NYPA Awards Contract to Gouverneur Firm for Eel Ladder

Michael Saltzman

September 2, 2005


MASSENA—The New York Power Authority (NYPA) has awarded a $1.65 million contract to B-S Industrial Contracting, Inc., of Gouverneur, for construction of an eel ladder at the St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project, to be completed by next spring.

Studies conducted as part of the process leading to the relicensing of the NYPA hydroelectric project identified a need for the ladder, or passageway.

“The upstream eel ladder will provide safe passage over the St. Lawrence-FDR Project’s Robert Moses Power Dam to the upper St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario, where migrating eels will grow and mature prior to returning to the ocean,” said Eugene W. Zeltmann, NYPA President and Chief Executive Officer. “The ladder is one of the wide-ranging fish and wildlife measures we committed to in connection with the 50-year federal license issued for the hydroelectric project in late 2003 by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [FERC]. We’re looking forward to its construction.”

B-S Industrial submitted the low bid for the eel ladder construction, competing against three other firms, from New York and Connecticut, who also provided proposals. The Gouverneur company previously installed an eel ladder for Brascan Power, at its Oswego Falls hydro facility on the Oswego River, a tributary to Lake Ontario. Its work experience also includes installation of heavy-duty equipment at Alcoa and GM Powertrain facilities, in Massena.

FERC approved the design of the eel ladder last week. The Power Authority also consulted with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation concerning the ladder.

A unique feature of the ladder system is that the eels will be safely delivered to a release point approximately 900 feet beyond the power dam.

NYPA plans to spend about $66 million for fish and wildlife projects as part of its St. Lawrence-FDR license commitments to enhance the St. Lawrence River environment and area tourism. It also is spending millions of dollars more for improvements and enhancements for parks and other recreational facilities in the area, with some of those initiatives already completed.

The 800,000-kilowatt St. Lawrence-FDR project, which began producing electricity in 1958, provides low-cost power for Alcoa, GM Powertrain, and three investor-owned utilities, for resale without profit to their residential and farm customers.