This proposed run-of-river concept will generate year-round and produce up to 12 MWs of power, depending on the season and associated river flow. Electricity and optical fiber would be provided to the communities of Dillingham, Aleknagik, Koliganek, New Stuyahok, Ekwok and Levelock, also supporting the electric and communications needs of Bristol Bay’s incredible wild salmon industry in these communities. Project generation potential has been estimated using over 60 years of federally collected site-specific flow data. Based upon this analysis, the seasonal generation capacity matches, or exceeds, the demand for power in these communities. This project will replace up to 1.5 million gallons of diesel fuel annually. Hydroelectric projects in Alaska have a successful history of providing electric rate reduction, reduced dependence on fossil fuels, carbon emissions mitigation and longevity. Several hydro facilities in Alaska have been in operation for more than a century and many more are currently displaying the same type of longevity potential. We believe the combination of renewable energy and increased broadband access will provide the basis for economic and social improvement and growth in the region for generations to come.
This Nuyakuk River Concept location provides many advantages for low-impact hydroelectric development. Twenty Six feet of elevation drop occurs rapidly through a series of falls in a 2500’ stretch of river. The location of these falls at an oxbow (bend) would allow for a flow diversion of only 1500’ without the need for a dam. Our intent is to meet generation goals while at the same time having minimal negative impact on the environment. Key project characteristics include:
- Natural topographic and hydrologic features that benefit diversion and reintroduction of flow
- Vast upstream lake system that captures 1544 square miles of watershed and acts as a natural sediment trap
- Low visual impact site with minimal project footprint
- No disturbance of the natural course of the river
- Short bypass reach (portion of the river that is affected) through falls area that possesses limited to no rearing or spawning habitat
- Potentially positive impact for upstream fish passage through the bypass reach via reduction of high water velocities that currently create intermittent velocity barriers during key migration periods
Nuyakuk Project Status Update 10/27/2022
As most folks are aware, FERC issued its Study Plan Determination (SPD) for the Nuyakuk Project (P‐14873) on August 24, 2022. This SPD essentially acts as the final federal approval to allow the study program, as proposed in the Revised Study Plan (RSP), to be implemented with any FERC‐requested modifications. As such, the Cooperative is now focusing on the requisite permitting, logistical, and coordination activities associated with preparing for the first of two robust study seasons in 2023. The intent of this summary is to itemize and briefly describe key activities that have taken place since our public meeting earlier this summer.
- RSP and SPD – The RSP was filed with FERC on August 1, 2022. FERC subsequently responded with issuing the SPD on August 24, 2022 with two requested modifications to the plan.
- Initial Geotechnical Investigation – In mid‐August, the Cooperative mobilized a drilling effort on‐site and collected detailed rock quality data along the proposed tunnel/penstock route. While initial results were favorable and confirmed integrity, laboratory analysis is currently underway to confirm these results. If natural resource study results indicate potential feasibility, further geotechnical analysis will be done to fully and appropriately site the project works (intake to powerhouse) during conceptual design efforts.
- Modeling‐specific Coordination – The leads from each of the study models (fisheries, economic and engineering) have been meeting on a regular basis to further collaborate during their respective development processes. Their focus has been on developing their models in such a way where they can benefit/integrate with one another once fisheries and hydrology data is collected and feasibility analysis begins (after study season #1).
- ARWG Meetings – The Cooperative has been participating in consistent (monthly) Aquatic Resource Working Group (ARWG) meetings. Key discussion topics over the summer and fall have included:
o Finalization of monitoring methods
o Schedule for implementation of studies
o Updates on model development progress
o Initiation of permitting discussions related to 2023 and 2024 studies
o Overall Project status updates
- New Stuyahok and Koliganek In‐person Meetings – The Cooperative held in‐person meetings in both locations to update the public on Project status and schedule for assessing feasibility over the next 2 years.
- Study Methods Assessment – In late August, the Cooperative’s lead fisheries technicians along with members of BBSRA, spent 3 days on‐site at Nuyakuk Falls assessing all of the potential methods proposed in the RSP. This refinement process proved very beneficial and allowed the Cooperative and team to narrow down the methods that would be the most effective in each of the study reaches to be assessed. A brief summary of the most effective and efficient methods to be utilized during the studies (by study) are listed below:
Species Use and Abundance
o Underwater video
o Net sampling
o Predatory angling
o Snorkel stages (in the zones and flows possible)
Baseline Migratory Patterns of Sockeye and Chinook
o Observation tower
Adult Passage Monitoring for Sockeye and Chinook
o Radio telemetry
o Adult netting
o Side‐scan sonar with extended season
Migratory Pattern and Distribution for Juvenile Salmon
o Up‐looking and side‐scan sonar
Migratory Pattern and Distribution for Adult Sockeye and Chinook
o Falls reach radio telemetry
Remainder of 2022/Early 2023
In preparation for the first of two robust natural resource study seasons in 2023, the Cooperative will spend the remainder of 2022 and early 2023 focusing on the following efforts:
Permitting – The Cooperative has initiated discussions with the appropriate personnel from ADNR and ADFG and will formalize permit applications for all requisite study areas by the end of 2022.
Logistical Coordination – With transparent recognition that the holistic 2023/2024 study effort will require an extremely high level of coordination and management, efforts have already been initiated related to:
o Remote site management
o Safety planning
o Access planning
o Respective study schedules
o Communication planning
Consistent ARWG Meetings/Coordination – The Cooperative will continue its monthly meetings with the technical experts that make up the ARWG to keep them apprised of all developments and provide technical updates, as necessary.
Consistent Public Status Updates – Per commitment, the ARWG will continue to provide consistent status updates and hold public meetings to provide a forum for question and answer periods as the project progresses.