Gas Bubble Disease in Trout Below a Low Dam

by Eley P. Denson, Jr., US Bureau of Reclamation, Billings, MT, USA,
Dean D. Loomis, US Bureau of Reclamation, Billings, MT, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Waterpower '85


Research and efforts to reduce nitrogen supersaturation which is affecting trout in the Bighorn River, Montana, below Yellowtail Afterbay Dam is described. Nitrogen supersaturation can cause gas bubble disease in fish which is similar to bends in humans. Water quality parameters and the ecological effects of supersaturation are being examined. Operational and structural modifications to reduce air entrainment have reduced overall saturation levels insufficiently to eliminate effects of dissolved gas on the fish. Installing turbines and a bypass in the afterbay dam should eliminate air entrainment and supersaturation problems at most flows.

Subject Headings: Diseases | Dams | Dissolved gases | Hydro power | Nitrogen | Water quality | Fish management | Rivers and streams | Montana | United States

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