Tech Briefs

Ontario releases atlas of available waterpower sites

The government of Ontario, Canada, announces availability of its Internet-based Waterpower Resource Atlas. This mapping tool illustrates waterpower potential in the province and identifies promising sites for future development.

Users of the atlas can search for potential sites in several ways. For example, users can search for sites within parks or protected areas, on federal lands, or in the process of being developed. Users also can zoom to a specific latitude/longitude or a named place in the province.

A summary reports section of the atlas allows users to generate reports of sites available in the entire province, in a tertiary watershed, or in a particular river or creek. For example, for Abitibi River, the atlas identifies one site in a general use area (where a full range of resource and recreational uses is allowed), four with direct site releases, four in the Moose River Basin, and two in a park and protected area of the basin. These 11 sites, each named in the atlas, have a total potential of 658 MW. In addition, the atlas indicates existing hydro capacity of about 644 MW at six plants on this river.

Users can click on an interactive map to zoom in on a site or region. The map shows rivers and lakes, as well as existing dams and power lines.

The atlas is available on the Internet at

Reclamation offers database on mussel research and control

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation offers an online database on quagga and zebra mussel control in the Lower Colorado River. This database is located at

Quagga and zebra mussels are invasive species that are being found with increasing frequency in reservoirs in the western U.S. Mussel infestations are adversely affecting some Reclamation hydro facilities, including 255-MW Davis, 2,078.8-MW Hoover, and 120-MW Parker. In addition to plugging water intakes, these mussels build up on spillway gates and other hydraulic structures.

This database of activities to prevent the spread of quagga and zebra mussels is divided into four sections:

– Federal government publications, including a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fact sheet on western quagga mussels, results of testing of a cylindrical wedge-wire screen system at Beal Lake in Arizona, and the Zebra Mussel Chemical Control Guide from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers;

– State agency publications, such as a report entitled California’s Response to the Zebra/Quagga Mussel Invasion in the West and training documents and forms to be used by divers who are performing mussel surveys;

– Private/non-profit/task force publications, including analysis of shell length distributions of quagga mussels taken from Lakes Mead and Mohave and a review of the biology and ecology of the quagga mussel; and

– Congressional testimony before the Subcommittee on Water & Power of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Natural Resources in June 2008, including statements about quagga and zebra mussel infestation from the commissioner of Reclamation and the director of the Southern Nevada Water System.

The database also contains information on prevention activities at several hydro projects. For example, Parker Dam is the Reclamation dam most heavily infected by mussels on the lower Colorado River. In early 2008, Reclamation implemented several measures to control these mussels, which were plugging the dam’s domestic water line and fouling the water surrounding the generator seals. These measures included replacing 3/8-inch basket strainer screens with 1/8-inch screens to evaluate their effectiveness in removing adult mussels or mussel debris from the water stream and installing “bio-boxes,” clear structures that allow for visual inspection, in cooling water pipes.

Links on the database connect to information about the quagga mussel program for the Lower Colorado River, a photo gallery, and related websites.

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