Waterway: Holyoke Cnl(Conn R)
License issued: 8/20/1999
License expires: 8/31/2039
The Holyoke Project is located on the Connecticut River in northwestern Massachusetts, and consists of six hydroelectric dams. Originally licensed in 1949, the project received a new license from FERC in August, 1999.
- The license requires a minimum river flow in a part of the river where formerly there were no flows, also called a bypassed reach. The new flows also fluctuate seasonally to more closely mimic natural flow rhythms.
- Project operations were significantly modified from “peaking” to “run-of-river” operations. Peaking operations only release water through the turbines when energy generation is necessary—causing dramatic shifts in flow depending on daily energy needs, and dominating the entire flow of the river. Run-of-river operations do more to keep a river’s flow relatively intact while continuing to generate power.
- Reservoir levels were ordered to register at increasingly stabilized positions.
- The Massachusetts DEP supplied 24 water quality rules for the license in accordance with the Clean Water Act.
- The United States Fish and Wildlife Service provided conditions for fish passage on the dams, so that fish – like the anadromous Atlantic salmon – may move past the dams.