November 1999 - American Rivers, Inc., a non-profit organization specializing in protecting and restoring rivers, released final criteria defining low-impact hydropower resources. The criteria form the basis for a voluntary, low-impact hydro certification program, which will be administered by a new non-profit organization, the Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI). The certification program, which will be officially launched in January 2000, is designed to evaluate the environmental impacts of hydro resources using objective environmental criteria and to provide customers with a basis for choosing environmentally preferable hydro resources. The certification criteria address hydro facility impacts on flows, water quality, fish passage, threatened and endangered species, cultural resources, recreation, and watersheds.
Some states, such as California, have included small hydropower resources of less than 30 MW in size — an arbitrary distinction contained in the federal Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) of 1978 — in legislative definitions of environmentally preferable resources. The low-impact hydro certification program is intended to provide a more objective evaluation of hydro resources based on their actual environmental impacts.
The certification criteria were developed by American Rivers, Inc. and GreenMountain.com, in collaboration with a task force representing the environmental community, hydropower industry, resource agencies, and power marketers.
Full Report - Low Impact Hydropower Certification Program Certification Criteria
LIHI Contact: Lydia Grimm (503) 227-1763