The National Hydropower Association recognized eight companies through its Outstanding Stewards of America's Waters (OSAW) award program for their efforts in developing hydroelectric power and related projects.
The ceremony -- held during the NHA's Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. earlier this week -- recognized the projects for their "extraordinary operational, recreational, historical, environmental or educational value as part of their normal hydropower operations."
"Leading through example, these awardees have raised the bar on excellence for the entire industry," NHA Executive Director Linda Church Ciocci said.
Honored for their work in the Recreational, Environmental and Historical Enhancement category were:
- PPL Holtwood, for its work in protecting two pairs of nesting bald eagles during its Holtwood Hydropower expansion project. PPL partnered with state and federal agencies to develop a site-specific adaptive management plan and monitoring studies. Information from these studies will be used to assist regulators, consultants and licensees in understanding how to not only better protect bald eagles, but also in developing solutions to avoid eagle disruption during construction.
- New York Power Authority, for its Great Gorge Railway Trail Stone Stairway. The stairway is a new recreational feature built as part of the Niagara Power Project relicensing, which connects existing hiking trails at the top and bottom of the Niagara Gorge into a loop.
- Avista, for the successful restoration of two channels downstream of its Upper Falls Development on the Spokane River. The project used weirs shaped and colored to look like natural bedrock to make the Spokane River look much the way it did before the channels were altered for commercial use, enhancing its aesthetic appeal.
Honored for Operational Excellence were:
- Tacoma Power, for its innovative dam washer". The washer is a self-designed and fabricated remote-controlled pressure washer used to clean the face of a dam to allow safety inspections. The dam washer increases employee safety and efficiency while also reducing costs.
- Jordan Hydroelectric Limited Partnership, for its innovative Jordan Hydroelectric Project. The plant is the first of its kind in the United States and uses vertical turbines installed on an intake tower at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flood control dam.
Honored for Public Education were:
- Chelan County Public Utility District, Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation, for their collaborative "D3 Geocache Challenge". The program encourages visitors to the Grand Coulee, Chief Joseph and Rocky Reach Dams on the Columbia River to use GPS devices to follow a trail of hidden clues designed to teach about hydropower along the way.
"The efforts that have been put into each of these projects is not only worthy of the prestigious OSAW awards, but is emblematic of the commitment our industry has made to enhance the communities and ecosystems of which we are a part," Ciocci said.
The OSAW award program traces its roots to the NHA's Hydro Achievement Awards, which has, since 1994, recognized organizations and projects committed to excellence in the development and operation of
Winners are selected by a panel that includes representatives from across the hydroelectric industry and media interests who judge the project and programs on their initial challenges, innovations, collaborations with stakeholders and results.
More information about past OSAW winners can be found on the NHA's website, Hydro.org.