Little River Project
The Waterbury Dam, owned by Green Mountain Power (GMP), was originally constructed as a flood control project on the Little River after the 1927 flood. The dam also generates electricity as a peaking project and the terms of GMPs current operating license has levied significant ecological damage to both the river and the Waterbury Reservoir that is impounded by the dam.
The GMP license to operate the dam is currently under review at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and it will ultimately require a water quality certificate from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). VNRC is currently reviewing an Environmental Assessment for the project issued by FERC and will monitor GMP’s effort to obtain state approval to operate the dam in compliance with Vermont’s Water Quality Standards.
Under current operation, both the river and the reservoir are subject to significant fluctuations in water level. During a single 24 hour period the discharge below the impoundment can jump to over 1,000 cubic feet per second, and then be shut off to a trickle, mostly from seepage. Many believe that the Little River has the potential to be one of the best tailwater fisheries in the state, but it will require significant alterations to the current operating procedures to make such improvements.