News & Bulletins

Hawkinsville Dam Natural Resources and Wetland Assessment Scheduled to begin November 11

The Hudson River – Black River Regulating District and its consultant engineering firm for this project, Kleinschmidt, are completing an evaluation of the Hawkinsville Dam. This evaluation will examine and compare two alternatives proposed to bring the dam into compliance with state dam safety regulations. The evaluation will explore both remediation/repair and removal of the dam and spillway. To further the objectives of the evaluation, a natural resources/wetland assessment, field work, and data gathering will need to occur. Kleinschmidt’s team of engineers will be conducting topographic, bathymetric, and wetland surveys beginning the week of November 11. The following link will take you to a webpage with information regarding this project.

If you have any questions concerning this project you may contact the Regulating District’s Chief Engineer, Robert Foltan, at 518-465-3491.

Notice of Proposed Early Start of Sixth Lake Reservoir Drawdown

The Hudson River – Black River Regulating District proposes to start the annual drawdown of the Sixth Lake Reservoir (Sixth Lake and Seventh Lake) on, or about September 16, 2013. This date is about three weeks earlier than the date on which the drawdown has typically started in recent years.

The Regulating District welcomes comments concerning the proposed early drawdown, as well as suggestions for alternative timing (start date and duration) of a drawdown.

An early drawdown will only be considered if there is sufficient favorable interest from the residents of Sixth and Seventh Lake.

Please forward any comments to:

Robert Foltan, P.E., Chief Engineer
Hudson River – Black River Regulating District
350 Northern Blvd.
Albany, New York 12204
518-465-3491
hrao@hrbrrd.com

The early drawdown is intended to provide residents and lake front property owners an opportunity to complete repair or construction work on waterfront structures, beaches, docks, and the shoreline.
Residents and property owners who intend to complete shoreline related work are reminded to obtain all necessary local, state, and federal permits prior to starting any work. No permit from the Regulating District is required.

The rate at which the water elevation in the reservoir will be lowered will remain relatively unchanged from historic operation, only the date on which the drawdown begins will change. Sixth Lake Reservoir will be drawdown to, and consistent with, the long-term historic average elevation by mid-October 2013. Historic average water elevations will be targeted through late November 2013. Reservoir operation and water elevations will be consistent with normal operations after November 25, 2013.

The following table may be used as a guide for determining reservoir elevation this fall.

Action Date Elevation (ft)
Drawdown Begin September 16, 2013 1785.75
October 1, 2013 1784.75
Target long term average elevations October 15 – Nov. 24, 2013 1784.1 – 1783.3
Resume normal operation November 25, 2013 1783.3

As always, the operation of the reservoir is subject to change, the need to provide flood protection and augmentation and, of course, the weather.

Revised: August 6, 2013

Recreational Users of Reservoirs Urged to Use Caution

With the onset of more seasonable temperatures, the Hudson River – Black River Regulating District reminds all recreational users of the Great Sacandaga Lake, Indian Lake, Stillwater, Sixth Lake and Old Forge river regulating reservoirs to use caution when recreating near a reservoir or when on the ice.

The elevation of each reservoir can change dramatically during the winter, creating variations in ice thickness and strength. As reservoir water levels fluctuate, and as water elevations are lowered in preparation for spring runoff, ice pressure ridges, voids, and pockets will form on the ice surface.

Changes in ice surfaces will occur as a result of the release of water during the winter. Recreational users of the reservoirs are urged to become familiar with the potential hazards and use caution when on the ice.

New Procedure for Renewal of Access Permit

Dear Access Permit Holder:

We are pleased to offer you the opportunity to renew your Access Permit for one year, beginning March 15, 2013. The Access Permit affords you and your guests the use of a segment of New York State land under the jurisdiction of the Hudson River-Black River Regulating District (the Regulating District) for access to the waters of Great Sacandaga Lake.

Please use this procedure to renew your access permit:

  • *** Sign the enclosed application and return just the white copy. Retain (keep) the yellow copy for your records. ***
  • PERSONAL signatures of all persons listed on the permit are required.
  • Show any changes of address on the application.
  • Return the total fee and white signed copy only in the return envelope provided. Make your check or money order payable to: Hudson River – Black River Regulating District or HRBRRD.
  • If you propose to make changes to the individual(s) to whom the access permit is issued, please call (518) 661-5535.

Please note that permit renewal applications must be postmarked by March 15, 2013. Note also that if renewed, your Access Permit will be in effect from the date of its renewal through March 15, 2014. If the District has not received your application postmarked by March 15, 2013 your former permit area may become available to another eligible applicant.

If you neglect to renew by March 15 and the area is still available, you may renew on or before April 15, by including an administrative fee of $20.00 in addition to the renewal fee. If you neglect to renew on or before April 15, the permit will expire; however, you may reapply for the same area, if available, upon payment of the renewal fee plus an administrative fee of $50.00. This policy was established by Resolution 93-29-6 of the Board of the Regulating District.

Please complete and return your renewal application promptly.

Sincerely,

John M. Hodgson, Sr.
Permit System Manager

Regulating District Reservoirs Prepared for Spring Runoff

Mayfield, NY and Watertown, NY – The river regulating reservoirs operated by the Hudson River – Black River Regulating District have been, and are prepared to, receive runoff which will be produced by this spring’s rainfall and melting snow. Systematic releases of stored water have readied each reservoir to capture spring runoff, consistent with our mission to regulate the flow of the Hudson River and Black River for the purposes of flood protection and flow augmentation.

Winter-time drawdown of the state’s river regulating reservoirs has occurred on schedule and as planned. The Great Sacandaga Lake was lowered according to the Upper Hudson/Sacandaga River Offer of Settlement and reached an elevation of 748.94 feet on March 5, consistent with the Offer of Settlement elevation target curve. The Stillwater Reservoir was lowered to an elevation of 1665.72 feet by March 5, consistent with its operating plan.

Great Sacandaga Lake Handles Hurricane Irene and Subsequent Tropical Events/Reduces Flooding on the Hudson

Mayfield, NY – Conklingville Dam and Great Sacandaga Lake minimized the effects of heavy rainfall associated with the remnants of Hurricane Irene, preventing flooding on the Hudson River from Hadley to Fort Edward, and reducing the severity of flooding from Fort Edward to Albany.

The Great Sacandaga Lake watershed received approximately 5.5 inches of rain from Irene causing the reservoir to rise about 3 feet. Precipitation from the storm produced sharp rises in the Sacandaga and Hudson River. Inflow to the reservoir peaked at more than 40,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) during the afternoon on August 28 and produced an average of 20,000 cfs for the day.

Without the benefit of flood protection and storage capacity at Great Sacandaga Lake, the Hudson River would have exceeded flood stage at Fort Edward by more than 5 feet. By reducing the flow in the Hudson River by at least 20,000 cfs, the flood protection benefit provided by the reservoir reduced the flood stage at Waterford, Green Island, and Troy by nearly 2 feet.

The elevation of the Great Sacandaga Lake was lowered more aggressively, consistent with the Offer of Settlement operating rules, to an elevation of 762.6 feet by the morning of August 28 in anticipation of significant inflow. Increasing the release of water from the reservoir for about four days before the storm provided an additional 700,000,000 cubic feet of storage capacity.

Great Sacandaga Lake is poised to efficiently deal with current tropical rain events following Irene. The peak elevation of the reservoir resulting from the most current rainfall is estimated to be approximately 770 feet above sea level. Release of water from Great Sacandaga Lake will begin as soon as the flow rate of the upper Hudson River allows.

The Hudson River – Black River Regulating District is a State of New York public benefit corporation which provides river regulation, including flood protection and low flow augmentation, in the Hudson and Black River watersheds through the operation of water storage reservoirs, including the Great Sacandaga Lake, Indian Lake, Stillwater Reservoir and the Fulton Chain of Lakes.

Conklingville Dam

Mayfield, NY – On Saturday, May 7, as a precautionary measure, the Hudson River – Black River Regulating District activated the Conklingville Dam Emergency Action Plan (EAP) in response to an unusual change in a measurement taken at one of the monitoring points within the dam. Beginning immediately and continuing around the clock, the Regulating District’s Engineering staff has conducted intensive, physical and visual inspections of conditions at the Conklingville Dam. The Regulating District has determined that the unusual change in measurement triggering the alert resulted from a data reading error. As a result, the emergency action plan has been deactivated.

Conklingville Dam

Mayfield, NY – On Saturday, May 7, as a precautionary measure, the Hudson River – Black River Regulating District activated the Conklingville Dam Emergency Action Plan (EAP) in response to an unusual change in a measurement taken at one of the monitoring points within the dam.

Readings taken at the monitoring point require the measurement of the water table within the dam using electronic equipment designed to sense the presence of water. The surface elevation of the water within the dam is measured with a sensor that is lowered into a 1-inch diameter pipe which extends approximately 75 feet below the surface of the dam. Consistent with the Regulating District’s dam safety plan and its procedures for monitoring during high reservoir elevation events, the frequency of measurements was expanded to include weekend monitoring.

Saturday’s unusual readings lead engineering staff to prudently activate the EAP as a precautionary measure. Condition B of the EAP is intended to notify emergency responders of a potentially hazardous situation.

Since the activation of the EAP, Regulating District engineering staff have re-evaluated and thoroughly reviewed the monitoring point data and the data collection process used by field personnel during the past week. Regulating District officials have been in contact with their geotechnical engineer and dam safety engineers from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to make a preliminary assessment of the situation. At this time engineers are focusing on the accuracy of the data and possible shifting of the monitoring equipment or reference point as the cause for the unusual change in measurement.
Regulating District engineers plan further consultation with federal dam safety officials and the project geotechnical engineer on Monday, May 9, to rule out any other possible cause for the unusual measurements. At that time, it is likely the emergency action plan will be deactivated.

Monitoring of the Condition of Conklingville Dam Continues

Mayfield, NY – The Hudson River – Black River Regulating District continues to monitor the condition of the Conklingville Dam on an hourly basis as part of its response to the unusual change in the water pressure measured Saturday afternoon at one of the monitoring points within the dam.

The unusual pressure measurement prompted the Regulating District to activate the Conklingville Dam Emergency Action Plan (EAP) at approximately 8 p.m. yesterday as a precautionary measure.

Water pressure at the monitoring point appears to have stabilized and no additional changes in the condition of the Conklingville Dam have been observed.

Failure of the dam has not occurred and there appears to be no imminent threat of failure.

An update on the condition of the dam and the status of the emergency condition is planned and will be provided to local and state emergency management officials early Sunday afternoon.

Water continues to be discharged through outlet valves and the E. J. West hydroelectric facility at Conklingville Dam in response to the emergency condition.

Regulating District engineers will consult federal dam safety officials and the project geotechnical engineer on Monday, and develop a plan to investigate the unusual condition.

Regulating District Activates Condition B of the Conklingville Dam Emergency Action Plan

Mayfield, NY – The Hudson River – Black River Regulating District has activated the Conklingville Dam Emergency Action Plan in response to an unusual change in the water pressure within the dam at Conklingville, Town of Hadley, Saratoga County.

At 8:00 pm, this evening the Regulating District declared a “Condition B” emergency. A Condition B emergency means that a potentially hazardous situation is developing. Failure of the dam has not occurred, but the Regulating District is taking action to minimize the potential for dam failure.

Notification of the emergency condition has been given to emergency management agencies in Saratoga, Washington, and Warren County, the state emergency management office, dam safety agencies, and to emergency response personnel downstream of the Conklingville Dam.

The Regulating District has maximized the release of water from Great Sacandaga Lake in response to the emergency condition.

Regulating District staff will continue conducting hourly monitoring of the condition of the Conklingville Dam until the emergency condition is no longer necessary.