Biological Response Models: Predicting Injury and Mortality of Fish During Downstream Passage through Hydropower Facilities

A team of engineers and biologists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s HydroPASSAGE project assembled 99 biological response models for exposure to blade strike, fluid shear, and rapid decompression to determine what fish may experience as they travel downstream through turbines and other hydropower structures. The models evaluated 31 different species of fish, including American shad, Chinook salmon, and American eel.

• Considerable variation in susceptibility from one species to another has been reported for exposure to blade strike, fluid shear, and rapid decompression.

• The susceptibility of a fish species to one stressor does not necessarily indicate similar susceptibility to another stressor.

• Future research related to these stressors is recommended for additional species that have different morphological traits and to determine how different environmental and physical variables may affect the occurrence or severity of response to these stressors.  

• As hydropower is continually developed to meet the evolving grid, tools with integrated biological response models, such as HBET and BioPA, will aid in the development of technologies and strategies that avoid, minimize, mitigate, or manage environmental effects.  

• American eel were found to have a high resilience to all three tested stressors. They had very low, or no, susceptibility to rapid decompression and fluid shear, therefore biological response models could not be developed. Additionally, American eel were found to be considerably resilient to blade strike when compared to the other species that have been tested.

biological response
Report Type
Technical Report