COLUMBUS – Due to concerns with rising fish deaths, Loup Power was granted a waiver to resume water diversion into the Loup Power Canal.
Loup Power President Neal Suess says the district was granted a temporary waiver Saturday afternoon to allow water to flow from the Loup River to the Loup Power Canal.
The release says the cease in water flow took place, because of a condition from the District’s new license order to operate the Loup hydroelectric facilities, which includes the canal and powerhouses at Columbus and Monroe.
The district says the order was issued on May 22nd by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and it requires the cease of water diversion when the temperature is 93 degrees Farenheit or higher. The temperature is measured in Louisville.
On July 12th, the US Fish and Wildlife Service requested a suspension of the conditions, but the FERC did not agree to the suspension until Monday, says a press release.
“On Saturday, the District began bypassing water flow from the canal and powerhouses, allowing all water in the Loup River to be bypassed from the canal and powerhouses, allowing water to flow down the Loup River. District officials were concerned about stagnating water in the canal and the potential for a large fish kill,” says the release.
“The District started to notice large populations of stressed fish that were beginning to die in the canal early this morning. It is too early to determine how many fish died as a result of the stagnant water and the low dissolved oxygen levels in the water,” says the release.
The district says the temporary waiver allows the district to resume normal operations, which should also prevent any larger fish kills in the Loup Canal.