Guides for Hydropower Studies

kayaker in green kayak descending a challenging rapid

Photo - Joan Harn, NPS

The NPS Hydropower Assistance program has worked with 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.

Study Guides:

  • 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.


NPS hydropower program works closely with diverse partners across the nation who also provide guidance and resources for hydropower projects.

Last updated: October 23, 2017