Kayakers test whitewater from Androscoggin to Rumford for recreation survey
RUMFORD — City officials recently watched seasoned whitewater kayakers negotiate a rocky section of the Androscoggin River — a rare sight.
“What you witnessed was the on-water portion of a whitewater navigation study, which is being conducted as part of the license renewal for the Rumford Falls hydroelectric project, said David Heidrich, head of Stakeholder Relations for Northeast Brookfield Renewable US, in a statement.
Rumford Falls Hydro, a subsidiary of Brookfield Renewable, owns and operates the Rumford Falls hydroelectric project, which is licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Fire Chief Chris Reed said Brookfield dumped water last week at the level of 800 cubic feet per second.
Participants included whitewater kayakers with extensive Class III-IV natural whitewater rafting experience. One came from Montreal.
Heidrich said the study is part of a larger study plan submitted by Rumford Falls Hydro, which has been approved by FERC.
“Thursday’s event was successfully completed due to the collaboration of municipal and public safety officials with the Town of Rumford, various community stakeholders and volunteer study participants,” he said.
The license for the Rumford Falls hydro project was issued Oct. 18, 1994, and expires Sept. 30, 2024. Rumford Falls Hydro will apply for a new license no later than Sept. 30, Heidrich said.
As part of this license renewal project, it is conducting resource studies to enable FERC to prepare its environmental review document and develop a new operating license. The purpose of the survey is to collect information regarding participation in outdoor recreational activities at or near the Rumford Falls Hydroelectric Project.
Heidrich said the results of the study, along with other license renewal studies, will be included in future reports and will be made available for review and comment as part of the license renewal process.
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