Deerfield River (MA) Flow Studies to Explore New & Improved Boating Opportunity
By: Robert Nasdor
In response to requests by American Whitewater, several affiliates, and other stakeholders, FERC directed Brookfield Renewable to study the impact of its hydropower operations on whitewater boating on the Deerfield River in western Massachusetts. Boating groups and our supporters are seeking to determine optimal whitewater boating flows from the Fife Brook Dam and whether changes in hydropower operations would enhance boating opportunities, access and navigation.
Whitewater boating on the Deerfield River dates back to the 1990’s when AW, New England FLOW, Appalachian Mountain Club and others negotiated a groundbreaking Settlement Agreement with New England Power that provided for 106 annual releases on the Fife Brook section and 32 releases on the Dryway section, as well as other land and river protection measures. The current relicensing of the Bear Swamp Pumped Storage facility in Florida, MA provides the boating community with an opportunity to improve flows to enhance boating opportunities, and open up nearly two river miles to recreational use and pedestrian access. Over the course of the 5-year relicensing process, AW and its partners will be working with Brookfield to complete these studies.