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EN9 - Water sources significantly affected by withdrawal of water

The withdrawal of water from an ecosystem can alter its ability to support important biological and chemical functions. Such changes can affect the quality of the water or the aquatic habitat and have subsequent environmental, quality of life, or economic consequences. Significant water withdrawals are those considered to have an effect on water resources and meet one or more of the following characteristics:

  1. account for an average of 5 percent or more of the mean annual flow of a given water body,
  2. are from water bodies that are recognized by professionals to be particularly sensitive due to their relative size, function, or status as a rare, threatened, or endangered system or due to their support of a particular endangered species of plant or animal, or
  3. are from a nationally or internationally proclaimed conservation area, regardless of the rate of withdrawal.

Some water withdrawals at AEP facilities meet one or more of the above criteria and are considered to be significant (Table 4). For example, four of the facilities (Glen Lyn, Kyger Creek, Muskingum River, and Picway) withdraw more than 5 percent of the mean annual flow of their source water bodies. Ten facilities have withdrawals from water bodies that have documented populations of threatened or endangered fish or shellfish, notably, freshwater mussels. These facilities are typically hydroelectric projects that do not actually withdraw the water, but pass it through turbines as run-of-river facilities. These facilities include the Byllesby/Buck, Claytor, Leesville, Niagara, and Smith Mountain Lake hydroelectric facilities (Table 4). The Clinch River, Conesville, Glen Lyn, Muskingum River and Picway facilities are not hydroelectric projects, but are steam-electric facilities that withdraw cooling water from streams that contain either threatened and endangered freshwater mussels (Clinch River, Conesville, Glen Lyn, Muskingum River), fish (Clinch River, Picway) or withdraw water from a unique habitat (Clinch River).

The remaining category of significant water withdrawals are those made by facilities located on water-bodies that are designated as salmonid or Outstanding State Resource Waters (OSRW). These include the Berrien Springs and Buchanan hydroelectric facilities (stocked salmonid streams) and the Cook Nuclear Plant (OSRW) (Table 4).

Table 4. Significant water withdrawals by AEP facilities.

Facility Type Water Sources Reason for Significant Water Withdrawal Designation
Berrien Springs Hydro St. Joseph River Salmonid stream
Buchanan Hydro St. Joseph River Salmonid stream
Byllesby/Buck Hydro New River Green floater mussel (federally threatened) and recently state listed pistolgrip mussel (state threatened) found in New River drainage.
Claytor Hydro New River Green floater mussel (federally threatened) and recently state listed pistolgrip mussel (state threatened) found in New River drainage; Fringed mountain snail (federally endangered) historically found in the near vicinity of the Claytor Project boundary.
Clinch River Coal Clinch River River reaches adjacent to the plant are listed as federally designated critical habitat for federally endangered mussels and federally threatened fish, slender chub and yellowfin madtom.
Conesville Coal Muskingum River Superior High Quality Water designation by Ohio due to high biodiversity and presence of numerous threatened and endangered mussels.
Cook Nuclear Lake Michigan Outstanding State Resource Water
Glen Lyn Coal New River >5% of mean flow; Green floater mussel (federally threatened) and recently state listed pistolgrip mussel (state threatened) are found in New River drainage.
Kanawha River Coal Kanawha River possible threatened or endangered freshwater mussels.
Kyger Creek Coal Ohio River >5% of mean flow
Leesville Hydro Roanoke River Roanoke logperch (federally endangered fish) found in the Roanoke River drainage; the Pigg River has a relatively good population of Roanoke logperch and the river’s confluence is in Leesville Lake, between Leesville and Smith Mountain Dams.
Muskingum River Coal Muskingum River >5% of mean flow; Superior High Quality Water designation by Ohio due to high biodiversity and presence of numerous threatened and endangered mussels (threehorn wartyback, Ohio pigtoe, fawnsfoot).
Niagara Hydro Roanoke River Roanoke logperch (federally endangered fish) found in the Roanoke River drainage.
Picway Coal Scioto River >5% of mean flow, short-nosed gar (state endangered fish) found upstream of Picway, near the Big Walnut Creek confluence.
Smith Mountain Hydro Roanoke River Roanoke logperch (federally endangered fish) found in the Roanoke River drainage; the Pigg River has a relatively good population of Roanoke logperch and the river’s confluence is in Leesville Lake, between Leesville and Smith Mountain Dams.

Source Information - State water quality standard water use designations; federal and state threatened and endangered species lists; USGS 7Q10 river flow data.  NPDES permit fact sheets are also used to document 7Q10 flows.

Also see: Environment - Water Issues

2012