Guide Offers Strategies for Addressing Recreation Issues in New Hydropower Technologies

Joan Harn, National Park Service, 202-354-6929
Rupak Thapaliya, Hydropower Reform Coalition, 202-243-7076
March 31, 2011
Washington, DC -- The Hydropower Reform Coalition and the National Park Service have jointly released a new guide that offers strategies to deal with potential recreation issues as new hydrokinetic energy technologies are being proposed in rivers and oceans, often times in same areas that are high-value recreation resources.  Hydrokinetic Energy Projects and Recreation: A Guide to Assessing Impacts provides general information about hydrokinetic technologies and the permitting process, identifies potential recreational concerns, and suggests ways to study and mitigate those impacts.  The guide is available online at
"Dam-less hydrokinetic projects have great potential, but many of the sites proposed for development are also key recreation sites.  Early identification of interested stakeholders, issues of concern, and opportunities to avoid or mitigate adverse impacts is essential for the successful implementation of these new technologies. The new guide will help the developers and the regulators do just that," said Joan Harn of the National Park Service.
The guide is designed for staff from utilities, developers, and state & federal agencies involved in assessing hydrokinetic impacts, as well as interested stakeholders who want to be “critical consumers” of studies and become involved in hydrokinetic project licensing processes.  The work was jointly funded by Hydropower Reform Coalition, National Park Service, and the Department of Energy.
With the latest surge in interest in renewable energy projects, marine and hydrokinetic energy technologies have become part of the discussion. These emerging technologies may offer useful contributions, but like any other energy source they may affect other public resources such as fisheries, wildlife, or recreation.  As with traditional energy projects, it is important that impacts on public resources are identified early and addressed appropriately.
"The guide is a terrific resource for understanding how hydrokinetic energy projects can impact recreational uses, and how developers and agencies can work with stakeholders to avoid or minimize these impacts through thoughtful project planning," said Pete Stauffer, the Ocean Ecosystem Program Manager at Surfrider Foundation.
The HRC and NPS hope that the guide will be useful to developers, regulators and the general public as the United States looks to generate more energy using hydrokinetic technologies.