The Upper Valley has played host to scores of pilots, scientists, and support crew since spring of this year. The crews are here to conduct some of the fifty-eight studies that are part of the preliminary licensing process for the proposed Susitna-Watana Hydroelectric Project. A late breakup in 2013 as well as access issues regarding lands owned by Alaska Native Corporations mean that some of the plans were altered, and the research schedule has been shuffled.
The proposed dam remains controversial in the Upper Susitna Valley, where many residents are concerned about what the potential impacts on the environment and their livelihoods will be.
Some area residents have expressed the opinion that the unusual ice conditions and land access issues this year indicate that the Alaska Energy Authority should take more time to complete the studies as opposed to trying to finish the remaining work in 2014. Wayne Dyok, project manager for the dam, says that AEA believes the research is still on schedule. (more…)