Oconto Falls Project, Oconto River, Wisconsin

HRC or member-contributed


Hydropower Reform Coalition


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License SummariesMidwestPublished   6/1/2009


FERC granted license to N.E.W. Hydro, Inc. against the competing application from the City of Oconto Falls for this project previously owned by Wisconsin Electric. There is another Oconto Falls project (P-2689) owned by Scott Paper Company to run its paper factory.

  1. License Issued: Nov 20, 1997
  2. Expiration: Nov 19, 2027
  3. Waterway: Oconto River
  4. Capacity: 1.32 MW
  5. Licensee: N.E.W Hydro Inc.
  6. Counties: Oconto
  7. Federal lands: None in the project area
  8. Brief Project Descriptions:
    1. 175-foot-long dam and spillway
    2. 166.5 acre reservoir (1700 acre foot)
    3. Powerhouse with one generator at 360 kW and two at 480 kW.
    4. Other appurtenant facilities


1. Operation [Reference: License Article 401]

The license requires the project to operate in a run-of-river mode. This may be modified only in special situations with agreement between the licensee, Wisconsin DNR and FWS.

2. Reservoir Drawdown [Reference: License Article 404]

Within six months of license issuance, the licensee shall file a reservoir drawdown plan that aims to minimize the impact of any project maintenance requiring a reservoir drawdown on aquatic and wetland resources.

3. Water Quality [Reference: License Article 405]

The 401 Certification is considered waived due to inaction by the Wisconsin DNR. The license, however requires the licensee to conduct water quality study once every five years. The license also requires that the DO concentrations for water released from the project shall not be less than 5.0 mg/L at any time; water temperature shall not exceed 89°F; and the pH shall be within the range of 6.0 to 9.0. 2

4. Recreation Plan [Reference: Article 408]

A recreation plan to be filed within a year shall address handicap access points, and signage among other things.


The license also requires the licensee to:

  • Implement the Programmatic Agreement to protect cultural resources (Article 409). The Agreement was between FERC, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, the State of Wisconsin (State Historic Preservation Officer), and the State of Michigan (State Historic Preservation Officer for Managing Historic Properties).


Prepared: June 2009 

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