Assessment of Downstream Migrant Fish Protection Technologies for Hydroelectric Application
engineering, fish protection, hydroelectric, protection, restoration
Palo Alto, CA
Electric Power Research Institute
Objectives of the study were to (1) evaluate the capability of existing or potentially effective fish protection systems to minimize the impacts of hydroelectric projects on downstream migrating fish, (2) to identify important biological and engineering criteria for successful application of fish protection systems and ascertain the extent to which these criteria limit the applicability of systems, and (3) to identify research, development, and testing needs to improve the effectiveness, reduce costs, and/or determine the applicability of the concepts which have not been fully evaluated to date. Tasks performed to meet the project objectives included: (1) An assessment of the current state-of-the-art of fish protection, (2) A comparative evaluation of these systems in terms of their optimal design/operational requirements, existing or potential biological effectiveness, engineering, and/or biological advantages and disadvantages and the need for further development and testing. (3) A comparative assessment of protection systems based on engineering, biological, and cost criteria. (4) Delineation of methods of proposed research and development studies. The assessment of fish protection systems indicated that no single protection system presently exists which is biologically effective, reliable from an engineering viewpoint, considered acceptable for general use by various fishery management agencies, and of reasonable cost. Because of the current regulatory climate, ongoing fish restoration programs, and the concern for even small fish losses, hydro applicants should work closely with regulatory agencies from early in the licensing process to determine the need for fish protection and to identify the most cost-effective system for use at a specific site.