PN-23-35 NAB-2023-00151-P12 (York Haven Nature Like FishWay)

Published Aug. 23, 2023
Expiration date: 9/22/2023

                     Public Notice

U.S. Army Corps                 In Reply to Application Number
of Engineers                        NAB-2023-00151-P12 (York Haven Nature Like FishWay) 

Baltimore District
PN-23-34                               Comment Period:  August 23, 2023 to September 22, 2023


This District has received an application for a Department of the Army permit pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act (33 USC 403) and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 USC 1344),as described below:


Ms. Jody Smet
York Haven Power Company, LLC
100 Hydro Park Drive
York Haven, Pennsylvania 17370


The proposed project is located on the east side of the Susquehanna River, at the southwest corner of Three Mile Island (TMI), around the north abutment of the main York Haven dam, in Londonderry Township, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. (Latitude 40.134155/Longitude -76.724671)

OVERALL PROJECT PURPOSE: To improve fish passage and connectivity of aquatic habitats in the Susquehanna River at the York Haven Dam.

See HQ SOP, July 2009, Section 12 and 33 CFR 325 App B 9(b)(4) The Corps makes the determination of overall project purpose using the information provided by the applicant. The overall project purpose is more specific than the basic project purpose and will help establish the geographic scope of the alternatives review. The overall project purpose should be specific enough to define the applicant’s needs, but not so restrictive as to preclude all discussion of alternatives.


York Haven Power Company, LLC (YHPC) is the owner, operator, and licensee of the York Haven Hydroelectric Project. YHPC began the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) relicensing process of the project in June 2009. As part of the relicensing agreement, a Settlement Agreement was executed by YHPC, United States

Fish and Wildlife Service, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Susquehanna River Basin Commission and was filed with FERC on January 30, 2014. The main issues associated with the relicensing of the project included: (1) upstream passage of American shad and other anadromous species; (2) upstream passage of American eels; (3) downstream passage of post-spawning American Shad; (4) downstream passage of juvenile American Shad; (5) downstream passage of juvenile silver stage American Eel; (6) resident fish passage; (7) flow management; (8) water quality and debris management; and (9) endangered species and species of special concern. The construction of a nature-like fishway (NLF) was the main component of the Settlement Agreement.

On September 24, 2021, YHPC notified FERC that it had entered a FERC-mediated dispute resolution with the resource agencies to address the construction of the NLF at the project. After a successful utilization of the process, an inland bypass NLF at the north end of the Project’s Main Dam, located on Three Mile Island was agreed to in an amended Settlement Agreement signed by YHPC and the Resource Agencies and filed with FERC for amending the license on January 26, 2023.

The primary purpose of this NLF is to improve fish passage and connectivity in the Susquehanna River, as supported by the Resource Agencies. The NLF is designed to improve fish passage and connectivity by simulating the geomorphology, hydraulics, and functions of natural river channels. At the suggestion of the resource agencies during relicensing, YHPC investigated the feasibility of an NLF concept at the Main Dam apex. Through evaluations with experts in the NLF field, YHPC concluded that the area was well-suited for an NLF. During the design review process and the review of various alternatives, YHPC and the Resource Agencies considered two options, an In-river NLF (as agreed to in the original Settlement Agreement) and an Inland NLF (agreed to in the amended Settlement Agreement). The Inland NLF was determined to be the preferred alternative of YHPC and the Resource Agencies because it reduced the overall aquatic impacts of the NLF, maintains dam safety, and still meets the objective of providing suitable anadromous and resident fish passage.

The fishway entrance will be located approximately 90 feet downstream of the Main Dam north abutment, and the exit will be located approximately 150 feet upstream of the Main Dam north abutment. Fish that enter the fishway will swim up the Inland NLF, around the north abutment of the Main Dam, and will exit to the upstream impoundment (Lake Fredrick) and continue their upstream migration. To provide additional attraction, to the fishway entrance, during the migratory fish passage season, a portion of the crest of the Main Dam will be modified to accommodate a supplemental attraction water feature (SAWF). The feature will permanently lower a 90-foot-long section of the Main Dam and will include a manually adjustable crest that will be optimized over the first years of fishway operation (based on visual observations and fishway effectiveness testing).The manually adjustable crest will allow for future adaptive management of the SAWF, but adjustment will be limited to periods when staff can access the dam safely.

The Inland NLF will be approximately 120 feet wide and approximately 700 feet long, including rock riffle at the NLF entrance. The Inland NLF will consist of a rock riffle with staggered boulders and two defined channels where fish enter the Inland NLF after they migrate from the powerhouse tailrace along the steeper natural gradient river channel (Conewago Falls) to the fishway entrance. Upstream from the rock riffle in the Inland NLF, fish will enter the approximately 50-foot-long resting pool downstream of weir 12 of 12. The downstream weirs (Weirs 2-12) will be parabolic in shape, with the opening facing downstream. The 12 weirs will be constructed of large weir boulders set on a stone bedding on bedrock, with face and footer boulders, and riprap surrounding these weir boulders to form the weirs. The leading weir (Weir 1, most upstream) is proposed to be constructed with concrete core wall to limit seepage from the reservoir area above the pond, in combination with the sheet pile subsurface flow cutoff wall extending from the Main Dam to Wier 1 and continuing upstream. The side slopes of the fishway will be protected with riprap designed to resist the reasonably anticipated hydraulic forces expected in the fishway. The boulders being used will be sourced from a local quarry and will contribute to the natural character of the fishway by simulating the conditions found in the area just downstream in the Susquehanna River.

To stabilize the existing banks of TMI. Riprap will be placed approximately 40 feet upstream and downstream of the Inland NLF. A permanent access road will be established along the east side of the Inland NLF to allow for access for monitoring and future maintenance. This access road would terminate near Weir 1 at an elevation of approximately 280’, providing access to the upstream end of the fishway during moderate and low flows.

Construction of the NLF is planned to occur over approximately 15 months.

The inland NLF would permanently impact Wetlands identified as Wetlands A, B, C, I, J and K, and the Susquehanna River to create the fish passage and stabilize the shoreline. No temporary wetland impacts are anticipated.

All work is proposed in accordance with the attached plans prepared by Kleinschmidt Group, dated May 22, 2023.         


To summarize the tables below, the project is proposed to permanently impact 1.23 acres of impacts below the ordinary high water mark (OHWM) to the Susquehanna River, 0.56 acre of wetlands above the OHWM and 0.12 acre of wetlands below the OHWM. 1.37 acres of temporary impacts will occur in the Susquehanna River below the OHWM, as a result of a cofferdam. The 1.37 acres encompasses the permanent impact area of 1.23 acres and an additional 0.14 acre to be restored to preconstruction contours upon installation of the Inland NLF. There are no proposed temporary impacts to wetlands proposed.