Hydropower Resources

Diablo dam in North Cascades NP
Diablo dam in North Cascades National Park
Photo - Jessica Egan

The National Park Service (NPS) Hydropower Assistance program has worked with several partner organizations to develop guidance for understanding issues and evaluating impacts on resources. These reference guides can be used by NPS Hydropower assistance staff and other stakeholders to prepare study requests and develop license recommendations.


  • Flows and Aesthetics: A Guide to Concepts and Methods” (2017) provides a common framework for requesting, designing, or reviewing flow-aesthetics studies, and reviews specific methods for conducting those studies in a hydropower licensing or water adjudication proceedings to protect aesthetics values of rivers.

  • Flows and Recreation: A Guide to Studies for River Professionals” (2005) This guide is intended to facilitate decision-making to define flows for recreation on regulated rivers. It uses many pictures to describe a framework and methodologies for assessing flows for recreational use that are presented in the 1993 publication described below:

  • Hydrokinetic Energy Projects and Recreation: A Guide to Assessing Impacts” (2010) “Hydrokinetic Energy Projects” refers to technologies that generate electricity from waves, tides, and ocean or river currents. These emerging technologies may become an important energy source, but like any technology they may affect other public resources such as fisheries, wildlife, and recreation. This paper provides guidance on how to study recreation impacts and consider ways to minimize adverse ones. It is designed for staff from utilities/developers and state and federal agencies involved in assessing hydrokinetic impacts, as well as interested stakeholders who want to be “critical consumers” of studies.

Last updated: August 20, 2020