Turbine-Related Fish Mortality: Review and Evaluation of Studies

Publication Date





anadromous fish, cavitation, descaling, entrainment, fish mortality, fish movement, fish passage, fish protection, injuries, model studies, mortality, prototype, shear, tailwater level, turbine mortality, turbine passage, turbines, wicket gate, design

Report number

EPRI AP-5480

Publication place

Palo Alto, CA


Electric Power Research Institute


The purpose of this project is to collect, list, and review past studies of turbine-related fish mortality and from the review qualify evaluation findings and their implications in fish passage improvement. Publications describing such studies were obtained from all known sources. Included were 64 reports of turbine passage investigations at specific sites. Thirty-six papers reviewing turbine mortality aspects in general, but not of individual plants, were also studied, as were 56 study reports of subjects related to turbine mortality, such as turbine design, cavitation, gas supersaturation, pressure, descaling, and shear. Annotated bibliographies for these three groups are provided, as is a glossary of terms used in this work. Hydraulic turbines are described with particular reference to routes of fish through them in relation to assumed zones of fish damage. Methods and purposes of assessing such damage as well as factors affecting accuracy are discussed. Detailed critiques of the turbine passage studies examined include reasons for the studies, types of studies, methods, execution, and results. Factors which may have modified the studies are discussed. Comparisons of turbine operational and design characteristics with mortalities in prototypes found new good cause-effect relationships. The only relatively clear linkage with mortality was that of peripheral runner speed in the case of Francis units. Turbine model studies indicate influences of tailwater level, cavitation, wicket gate opening, and speed at which fish strike turbine blades. injury types do not provide clear evidence of their source. Conjecture can be made concerning several factors, but concrete evidence is limited, because fish movement through turbines cannot be visually observed. http://www.epri.com

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