Five companies have been recognized by the National Hydropower Association as recipients of its Outstanding Stewards of America's Water awards program for positive excellence in recreational, historical, environmental or educational value.
Earning OSAW awards were McMillen Jacobs Associates, Minnesota Power, the New York Power Authority, Pacific Gas & Electric and Tacoma Power.
"This year's OSAW winners are prime examples of the dedication the industry has shown to good water stewardship," NHA executive director Linda Church Ciocci said.
Honored in the category of Recreational, Environmental & Historical Enhancement were:
- The New York Power Authority, for its Frog Island wetland restoration project. The initiative rebuilt a historic wetland with the upper Niagara River where it had gone barren. Using an innovative design under challenging conditions, the utility excavated two acres to varying depths while enhancing substrates to support new plantings, protecting them with a low-profile stone berm on three sides.
- Pacific Gas & Electric, for restoring 500 acres of PG&E property to wetlands as part of the McArthur Swamp Wildlife Habitat Improvement Project. Working in partnership with the California Waterfowl Association, PG&E created swales and loafing islands that are flooded annually to create feeding, breeding and nesting habitat for waterfowl migrating along the Pacific Flyway.
- Tacoma Power, for collaborations with the Skokomish Indian Tribe and regulatory agencies on improving fish passage at Little Falls on the North Fork Skokomish River. The project eases fish passage while preserving the beauty of a culturally significant location.
Honored in the category of Public Education were:
-- McMillen Jacobs Associates, for community outreach and education campaign conducted during the raising of the Blue Lake Dam. The project -- the largest public works project in the history of the City and Borough of Sitka, Alasa -- raised the dam by 83 feet and increased the hydropower plant's output capacity by 33%.
-- Minnesota Power, for its "Hometown Hydropower: Rededication to Service" initiative, which educated the public on the role hydroelectricity plays in their lives through speaking engagements, festival booths, media tours, ice cream socials, donations to community projects and the creation of maps, fact sheets, commemorative medallions, time capsule and website.
"Working with their local communities to preserve the natural ecosystems and educate on the value of hydropower are exactly what we set out to encourage when we established the OSAW awards," Ciocci said.
The OSAW awards trace their roots to 1994, when NHA established its Hydro Achievement Awards program. NHA added the Outstanding Stewardship of America's Rivers (OSAR) Report in 1999 before combining the two recognition programs under the OSAW banner in 2007.
More information about past OSAW winners can be found on the NHA's website here.