Effects of Hydroelectric Turbine Passage on Fish Early Life Stages

by Glenn F. Cada, Oak Ridge Natl Lab, Oak Ridge, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Waterpower '91: A New View of Hydro Resources


Turbine-passage mortality has been studied extensively for juveniles and adults of migratory fish species, but few studies have directly quantified mortality of fish eggs and larvae. An analysis of literature relating to component stresses of turbine passage (i.e., pressure changes, blade contact, and shear) indicates that mortality of early life stages of fish would be relatively low at low-head, bulb turbine installations. The shear forces and pressure regimes normally experienced are insufficient to cause high mortality rates. The probability of contact with turbine blades is related to the size of the fish; less than 5% of entrained ichthyoplankton would be killed by the blades in a bulb turbine. Other sources of mortality (e.g., cavitation and entrainment of fish acclimated to deep water) are controlled by operation of the facility and thus are mitigable. Because turbine-passage mortality among fish early life stages can be very difficult to estimate directly, it may be more fruitful to base the need for mitigation at any given site on detailed knowledge of turbine characteristics and the susceptibility of the fish community to entrainment.

Subject Headings: Fish and fishery management | Turbines | Entrainment | Hydro power | Stress analysis | Shear forces | Probability

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