CONCORD, Mass. – Black Bear Hydro Partners, LLC, of Milford, Maine, is seeking a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District to conduct work in waters of the United States in conjunction with upgrading two existing dams in Orono and Stillwater, Maine.
Black Bear Hydro Partners, LLC proposes to place temporary and permanent fill material below the ordinary high water line of the Stillwater River at Orono and Stillwater in order to upgrade two existing hydro-electric dams.
At the Stillwater Project (FERC project number 2712-074), Black Bear Hydro Partners, LLC proposes to construct and operate a second powerhouse containing three turbine generator units with an installed capacity of 2.229 megawatts (MW); and new downstream fish passage and upstream eel passage facilities.
At the Orono Project (FERC project number 2710-057), Black Bear Hydro Partners, LLC proposes to construct and operate a second powerhouse containing three turbine generator units with an installed capacity of 3.738 megawatts (MW); increase the normal maximum surface elevation of the reservoir by 0.6 feet; replace the existing downstream fish passage facility; and install a new fish trapping facility.
Actions at the two dams are part of the Lower Penobscot River Multi-party Settlement Agreement, the goal of which is to restore self-sustaining populations of 11 native species of sea-run fish along the Penobscot River. The Settlement Agreement involves removal of the Veazie and Great Works dams, the decommissioning and bypassing of the Howland dam, and improvements to the Orono and Stillwater dams to offset the power generation lost at the Veazie, Great Works and Howland dams. The Settlement Agreement in no way pre-supposes federal or state authorizations for the improvements at the Orono and Stillwater dams.
Increased water levels as a result of the Orono project will result in secondary impacts to approximately 0.57 acre of freshwater wetland (flooding/conservation).
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (MEDEP) are reviewing the project concurrently. FERC recently published a draft Environmental Assessment for the project. It may be viewed at http://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/common/opennat.asp?fileID=12931338.
The application for the federal permit was filed by the Black Bear Hydro Partners, LLC with the Corps of Engineers in compliance with Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which regulates the discharge or fill of material in United States waters, including wetlands.
The public notice, with additional information, can be viewed on the Corps website at http://www.nae.usace.army.mil. Select Regulatory and then public notices or go directly to http://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Regulatory/Public%20Notices/.
Public comments referencing this permit request by the Black Bear Hydro Partners, LLC (File # NAE-2010-02057) should be forwarded no later than July 2, 2012 to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Maine Project Office (ATTN: Jay Clement), 675 Western Ave., #3, Manchester, Maine 04351. Additional information is available from Permit Project Manager Jay Clement at 207-623-8367, Extension 1 or by email to email@example.com.