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Responsible Use

Energy Development

Hydropower that Works for Fish

TU supports renewable energy that minimizes harm to the local environment

As the Hydropower Reform Coalition established in their guiding principles, “We should not, in the name of renewable energy development, destroy the very resources we are trying to protect from the effects of climate change.”

Make informed decisions

There is a substantial danger that unnecessary and harmful hydropower projects will be developed in the rush to develop new renewable energy sources. Before considering new hydropower projects, an objective and thorough analysis of the need for the energy that would be produced by such projects and alternative means of addressing that need through conservation, efficiency improvements and alternative sources of renewable, emission-free energy should be completed.

“Small” hydro does not mean good hydro

“Low impact hydropower” must be defined by potential environmental impact rather than generation capacity. The amount of power produced says little about the environmental impacts of a particular hydropower project. Where the project is sited, the infrastructure it requires and how it is designed and operated are all critical factors in determining environmental impacts.

Get the most out of existing facilities

Before developing new hydropower projects, existing dams should be retrofitted or modified to increase hydropower production where such modifications will not further harm fish and wildlife resources and where the existing facilities are not candidates for removal because of harmful ecological impacts.

Protect local ecology

Any hydropower project must consider all aspects of water quality including flow and water temperature, as well as the employment of fish passage facilities and other fish protection structures such as exclusionary screens to allow safe movement of wild and native fish.

Stay out of high quality fish and wildlife habitat

New hydropower projects should not be developed in high quality fish and wildlife habitat, period. Too many existing projects were built in places and operated in ways that severely harmed fish and wildlife and the ecosystems that support them. We need to protect the relatively small percentage of rivers and streams that have not already been degraded by hydropower and other development projects.