Tacoma Power wins national hydro power award

Tacoma Power has won a national award for its Nisqually River Project for the third year in a row. The Nisqually River Project is one of 10 hydro projects in the United States and Canada honored with an Outstanding Stewards of America’s Rivers award from the National Hydropower Association.

“The Nisqually River Project demonstrates Tacoma Power’s ongoing commitment to produce hydroelectricity in an environmentally responsible manner,” said Pat McCarty, who manages the utility’s hydroelectric resources. “We are pleased that the National Hydropower Association has recognized our progress.”

McCarty cited several activities that contributed to the award:

— The Nisqually River Project maintained certification as a low-impact hydropower installation by the Low Impact Hydropower Institute. The certification is based on an independent scientific review of the operations and mitigation occurring at the project.

— Tacoma Power is working with non-governmental organizations, federal and state agencies and the Nisqually Tribe planning a Puget Sound to Mount Rainier conservation corridor.

— Ninety acres of elk forage fields have been constructed and seeded, including 28 acres created in 2004.

— Tacoma Power and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife are evaluating the recent planting of kokanee in Alder Lake. Tacoma Power distributed a kokanee fishing brochure and dispensed free kokanee fishing lures as part of a creel census. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Mack’s Lure of Leavenworth, Washington, three local businesses and a sporting goods retailer were partners in the program. 

— Available spawning gravel data has been collected in the first year a several-year study to determine the effectiveness of gravel augmentation.

— Three insect species were released to combat the spread of Canada thistle on the lower Nisqually wildlife lands in cooperation with the Pierce County Noxious Weed Board and Washington State University King County Extension.

Awards are based on evaluation of the scientific methods and technical innovation to successfully balance energy and conservation efforts.