Susitna-Watana Hydroelectric Project – Instream Flow Study
The Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) required fisheries and engineering consulting services to support its application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for the proposed Susitna-Watana Hydroelectric Project on the Susitna River in Southcentral, Alaska. An instream flow study (IFS) incorporating complex groundwater, ice, and riparian components was needed to estimate the potential effects of flow modifications.
Kleinschmidt scientists led a team of experts to develop the IFS in cooperation with state and federal resource agencies, including the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Alaska Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Marine Fisheries Service. The IFS included a comprehensive site-specific habitat suitability study for multiple species and life stages, multivariate habitat suitability criteria development, design and completion of 3D hydraulic models in multiple riverine focus areas, and comprehensive instream flow study design including riparian, groundwater, and ice condition considerations. A decision support system was designed to combine considerations of multiple river uses in comparing operational scenarios.
Kleinschmidt used state-of-the-art field, modeling, and statistical methods in coordination with more than a dozen consultants and other stakeholder study teams to develop relationships between flow and important habitat characteristics of this diverse riverine system.