Project Name: Yards Creek Pumped Storage Shoreline Habitat Study
Summary: Shoreline habitat impact study
Client: Jersey Central Power and Light Company and PSEG Fossil, LLC
Project Location: Blairstown, NJ
Project Size: 420 MW
• Study Scoping & Plan Development
• Habitat Assessment
• Wetland Delineation
• GIS Database Management and Spatial Analysis
Project Timeframe: 2009 - 2010
Relationship with Client: Since 2005
Jersey Central Power and Light Company and PSEG Fossil, LLC required a consultant to conduct a detailed analysis of potential impacts to shoreline habitat based on proposed changes in water surface elevations in the upper and lower reservoirs for their 420MW Yards Creek Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Project (Project).
In order to estimate potential impacts to shoreline habitat along the impoundments, Kleinschmidt biologists established vegetation sampling transects and identified species present at one-foot intervals. Vegetation species were identified following the shoreline elevation gradient to determine the changes in plant communities. The changes in habitat were calculated using a numerical index that determines the “wetlandness” of the vegetative communities. Based on these calculations, the biologists defined the elevation ranges where emergent wetland, upland shrub, and riparian forest plant communities grow in the impoundment. In order to approximate the potential changes in habitat, an existing two-foot contour layer was converted, resurfaced, and interpolated to one-foot contours using ArcGIS. The one-foot contour bands were converted and used to calculate acreages for each of the existing habitat elevation ranges. The GIS was then used to raise each habitat band by one and two feet in the lower and upper reservoir, respectively, as proposed by the client. The GIS provided an approximation of existing acreages for each shoreline habitat type, as well as new acreages for each habitat type following water surface increases in the lower and upper reservoirs.
Kleinschmidt’s findings were used to illustrate potential impacts with the proposed changes in operation and assist in decision making.