By: Robert Nasdor
American Whitewater has restored boater access to the Hoosic River at Schaghticoke through negotiations with Brookfield Renewable, operator of the hydro project. Brookfield had constructed a fence and locked gate that prevented paddlers from accessing the river below the dam. Under their FERC license and our Settlement Agreement, Brookfield is required to provide boater access and scheduled releases; however, no releases had been scheduled for several years until this past spring. Negotiations with Brookfield over the past year resulted in a resumption of scheduled releases in the spring, and in addition, new procedures for boaters to gain access when natural flows are high enough for boating. The Hoosic provides two distinctly different boating experiences. Immediately below the dam, there are a series of falls that are enjoyed by expert boaters leading down to Big Eddy. Below Big Eddy, the run continues through a series of Class II+ waves leading to the powerhouse.
Under the new procedure, the boaters can contact Brookfield’s North American System Control Center (NASCC) at (877) 856-7466 to request access anytime when the flow on USGS Gage 01334500 exceeds 1920 cfs. After generation, a flow of 1920 cfs on the gage will result in a spill of 800 cfs from the dam. Brookfield will open the gate anytime between sunrise and two hours before sunset. Boaters will be asked to sign-in when entering. Boaters are encouraged to contact Brookfield to gain access for unscheduled paddling on the Hoosic, We will also let folks know in April when the next release is scheduled.