’t alone. In the past, other project owners who have been awarded the “Outstanding Steward of America’s Waters” recognition include Exelon and Seattle City Light, just to name a few. Exelon constructed a state-of-the-art observatory at its Muddy Run pumped-storage facility for the community to star gaze. Seattle City Light restored Sullivan Creek to provide connectivity to more than 46 miles of upstream habitat.

Each year, NHA seeks out and honors deserving organizations working in various sectors of the waterpower industry – conventional hydro, pumped storage, and marine energy – for their accomplishments and contributions in the areas of: environmental, recreational, or historical enhancement; operational excellence; and public education.

“As the voice of the North American hydro industry, our goal is to showcase the many ways the industry is making a difference in the communities it serves,” says LeRoy Coleman, director of communications for NHA. “By identifying these projects, we can provide policy makers and clean energy influencers with real-life examples of the outstanding work going on across North America’s waterways.”

If your organization has a project that is deserving of recognition, NHA encourages you to submit an application for a 2021 Outstanding Stewards of America’s Waters (OSAW) award.


  • OSAW Applications are due August 6. Applicants are not required to be a member of NHA. Click HERE to submit your OSAW application.
  • Winners will be notified in mid-August.
  • OSAW awards are given in the categories of:
    • Environmental, Recreational, or Historical Enhancement
    • Operational Excellence
    • Public Education
  • The awards ceremony will take place during the new Clean Currents conference + tradeshow, October 20-22, 2021, in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • To learn more about the OSAW Awards, click HERE to download the 2021 OSAW Applicant Guide for detailed information on eligibility, categories, and helpful hints when applying.
  • NOTE: 2020 OSAW Winners will also be unveiled at Clean Currents