Throughout many areas of their native range, American shad () and other Alosine populations are in decline. Though several conditions have influenced these declines, hydropower facilities have had significant negative effects on American shad populations. Hydropower facilities expose ocean-migrating American shad to physical stressors during passage through hydropower facilities, including strike, rapid decompression, and fluid shear. In this laboratory-based study, juvenile American shad were exposed separately to rapid decompression and fluid shear to determine their susceptibility to these stressors and develop dose–response models. These dose–response relationships can help guide the development and/or operation of hydropower turbines and facilities to reduce the negative effects to American shad. Relative to other species, juvenile American shad have a high susceptibility to both rapid decompression and fluid shear. Reducing or preventing exposure to these stressors at hydropower facilities may be a potential method to assist in the effort to restore American shad populations.
Author: Pflugrath BD, et al. 2020
Funding: U.S. Department of Energy's Water Power Technologies Office