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Save The River Raises Concerns about Proposed Dam on Grasse River

August 25th, 2009 | Posted by admin

Save The River recently notified the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission of serious concerns regarding a proposed hydroelectric project on the Grasse River in Massena, NY. Two species in particular would be impacted by the proposed Massena Grasse Hydroelectric project – Lake Sturgeon and American Eel. The project has the potential to significantly damage any remaining populations of both species and to seriously hamper restoration efforts to restore the region’s American Eel and Lake Sturgeon populations.

Historically, American Eel and Lake Sturgeon have been devastated by hydropower projects already in place throughout the region, such as the Moses-Saunders Power Dam on the mainstem of the St. Lawrence River. These structures have devastated the American eel population by impeding the species’ ability to travel from the region’s freshwater to their ocean spawning grounds. Additionally, they have changed flows in the St. Lawrence River, damaging historic Lake Sturgeon spawning grounds.

Save The River is deeply concerned about the construction of additional structures within the St. Lawrence River and its tributaries, such as the Grasse River, that could impede fish movement or damage existing fish spawning grounds and nursery habitat.

In the letter, Save The River urged that the Massena Grasse Hydroelectric project be subject to lengthy, independent scientific review before further consideration by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Fully understanding the environmental impacts of this proposed project is absolutely necessary to determine project feasibility. Save The River noted that if environmental studies find that the project will create further degradation of the regional ecosystem or impede regional restoration efforts, the project should not proceed.

Read Save The River’s full letter regarding the Massena Grasse Hydroelectric Project that was submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on August 24, 2009.

Numerous agencies, including the NY Department of Environmental Conservation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, and the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe have also expressed concerns about the project. To read all comments filed regarding this project, visit the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s e-library and search for docket P-12607.

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