Hydroelectric Projects


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Green Lake Hydro dam

Many hydroelectric projects require a Fish Habitat Permit (PDF 69 kB) from the Alaska Department of Fish & Game (ADF&G). Our permitting authority for hydroelectric projects is focused on protecting anadromous fish (salmon) and their habitats and maintaining fish passage in all fish-bearing waterbodies. Activities related to installation and operation of a hydroelectric project which may require a Fish Habitat Permit include:

  • Construction of access roads with stream crossings requiring bridges or culverts;
  • Temporary or permanent water withdrawal from lakes and streams;
  • Construction of diversion structures, dams, and water intake structures;
  • Construction of powerhouse facilities;
  • Installation of turbines or waterwheels in fish bearing streams; and
  • Alteration or interruption in stream flow which may affect fish habitat.

In addition to Fish Habitat Permits, may hydroelectric projects require authorization from other state and federal agencies including the Alaska Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

FERC Licensing

Most hydroelectric projects in Alaska are licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commision (FERC). FERC licenses determine how to allocate river flows between energy generation and other beneficial uses recognized by the Federal Power Act (FPA) as well as other applicable laws. As the state fish and wildlife agency, the FPA affords considerable weight and due deference to the ADF&G. Specifically, the FPA states that β€œto adequately and equitably protect, mitigate damages to, and enhance, fish and wildlife (including related spawning grounds and habitat) affected by the development, operation, and management of the project, each license issued under this Part shall include conditions for such protection, mitigation, and enhancement (FPA Section 10j).” The ADF&G plays an important role in assisting the applicant in the design of study plans for collecting data on fish, wildlife, and water resources in the project area. The licensing process typically takes two years after study reports are completed, and includes a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review. The ADF&G participates in the entire FERC licensing process, providing comments and technical expertise to FERC and the project applicant.

Other Permitting Agencies Related Documents and Pages
Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation Fish Habitat Permit Application (PDF 69 kB)
Alaska Department of Natural Resources;
Division of Mining, Land and Water
Anadromous Waters Catalog
Catalog of Waters Important for the Spawning,
Rearing, or Migration of Anadromous Fish
U.S. Army Corp of Engineers Special Areas Permit Application (PDF 134 kB)
U.S. Forest Service Culvert Application (PDF 94 kB)
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ADF&G Streambank Restoration Guide
Kenai Multi-Agency Permitting NOAA Habitat Restoration
Statewide Aquatic Resources Coordination Unit
(Instream flow)