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Idaho National Laboratory

Hydropower
Environmental Research

Background

The U.S. DOE Hydropower Program supports the development of environmentally sound hydroelectric resources and is conducting research on the unresolved environmental issues associated with hydropower development. Successful, cost-effective mitigation of environmental impacts is a critical element in successful project development. Recommendations to DOE from the hydropower industry, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, power marketing administrations, and the public have identified environmental research and development as a continuing need.

Recent open-literature publications have dealt with the following subjects: hydrology; assessment methods for instream flow mitigation; relations between fish, flows, and river channel geomorphology; water quality effects of hydropower development; cumulative impacts of multiple projects; upstream and downstream fish passage issues; and the modeling response of fish populations to hydropower releases.

Cada, et al., Development of Biological Criteria for the Design of Advanced Hydropower Turbines, DOE/ID-10578, 1997. ( 11MB PDF) (2/5/2002)

Environmental Mitigation Studies

Click to enlarge image.

Fish ladder on a Snake River dam.

Fish ladder on a Snake River dam.

DOE has published two Environmental Mitigation studies that were designed to clarify and resolve the controversial environmental mitigation issues with which the hydropower industry is confronted. They are as follows, with links to the Title page and executive summary:

Volume I. Current Practices for Instream Flow Needs, Dissolved Oxygen, and Fish Passage [Sale et al. 1991; DOE/ID-10360(V1)] (543KB PDF)

Volume II. Benefits and Costs of Fish Passage Mitigation Practices [Francfort et al. 1994; DOE/ ID-10360(V2)]. (587KB PDF)

These studies provide guidance to hydropower developers, regulators, and natural resource managers concerning the most effective mitigation practices and regulations. The studies are also intended to help prioritize research and development efforts by DOE, as well as in other agencies and organizations. These case-study analyses serve as guidance manuals for the selection and design of appropriate mitigation practices, targeted at a broad audience of developers, regulators, and resource managers.

Carbon Dioxide Reduction Study

Hydropower's Contribution to Carbon Dioxide Emission Reduction ( 19KB PDF)

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