Fish Passage Feasibility Studies and Conceptual Design

Every dam or hydroelectric facility is unique and the fish passage solution developed in one location may not be applicable or cost effective for another. In order to determine the best solution for a particular fish passage challenge, many variables need to be considered relating to the environmental, engineering and policy requirements. With a comprehensive understanding of these various elements and their effects on the particular fish species of concern, dam owners can make prudent decisions that satisfy agency and conservation interests.

A Fish Passage Feasibility Study often includes biological assessments including fisheries composition, relative abundance, and spatial distribution surveys of fish in the project area, as well as an entrainment/impingement analysis. Feasibility studies normally include an evaluation of the existing site constraints by collecting engineering data, such as field dimensions, water depths, water surface elevations, historical flow data, engineering drawings of the project and other data necessary to consider the potential options for upstream or downstream fish passage, as well as physical and structural limitations that may be imposed by the existing facilities. 

Opinions of probable construction cost for proposed upstream and downstream fish passage alternatives, and conceptual drawings of each of the proposed alternatives are necessary elements of such studies. Conceptual drawings include plan views, sections, and general details of the proposed alternatives.


Fish Passage Projects