Effectiveness of a Redesigned Water Diversion Using Rock Vortex Weirs to Enhance Longitudinal Connectivity for Small Salmonids

Publication Date



canal, chinook, coho, diversion, fish passage, irrigation, irrigation canal, juvenile, longitudinal connectivity, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, PIT tag, rainbow trout, restoration, salmon, salmonids, steelhead, transponder, trout, upstream, upstream passage, vortex, weir

Journal or Book Title

North American Journal of Fisheries Management


For nearly 100 years, water diversions have affected fish passage in Beaver Creek, a tributary of the lower Methow River in north-central Washington State. From 2000 to 2004, four dam-style water diversions were replaced with a series of rock vortex weirs (RVWs). The weirs were designed to allow fish passage while maintaining the ability to divert water into irrigation canals. We observed the new appearance of three species (juvenile Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, juvenile coho salmon O. kisutch, and mountain whitefish Prosopium williamsoni) upstream of the RVWs, indicating successful restoration of longitudinal connectivity. We used passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags and instream PIT tag interrogation systems during 2004-2007 to evaluate upstream passage of small salmonids (<240 mm fork length) through one series of RVWs. We documented 109 upstream passage events by small salmonids through the series of RVWs; most of the events (81%) involved passage of rainbow trout O. mykiss or juvenile steelhead (anadromous rainbow trout). Small rainbow trout or steelhead ranging from 86 to 238 mm (adjusted fork length) were able to pass upstream through the RVWs, although a delay in fish passage at discharges below 0.32 m(3)/s was detected in comparison with nearby control sections







This document is currently not available here.