Status of Fish Passage Facilities at Nonfederal Hydropower Projects
downstream fish passage, fish ladder, fish passage, guidance, hydroelectric, Hydropower, intake, intake screens, mitigation, monitoring, power plant, regulations, screens, upstream
Journal or Book Title
The status of direct mitigation practices for fish passage was assessed as part of an ongoing, multi-year study of the costs and benefits of environmental mitigation measures at nonfederal hydroelectric power plants. Information was obtained from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, hydropower developers and state and federal resource agencies involved in hydropower regulation. Fish ladders were found to be the most common means of passing fish upstream; elevators/lifts were less common, but their use appears to be increasing. A wide variety of mitigative measures, including spill flows, narrow-mesh intake screens, angled bar racks and light- or sound-based guidance measures, is employed to prevent fish from being drawn into turbine intakes. Performance monitoring and detailed, quantifiable performance criteria were frequently lacking. Fifty-two of the 66 projects (82%) with operating downstream fish passage measures had no performance monitoring requirements; 50 of 71 project operators (70%) indicated that no performance objectives had been specified for the mitigative measures. We found that comprehensive field studies needed to evaluate the effectiveness of fish passage devices have been rare.