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Champlain Hudson Power Express Environmental Testing

The Champlain Hudson Power Express will bring up to 1,000 megawatts of clean, clean wind and hydro power to New York. Transmission Developers Inc (TDI) is committed to doing this in the most environmentally responsible manner. To ensure this project has minimal impact on its surroundings, TDI is conducting a thorough environmental examination of the proposed route.

This detailed, route-specific marine survey will provide TDI with information that will be used to refine the proposed project route, prepare environmental permit applications and plan the construction of this new power line. It will also ensure that the line has a minimal impact on its surrounding environment.

Testing began in April 2010 and will run through June. The following video was shot on Lake Champlain and shows environmental scientists and geologists conducting the scientific tests that will guide the development process.

Testing in Action

TDI’s environmental scientists and geologists obtain site-specific information along the proposed project route. This is done as a part of a plan that was developed in consultation with New York, Connecticut, and Federal regulatory agencies. The survey information will be used to describe site-specific conditions, prepare environmental assessments and develop the preliminary engineering and design details of the proposed submarine cable route -- including cable location and depth.

In addition, TDI is sharing the scientific data gathered during this testing with numerous environmental organizations dedicated to the preservation and improvement of Lake Champlain and the Hudson River. These groups include Riverkeeper, Beacon Institute and Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. The information gathered will further existing knowledge of these ecosystems.

This testing consists of the following surveys:
  • Geophysical Survey (bathymetry, side scan sonar, magnetometer and sub-bottom);
  • Sediment Survey; and
  • Benthic Macroinvertebrate Survey.

Additional field work is being done to examine what, if any, impact the project will have on wetland areas as well as noise, and visual impacts. We encourage you to check this site for more information on environmental testing that will be done as the project is developed.

The Geophysical Survey

Before the cable is placed in the water, geophysical surveys will be used to study and investigate the existing features at the bottom the lakes, rivers and canals along the proposed cable route. This is done using multi-beam bathymetry, side scan sonar, magnetometer and sub-bottom profile surveys.

Sediment Survey

Studying the sediment at the lake and river bottom will provide TDI with two basic types of information:
  1. The physical characteristics of the sediments. This will influence the proposed installation technique for the cable as well as help refine the cable engineering and design
  2. The chemical characteristics of the sediments, specifically the presence of chemical contamination.
Sediment samples will be collected using a vessel-mounted vibracoring system capable of collecting core samples up to 20 feet in depth. The depth of sediment that is being tested varies depending on the cable burial depth. Sediment cores are required to be as deep as the proposed installation depth, plus one foot.

Benthic Macroinvertebrate Survey

Benthic invertebrate communities are groups of organisms that live in or on the bottom of rivers, streams, and lakes. They are an integral part of the marine ecosystem and consist of a wide array of micro and macro-organisms. These organisms, such as shellfish, live on the sediment or burrow below it. The benthic sampling program TDI is now doing will augment existing data and will assess the potential impacts associated with the installation of the submarine transmission cable.

Samples will be analyzed for species composition and abundance, with organisms being identified to the lowest practical level when not to the species level.