Can behavioral fish-guidance devices protect juvenile Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) from entrainment into unscreened water-diversion pipes?

Mussen T. D., Patton O., Cocherell D., Ercan A., Bandeh H., Kavvas M. L., ...More

CANADIAN JOURNAL OF FISHERIES AND AQUATIC SCIENCES, vol.71, no.8, pp.1209-1219, 2014 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier


Entrainment through water-diversion structures is a major passage challenge for fishes in watersheds worldwide. Behavioral guidance devices may be effective in passing fish by diversion inlets, thereby decreasing entrainment without reducing water-diversion rates, but data on their effectiveness is limited. In California's central valley, out-migrating Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) are a species at risk for entrainment through unscreened, small-scale water-diversion pipes. Therefore, we tested entrainment susceptibility and behavior of juvenile Chinook salmon in a large-river-simulation flume at a "river" velocity of 0.15 m.s(-1) with a 0.46 m diameter pipe diverting water at 0.57 m(3).s(-1), during the day and night. Compared with control conditions (no fish deterrent devices present), mean fish entrainment increased by 61% (day) and 43% (night) when underwater strobe lights were active, decreased by 30% when using a metal vibrating (12 Hz) ring during the night, and was unaffected by velocity cap attachments. Fish entrainments started at water velocities of 0.8 m.s(-1) and decreased by 54% from spring to summer, possibly resulting from decreased pipe-passage frequency and smaller fish-school sizes. Our findings suggest that substantial entrainment can occur if fish repeatedly pass within 1.5 m of active unscreened diversions, with an estimated 50% of fish lost after encountering 18 pipes in spring and 50 pipes in summer.