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NYPA Trustees Approve Contract Award to Potsdam Company for Dike Improvements at Wilson Hill Wildlife Management Area

Karen White

July 31, 2007


WHITE PLAINS—The New York Power Authority (NYPA) Board of Trustees Tuesday approved a $7.45 million contract with a Potsdam firm for improvements to the Wilson Hill Wildlife Management Area (WHWMA), with the work expected to begin by late summer.

J.E. Sheehan Contracting Corp. will refurbish the existing dikes and water control structures at Wilson Hill under the new contract, which also calls for construction of a new dike with a water control structure and an emergency access roadway.

“Improving the water control structures will help enhance the natural habitat for nesting waterfowl and other animals in the Wilson Hill Wildlife Management Area,” NYPA Chairman Frank S. McCullough, Jr. said. “The improvements are part of the Power Authority’s continued efforts to add to the environmental and recreational facilities within the host communities of the St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Project, as provided for under our wide-ranging license commitments.”

The WHWMA, located along the St. Lawrence River, in the Town of Louisville, was created in the 1950s during St. Lawrence-FDR’s construction. The 3,300-acre refuge area is inhabited by nesting and migrating waterfowl, including dabbling ducks, diving ducks, and geese. In addition, wading birds, shore birds, song birds, and raptors (bald eagles and osprey) can be found in the area. Deer, turkey, cottontail rabbit, ringed-neck pheasant, beaver, muskrat, mink and otter also use the area as a sanctuary.

During St. Lawrence-FDR’s relicensing, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, which manages the publicly-owned WHWMA, identified problems for controlling and achieving certain water levels within the wildlife area.

The contract with J.E. Sheehan covers most of the improvements. They include the new paved access road, from the mainland to the western end of Wilson Hill Island, for emergency vehicles.

Additional improvements to another WHWMA dike and installation of new recreational facilities will be accomplished under separate contracts, still to be awarded for the area. The term of the contract with J.E. Sheehan is through 2009.

The Potsdam company has considerable experience working with the Power Authority on other initiatives related to the St. Lawrence-FDR project’s relicensing. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a new 50-year license for the project’s continued operation in October 2003, following agreement between NYPA and a series of stakeholders that included Northern New York communities, state and federal resource agencies and environmental groups.

      About NYPA:

 ■    NYPA uses no tax money or state credit.  It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity.  ■    NYPA is a leader in promoting energy-efficiency, new energy technologies and electric transportation initiatives.  ■    It is the nation’s largest state-owned electric utility, with 18 generating facilities in various parts of the state and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines.

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