New tool for the safe passage of fish through hydroelectric dams

More than 80% of the world’s renewable electricity comes from hydropower generated from dams, but these dams impede upriver passage of fish, and potentially damage fish migrating downstream that pass through turbines or over slipways. A new toolset has now been developed that can better estimate injury and death rates from fish passing downstream, using the data from artificial “sensor fish” that mimic the passage of fish through turbines and slipways while collecting high-resolution data. The new tool allows users to design new studies and analyse the data from sensor fish using statistically rigorous methods, and will help future design and current operation of hydropower dams so that their impacts on fish can be reduced. A paper describing the new tool, by Hongfei Hou and coauthors including SAFS professor John Skalski and SAFS research consultant Richard Townsend, appears in a recent issue of the journal Energies.

A recent version of the “sensor fish”. Newer iterations have been less fish-like and more sensor like. Photo: PNNL
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