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Fish Passage Research

Started: March, 2015 End Date: January, 2019 Project ID #4W5348 Status: Ongoing

Objective

The purpose of this research project is to increase knowledge and understanding of factors influencing the design and operation of fish passages to improve landscape connectivity, which has been fragmented by instream physical barriers to fish movement.

Abstract

Our nation’s waterways are obstructed by an estimated 2.5 million barriers to fish passage. Research activities and on-the-ground projects in the aquatic barrier arena often involve assessing structures to determine their barrier status, designing improved passage around or through barriers, and studying the effects of barriers on fish and their habitats.  Many of these projects require synthesizing hydraulic conditions or hydraulic modeling results with measures of fish swimming behavior and capabilities.  The design and analysis of many in-stream structures, such as weirs, low-head dams, fishways, fish barriers and others, also require that hydraulic computations are combined with measures of fish behavior and swimming performance.  The purpose of this research project, and the overall research program, is to increase knowledge and understanding of factors influencing the design and operation of fish passages to improve landscape connectivity, which has been fragmented by instream physical barriers to fish movement. This research will be part of a cooperative arrangement between the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, Bozeman Fish Technology Center (BFTC) and Montana State University (MSU), College of Engineering, Department of Civil Engineering, Western Transportation Institute (WTI) to better integrate the applied theories and practices of fish biology/ecology with those of civil engineering in the areas of hydraulics and hydrology to enhance the BFTC’s fish passage research program. The goal of this cooperative research program is to strengthen and advance collaborations and fully utilize and expand the expertise and capabilities of both institutions to increase knowledge and understanding of factors influencing the design and operation of fish passages to improve landscape connectivity, which has been fragmented by instream physical barriers to fish movement.  The substantial scientific, wet-laboratory (including an open-channel flume, swim chambers, and an artificial stream), and analytical resources of the BFTC coupled with the expertise of scientists and engineers from MSU’s Department of Civil Engineering, WTI, provides the opportunity to enhance the BFTC’s fish passage research program, while increasing the collaborative involvement by MSU faculty and students in that area of applied research. The research team's activities will include conducting fish passage experiments and providing scientific, engineering expertise in planning, experiment design, implementation, and sampling of collaborative fish passage research projects.

Contacts

Sponsors & Partners

  • U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) Sponsor

Part of: Road Ecology, Aquatics

Project Tagged In: fish passage, wildlife connectivity, fish habitats

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