Hydropower Projects

Hydropower is derived from the energy of falling water and running water, which may be harnessed for useful purposes. Since ancient times, hydropower has been used for irrigation and the operation of various mechanical devices, such as watermillssawmills and textile mills. 

Hydropower projects stakeholders include utility company planners, river managers and planners, river conservation and recreation advocates, and municipal leaders and planners. The process of applying for a license or a license renewal every 30-50 years is complex, reflective of the many impacts and benefits that are evaluated and researched along the way.  The lengthy and measured process most often results in license documents that are cumbersome, and often tough to understand or interpret, so RMS has embarked on a project to help stakeholders interested interested in learning about specific licenses and not interested in slogging through 100-200+ pages of text.

Handy Hydropower Summaries

produced in collaboration with the Hydropower Reform Coalition

Hydropower License Resource in Plain English

Welcome to the growing library summarized hydropower license and settlement provisions that are easy for members of the public to understand, and convenient for river professionals to call upon in their management of rivers impacted by hydropower generation.

Summary of the Process

The Hydropower Reform Coalition and the River Management Society team identified hydropower licenses that have been completed during the last decade which illustrate licenses of varying complexity and in a variety of geographic locations.  Licenses, documents largely 150-200 pages in length, were distilled to highlight the topics of greatest interest to interested members of the public, acknowledge members of stakeholders who are signatories to settlements, and important plans and provisions affecting public use and access to the river affected by the hydropower facility and its operations. 



Clackamas River, Oregon - Clackamas Project 

Missouri and Madison Rivers, Montana -  Missouri-Madison Project 

Deschutes River Oregon - Pelton Round Butte Project

Pend Orielle River, Washington - Boundary Project

Similkameen River, Washington - Enloe Project

Snake River, Idaho - Mid-Snake Project 

Sultan River - S. Henry M. Jackson Project 

Sun River, Montana - Gibson Project

W. Rosebud Creek, Montana - Mystic Lake Project 


Piru Creek, California - Santa Felicia Project 

Mokolumne River, California - Mokolumne River Projects 

South Fork American River, California - Chili Bar Project 

Upper American River, California - Upper American Projects 


Blacksmith River, Utah - Hyrum Dam 


Fox River, Wisconsin - Badger-Rapide Crochet 

Au Sable River, Michigan - Au Sable River Projects

Boardman River, Michigan - Boardman River Projects

Dead River, Michigan - Dead River Projects

Manistee Michigan - Manistee River Projects

Menominee, Michigan - Menominee River Projects

Muskegon, Michigan - Muskegon River Projects

Muskingum, Michigan - Muskingum River Projects

Ontonagon, Michigan - Ontonagon River Projects


Kanawha River Project - London-Marmet Project

Kanawha River, West Virginia - Winfield Project

Nantahala River, North Carolina - Nantahala Project  

New River, Virginia - Claytor Project 

Yadkin River, Wilkesboro, North Carolina - W. Kerr Scott Dam Project 

Yadkin and Pee Dee Rivers, Alabama - Yadkin-Pee Dee Project


Hudson River, New York - Green Island Power 

Otter Creek, Vermont - Otter Creek Project

Presumpscot River, Maine - Eel Weir Project


These summaries are also available on the Hydropower Reform Coalition website, www.hydroreform.org along with links to the complete license, other hydropower projects and a wealth of information about the relicensing of hydropower dams. 

This project has been made possible by the Arches Foundation, accompanied by support from the BLM for summaries prepared in 2015.