Investigation of Snake Island Fishway at Little Falls Dam, Potomac River Maryland - Virginia


P J. Dalley




anadromous fish, design, fish passage, fish population, guidance, Little Falls Dam, Potomac River, restoration, spawning, upstream, Virginia


The Snake Island Fishway was completed twenty-one years ago in the fall of 1959, along with the Little Falls Dam projects which was constructed to divert water from the Potomac River to the Washington aqueduct system. According to Special Scientific Report Fisheries no. 565 no anadromous fish passed through the fishway during the four seasons of its operation (1960-1963). Therefore, the operation and maintenance of the fishway was abandoned. Now, in recent years, the severe decline in numbers of anadromous fish in the Potomac and plans to divert more water from the river for municipal use (which may have an adverse impact on the remaining fish population) has renewed interest in fish passage facilities to allow the fish to utilize the historic spawning and rearing area upstream of Little Falls Dam. Design and operation of the Snake Island Fishway has been reviewed. Conditions of the dams and fishway as they are today (1980) have been observed. Recommendations based on the review, observations, and the present knowledge regarding fish passage facilities are made for guidance in the anadromous fish restoration effort above Little Falls Dam.

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