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Assessing mortality and injury during turbine passage for Atlantic Salmon smolts passing downstream of Mactaquac Dam using autonomous “sensor fish”

Recipient: University of New Brunswick
Approved Amount: $20,000   Year Approved: 2021

Downstream passage through turbines is a significant source of Atlantic salmon smolt mortality. However, turbine passage is often the only available downstream passage route at Mactaquac Dam. The proponent proposes to use autonomous “sensor fish” to quantify passage mortality and to better understand the physical conditions Atlantic salmon smolts experience during downstream turbine passage at Mactaquac Dam. The study will identify the precise location in the turbine where damaging forces (barotrauma, strike and shear forces) occur, and quantify how these forces differ among operating conditions (turbine power), and among approach depths. These metrics will then be compared with lab-based Atlantic salmon specific dose-response relationships to estimate mortality and injury. The results will provide information critical to the design of recovery efforts. Moreover, the results will provide essential data to inform the design of mitigations such as turbine retrofits and operational changes.

Contact:  Dr. Philip Harrison,