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The Pennsylvania Code website reflects the Pennsylvania Code changes effective through 54 Pa.B. 2336 (April 27, 2024).

Pennsylvania Code



57.21.    General.
57.22.    Fish passages facilities.
57.23.    Adequate stream flows.
57.24.    Water quality protection.
57.25.    Turbine operation practices.
57.26.    Public recreational access.

§ 57.21. General.

 It is the policy of the Commission that hydroelectric development on existing or planned dams on Commonwealth waters must not adversely affect the existing or potential fisheries at the location of the dam.

§ 57.22. Fish passages facilities.

 (a)  General. Persons, corporations or other legal entities who erect or maintain dams on the waters of this Commonwealth are required, upon order of the Commission, to provide the fish passage facilities as the Commission may deem necessary to enable fish to ascend and descend the waters at all seasons of the year.

 (b)  Migratory waters. The Commission finds that it is in the public interest for fish passage facilities to be included in all dams on waters that historically provided habitat for migratory fish, and it is the policy of the Commission to promote early installation of fish passage facilities at the dams.

   (1)  The Commission will endeavor to identify existing dams where upstream and downstream fish passage facilities for migrating fish are required and will provide appropriate notice to the owners. The Commission may defer the requirement for actual construction until developments downstream from the dam site indicate construction of fish passage facilities for migratory fish is advisable.

   (2)  The Commission will additionally review existing and proposed dams as candidates for installation of fish passage facilities when hydroelectric facilities are proposed. If the Commission agrees to defer immediate construction of fish passage facilities pending the implementation of a plan for availability of fish passage facilities at downstream obstructions to fish migration, the developer shall insure that hydropower development at the site will not impede the installation of fish passage facilities when required. Hydropower development at dams in this Commonwealth shall be compatible with ultimate installation and operation of fish passage facilities.

   (3)  When the Commission determines that installation of fish passage facilities at a dam site is required to promote restoration of migratory fish to their historic range but further determines that immediate installation is not practicable or desirable, the Commission may seek to enter into an agreement with the owner, lessee or operator of the dam or associated hydroelectric development for the payment of so-called ‘‘in lieu of payments’’ under 30 Pa.C.S. §  3501(b) (relating to devices in dams to permit fish migration).

 (c)  Other waters. On waters where restoration of migratory fish to their historic habitat is not a consideration, the Commission will require installation of fish passage facilities on existing or planned dams upon a written order and finding that the installation will have an appreciable beneficial impact on the indigenous fishery. The Commission may defer installation of fish passage facilities at dams where the Commission orders installation of facilities after finding of an appreciable beneficial impact to existing or potential indigenous fishery. In these cases the Commission may seek to enter into an agreement for the payment of ‘‘in lieu of payments’’ under 30 Pa.C.S. §  3501(b). However, in all cases, the developer of hydropower installations at these dams shall insure that the development will not impede the installation of fish passage facilities as may ultimately be required.

§ 57.23. Adequate stream flows.

 Operators of dams and hydropower installations shall maintain adequate continuous stream flows over the dam to protect fisheries resources and habitat located between the toe of the dam and the tailrace of the hydrounits. The habitat which is necessary for any portion of the life cycle of existing or potential fisheries must receive adequate flow to maintain habitat in a usable condition. The Commission will determine the minimum flow requirements and provide them to the developer early in the consultation process.

§ 57.24. Water quality protection.

 Water quality must not be adversely affected by the hydrodevelopment. Water leaving the hydrodevelopment tailrace must have oxygen levels comparable to the oxygen levels in the free flowing streams just above the tailrace. This may require the developer to monitor the stream oxygen levels and provide aeration equipment to increase the tailrace oxygen level to approximate that found in the upstream waters. Other water quality parameters shall also be protected.

§ 57.25. Turbine operation practices.

 Hydroelectric units must operate strictly as run-of-the-river operations without peaking or pulsing modes of operation. Run-of-the-river operation prevents undesirable lake level fluctuations and rapid changes in stream flows below the facility and protects boating and fishing recreational interests. Flashboards not exceeding 6 inches in height will not be considered a peaking or pulsing mode of operation; but, when flashboards are placed in use, specified minimum flows must be continuously maintained. Debris removal plans shall be implemented when flashboard installations are breached by high waters, ice or any other influence.

§ 57.26. Public recreational access.

 The developer should plan to provide safe access for recreational purposes adjacent to the completed installations. Streams and tailraces below the dams are heavily utilized for fishing purposes, and the fisherman’s ability to utilize these areas shall not be decreased by the hydro development.

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