Clean Currents 2022

Fish and Habitat Protection and Management

Presentations are:

— Rainbow Trout Passage Through Restoration Hydro Turbines at Different Size Scales, presented by Sterling Watson, Natel Energy

— Aquatic Gas Optimization: Novel Solutions to Improve the Efficiency and Environmental Performance of Hydropower, presented by Jake Cryer, Merck Animal Health

— Biological Requirements Leading Upstream Fish Passage Selection at BC Hydro Site C Dam in British Columbia, Canada, presented by Vincent Autier, McMillen Jacobs Associates

Details about each presentation and the speakers are below.

Rainbow Trout Passage Through Restoration Hydro Turbines at Different Size Scales, presented by Sterling Watson, Natel Energy

Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) are a commonly used representative species for evaluating injury and mortality risks faced by salmonids at hydropower facilities, and have been an important test species aiding the development of the Restoration Hydro Turbine (RHT) product family. From laboratory blade strike testing, to small-scale 0.55 m diameter turbine passage testing with juvenile fish, to large-scale 1.9 m diameter turbine passage testing with fully-grown adult trout, we will share the results of our rainbow trout studies and also discuss the scaling relationships that drive turbine passage survival outcomes.

A clear understanding of the factors that affect strike survival for salmonids of a given size, as well as the characteristics of the turbine that they pass through, can inform turbine and hydropower project design to maximize safe and expedient downstream passage at hydropower sites. Understanding of the scaling behavior of turbine passage risks is useful to turbine designers, enabling them to maximize the economic attractiveness of fish-safe hydro solutions, and is also useful to decision-makers, reducing the need for case-by-case assessments.

Aquatic Gas Optimization: Novel Solutions to Improve the Efficiency and Environmental Performance of Hydropower, presented by Jake Cryer, Merck Animal Health

More than half of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) new licenses (relicenses) for hydropower projects over the past decade required new construction, primarily related to environmental (fish passage, operational efficiency) and recreational improvements. Furthermore, the U.S. Water Power Technologies Office identifies environmental monitoring and mitigation as key focus areas to improve the sustainability of hydropower.

To address this, we developed a solution to optimize environmental conditions for fish, improve operational efficiency, and monitor environmental performance of hydropower. Hyper InfusiO2n solutions leverage novel infusion technology to remove nitrogen and other dissolved gases in exchange for dissolved oxygen (DO) at a one-to-one rate. Infusion delivers DO that is immediately available for aquatic respiration without significantly altering total gas pressure. Consequently, DO stability is substantially improved which, in combination with industry leading transfer efficiency, results in improved in operational efficiency, especially in turbulent and warm water environments.

In one case study, dissolved oxygen was injected at the top of a fish ladder and at three subsequent chambers, elevating DO up to 120% in the ladder. Following installation, passage survival increased more than tenfold, and fish condition was noticeably improved. Oxygen injection at the ladder entrance created a downstream plume of elevated DO, demonstrated to improve attraction, allowing the site to reduce attraction flow. The addition of strategically placed Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) antennas throughout a ladder can then monitor passage metrics and seamlessly deliver operational and environmental performance metrics in one integrated dashboard.

Together, these tools form a comprehensive solution for improved environmental mitigation and monitoring, bridging the gap between healthy fish populations and hydropower sustainability.

Biological Requirements Leading Upstream Fish Passage Selection at BC Hydro Site C Dam in British Columbia, Canada, presented by Vincent Autier, McMillen Jacobs Associates

As part of BC Hydro’s planning process for the construction of a third hydroelectric project on the Peace River in northeast British Columbia, Canada (Site C Clean Energy Project), BC Hydro identified the need for fish passage because many species migrate past the dam. After the channelization phase of construction, the entire Peace River discharge has been diverted through two left abutment tunnels during the powerhouse, spillway, and earthfill dam construction phase. A temporary upstream “trap-and-haul” facility now operates during this period for the purpose of providing interim upstream fish passage and gaining insight to improve design of a permanent trap-and-haul facility.

The permanent facility will provide upstream fish passage as soon as the diversion period is discontinued. Bull Trout completing their upstream spawning migration are the primary target species for upstream passage in addition to Arctic Grayling, Mountain Whitefish, and Rainbow Trout.

The presentation includes an overview of the upstream fish passage options with emphasis on the trap-and-haul selection. The talk will also provide the reasoning behind the decision to: 1) not utilize volitional passage at this site (i.e. vertical rise, and need for sorting and monitoring), 2) locate the facility, and 3) select the amount of attraction flow.

The presentation will also cover how the biological requirements such as fish swimming energetics and behavior. The audience will become aware of the critical importance of “marrying” both biological and engineering design criteria.

Presenter Information

Jim Downing

Jim Downing
Director
Kearns & West
Moderator


Sterling Watson

Sterling Watson
Senior Mechanical Engineer
Natel Energy, Inc.
Presenter


Jake Cryer

Jake Cryer
AGO Sales Lead
Merck Animal Health, North America Aqua
Presenter


Vincent Autier

Vincent Autier
Civil Discipline Lead
McMillen Jacobs Associates
Presenter