Fish Protection at Water Intakes Using a New Signal Development Process and Sound System

by P. H. Loeffelman, American Electric Power Service Corp, Columbus, United States,
D. A. Klinect, American Electric Power Service Corp, Columbus, United States,
J. H. Van Hassel, American Electric Power Service Corp, Columbus, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

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


American Electric Power Company, Inc., is exploring the feasibility of using a patented signal development process and sound system to guide aquatic animals with underwater sound. Sounds from animals such as chinook salmon, steelhead trout, striped bass, freshwater drum, largemouth bass, and gizzard shad can be used to synthesize a new signal to stimulate the animal in the most sensitive portion of its hearing range. AEP's field tests during its research demonstrate that adult chinook salmon, steelhead trout and warmwater fish, and steelhead trout and chinook salmon smolts can be repelled with a properly-tuned system. The signal development process and sound system is designed to be transportable and use animals at the site to incorporate site-specific factors known to affect underwater sound, e.g., bottom shape and type, water current, and temperature. Because the overall goal of this research was to determine the feasibility of using sound to divert fish, it was essential that the approach use a signal development process which could be customized to animals and site conditions at any plant site. The results of this four-year research program indicate that the sound signal development process and sound system equipment will divert warm and coldwater fish in spite of normal environmental stimuli such as water temperature, sunrise, and sunset. The guidance system has shown high diversion rates and 100% survival of diverted fish during field trials. This biological effectiveness should be compared to the effectiveness of other mitigation options considered for plants. The high diversion rates and potential for reduced costs for installing, operating, and maintaining a sound system compared to costs for physical screens or other mitigation are encouraging for further evaluation. During the research, the temporarily-installed sound system was easy to retrofit, reliable, and easy to maintain. The system was programmed to generate a signal customized for single or multiple target species.

Subject Headings: Water intakes | Steel | Field tests | Fish management | Water use | Signal processing | Electric power | Feasibility studies

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