Collaboration produces landmark hydro plan
Representatives of private industry, and state and federal natural resource agencies and river advocacy organizations have finalized a landmark agreement for relicensing hydroelectric facilities in northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan`s Upper Peninsula.
The signing of the Wilderness Shores Settlement Agreement, covering the Upper Menominee River Basin, marks the first time that an agreement has been reached on the major issues related to relicensing hydro facilities prior to filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Organizations signing the agreement included Wisconsin Electric (WE), Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan Attorney General`s Office, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Michigan Hydro Relicensing Coalition, River Alliance of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Department of Administration. The agreement assures protection of the hydroelectric system and the associated land and water resources for 40 years.
The agreement addresses key issues concerning land management and protection, fisheries protection, water quality, recreation, hydroelectric plant operation and future dam responsibility, including the removal of three uneconomic dams. WE proposes to relicense eight of its hydroelectric facilities in the Upper Menominee River Basin, including big Quinnesec Falls, Peavy Falls, Kingsford, Twin Falls, Lower Paint, Hemlock Falls, Michagamme Falls and the Way Dam/Michigamme Reservoir hydro plants.