Oral Presentation International Conference on River Connectivity (Fish Passage 2018)

Behavioural guidance of outmigrating eels in a large river system (#8)

Thomas Pratt 1 , Jean Caumartin 2 , Daniel Hatin 3 , Paul Jacobson 4 , Steven Lapan 5 , Alastair Mathers 6 , Scott Schlueter 7 , David Stanley 8 , Andrew Weinstock 9
  1. Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Sault Ste Marie, ONTARIO, Canada
  2. Hydro-Québec, Montréal , Québec, Canada
  3. Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs, Montréal, Québec, Canada
  4. Electric Power Research Institute, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America
  5. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Cape Vincent, New York, United States of America
  6. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Picton, Ontario, Canada
  7. United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Cortland, New York, United States of America
  8. Ontario Power Generation, Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada
  9. New York Power Authority, White Plains, New York, United States of America

Finding solutions for safe downstream passage for outmigrating eels on large river systems where the only passage route available is through hydroelectric facilities has proven extremely challenging. American eels outmigrating from the North American Great Lakes must pass through two such facilities, resulting in ~40% mortality annually on a portion of the population where recruitment has declined by >99% over the past 3 decades. A bi-national, collaborative effort of industry and government agencies to develop techniques for guiding and capturing eels above the hydroelectric facilities to reduce turbine mortality is ongoing since 2013. The collaborative, named the Eel Passage Research Center, has used a phased approach of developing white papers to inform the selection of guidance technologies most likely to meet management objectives, assessing those technologies (light, flow, electricity, sound (vibration), and electromagnetic field) at a variety of spatial scales, and assessing in situ migration pathways at likely collection areas above the two hydroelectric facilities. Light, and possibly sound (vibration), are now being considered in the construction a prototype guidance system that is expected to be deployed in 2020.