NYPA's tradition of environmental stewardship started with the construction of its first power project and continues today. Current efforts include a variety of Habitat Improvement Projects (HIPs) undertaken in conjunction with the relicensing of its two largest hydro projects.
In the North Country, we committed $11 million to create and maintain a total of eleven HIPs that will benefit a variety of birds, mammals, fish and plants native to the region as part of the St. Lawrence-FDR project relicensing, completed in 2003. The HIPs included establishment of nesting areas for the osprey and common tern and of spawning beds in the St. Lawrence River for the lake sturgeon (video of upstream and downstream spawning-bed sites). Other species protected include the common loon, Blanding's turtle and walleye.
At the St. Lawrence-FDR project, we also installed an eel ladder that lets American eels pass safely through the power dam on their fall migration upstream. NYPA was awarded the National Hydropower Association's 2007 Outstanding Stewardship of America's Waters award for the ladder. The eel passage facility, designed by C & S Engineers of Syracuse, also received a "diamond" award, the highest honor, from the New York chapter of the Americal Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) and one of 16 "honor" awards in ACEC's national competition.
In Western New York, we're undertaking a number of HIPs as part of our Niagara project relicensing. These include restoration of marshes and wetlands on several islands in the Niagara River, control of invasive species in local marshes, development of nesting sites for the osprey and common tern and installation of structures on the bottom of the river that will provide shelter for fish such as the muskellunge, northern pike, walleye, and largemouth and smallmouth bass.