R&D Forum

Study to determine impacts of Libby Dam operation

The Kootenai Tribe of Idaho is leading development of a plan to improve ecological functions in the Kootenai River valley. The foundation of the plan is an assessment of wildlife losses and habitat impacts caused by the operation of Libby Dam.

The dam, in Montana, is owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and impounds water for a 525-MW hydroelectric powerhouse.

The goal in 2014 is to develop a mitigation implementation plan. This work represents the first time a mitigation plan will be developed using a set of indices that measure ecological integrity of specific reaches within the U.S. portion of the Kootenai River floodplain, according to the Northwest Power & Conservation Council, which approved the work.

Others participating in the developing the Kootenai plan include Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks; the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes; Idaho Department of Fish and Game; U.S. Forest Service; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The plan should be completed in early 2015. Further implantation of this project and funding will be determined at that time.

The same set of loss-assessment tools that were used in the Kootenai River floodplain are being tested in the Flathead River basin to determine whether they could be used in the same manner to measure wildlife losses and ecological impacts from the operation of Hungry Horse Dam, which impounds water for a 428-MW hydro project.

HRF, NHA completing hydro R&D survey

The Hydro Research Foundation and National Hydropower Association are collaborating on a research and development survey of hydroelectric power industry members. The foundation said the goal of the survey is to assess industry research priorities and to “gauge where synergies exist within industry.”

HRF will work with NHA’s research and development committee and others after completing the survey to identify and establish collaborative research efforts among industry members.

“This survey is a terrific opportunity for industry to identify and hone in on research that is important and useful to advance hydropower as part of a clean energy future,” HRF executive director Deborah Linke said.

The survey includes 20 questions and includes five areas of research as identified by the HRF, NHA, Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), and U.S. Department of Energy.

Pearlman receives ASCE award for research

The American Society of Civil Engineers has presented its 2014 Henry L. Michel Award for Industry Advancement of Research to Seth L. Pearlman, P.E., president and chief executive officer of Menard USA.

“Seth is a champion of research. Not only does he promote extensive field testing of Menard technologies, but his company also conducts extensive private research with a third-party consulting firm and sponsors academic research with several universities in the U.S. and France,” says Dr. Priscilla P. Nelson of the New Jersey Institute of Technology, one of the people who nominated Pearlman.

Pearlman has more than 30 years of experience in the geotechnical industry. He is a member of the Geo-Institute, ASCE, American Concrete Institute, Design Built Institute of America, Deep Foundations Institute, and Engineers Society of Western Pennsylvania. He serves on an advisory council to the Carnegie Mellon University Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

This award recognizes dedication, vision and leadership in advancing research in the design and construction industry. The award was established in 1996 to honor the past chairman of the board of directors of the Civil Engineering Research Foundation.

Menard is a design-build geotechnical contractor offering expertise on ground improvement for sites with poor soil.

Corps seeks biological studies in Snake, Columbia basins

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to hire a small firm to perform biological studies in the Snake and Columbia river basins of the Pacific Northwest.

The firms chosen must fulfill specific biological objectives identified primarily through the Corps’ Anadromous Fish Evaluation Program. It plans to award one or more multiple-award task order contracts to support Corps needs to continue biological investigations and respond to litigation-related issues associated with implementation of the Federal Columbia River Power System, Endangered Species Act and resulting biological opinion.

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