Field-Based Evaluations of Horizontal Flat-Plate Fish Screens

Publication Date



approach velocity, diversion, fish passage, fish screen, horizontal, hydraulic criteria, injuries, rainbow trout, screens, streams, survival, trout

Journal or Book Title

North American Journal of Fisheries Management


Diversions from streams are often screened to prevent the loss of or injury to fish. Hydraulic criteria meant to protect fish that encounter screens have been developed, but primarily for screens that are vertical to the water flow rather than horizontal. For this reason, we measured selected hydraulic variables and released wild rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss over two types of horizontal flat-plate fish screens in the field. Our goal was to assess the efficacy of these screens under a variety of conditions in the field and provide information that could be used to develop criteria for safe fish passage. We evaluated three different inverted-weir screens over a range of strewn (0.24-1.77 m(3)/s) and diversion flows (0.10-0.31 m(3)/s). Approach velocities (AVs) ranged from 3 to 8 cm/s and sweeping velocities (SVs) from 69 to 143 cm/s. We also evaluated a simple backwatered screen over stream flows of 0.23-0.79 m(3)/s and diversion flows of 0.08-0.32 m(3)/s. The mean SVs for this screen ranged from 15 to 66 cm/s and the mean AVs from 1 to 5 cm/s. The survival rates of fish held for 24 h after passage over these screens exceeded 98%. Overall, the number of fish-screen contacts was low and the injuries related to passage were infrequent and consisted primarily of minor fin injuries. Our results indicate that screens of this type have great potential as safe and effective fish screens for small diversions. Care must be taken, however, to avoid operating conditions that produce shallow or no water over the screen surface, situations of high AVs and low SVs at backwatered screens, and situations producing a localized high AV with spiraling flow







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