01 Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry

FLOWS Reservoir Levels and Flow Regime

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Reservoir Levels and Flow Regime.
Reservoir levels and flow regimes on the upper river are managed by the KWPC. The following summary of flow management strategy for the upper river has been provided by KWPC:
Upper river management focuses on the governing of water contained in storages; regulating storage outflow to ensure a year-round availability of water for power generation and other uses, and providing an added benefit of flood control, by storing run-off in the spring and, when possible, during periods of excessive precipitation, consistent with a Charter by the Maine Legislature granted in 1893.
Operation of the Kennebec Storage reservoir system and management of flows on the Kennebec River consider the following objectives:
a. Establish a more uniform year-round flow than is possible on an unregulated system;
b. Maximize benefit for power production for industrial and private consumption, while providing for other multiple uses;
c. Reduce impacts of flooding.
Some of the multiple uses include, but are not limited, to the following:
• Hydroelectric Power Generation. Ten generating stations currently are in operation on the Kennebec River, with nearly 220 megawatts of installed capacity for industrial and private sector needs.
• Recreation. A variety of recreational opportunities and uses currently exist on the Kennebec River and in the area of each storage project. It appears that the dominant forms of recreation are fishing and boating. However, a variety of other uses occurs within the basin, including whitewater boating and rafting, both seasonal and year-round residents along various shorelines, and recreation related businesses (fishing guides, sporting camps, campgrounds, boat rentals, etc.).
• Fisheries and Wildlife. River Flows are maintained as well as water levels of impoundments to enhance fish and wildlife habitat preservation.
• Industrial Requirements. Provide process water for a variety of industrial operations.
• Municipal Requirements. Provide enhanced flows during normally low flow periods to increase assimilation capacity and protect water quality.
Numerous conditions and requirements must be complied with which recognize various uses of the water resource. Included in the constraints are the following:
• FERC, LURC/DEP Project License Conditions. Minimum flow releases, ramping rates for flow releases, reservoir level management, among others.
• Fish Habitat Enhancement. Reservoir level control during the lake trout (togue) spawning and incubation period, as well as complying with certain conditions developed by IF&W.
• Reservoir Level Control. Consideration of recreational uses during the prime summer vacation season at all reservoirs. Regulating levels of storage to provide beneficial capacity to hold the spring rains and snowmelt.
• Minimum Flow to Kennebec River. Provide adequate river flows to enable necessary assimilation of effluent streams from the numerous municipal and industrial waste treatment facilities along the Kennebec River.
Additional fish habitat considerations include reservoir level control to improve or maintain access into tributaries for salmon and/or trout spawning and management of minimum flows and flow fluctuations.

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