1st system detecting fish rushing with water through spillway at federal dams

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1st system detecting fish rushing with water through spillway at federal dams

Postby WB Staff » Sat Jan 04, 2020 4:16 pm

1st system detecting fish rushing with water through spillway at federal dams.jpg


NEW FISH DETECTION SYSTEM AT LOWER GRANITE DAM TRACKS PIT-TAGGED JUVENILE SALMON/STEELHEAD THROUGH SPILLWAYS

The most powerful low-frequency PIT tag detection system in the world was installed last month at Lower Granite Dam — the first system capable of detecting fish rushing with water through the spillway at one of the federal dams.

The technological challenge was to embed low-frequency antennas in the concrete spillway of Lower Granite Dam to detect tiny electronic tags in juvenile salmon and steelhead passing by in water rushing roughly 50 miles an hour.

The antenna had to energize each tag, slightly larger than a grain of rice. This signals the tag to send back its data within about 30 milliseconds. That’s three times faster than the blink of an eye.

“That is worlds beyond anything that has been done before,” said Steve Anglea, Director of Technical Services at Biomark, a Boise, Idaho, company that designs systems to track fish and wildlife using passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags. They are the same kind of tags used to identify lost pets.

The tags have made it possible to track individual fish through federal dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers, allowing agencies to monitor the survival of threatened and endangered stocks.

That has helped reveal where improvements could help boost their survival. Increasing spill of water at the dams in recent years to speed juvenile fish downstream has carried more fish through spillways, making it increasingly important to track fish through that route.

Biomark staff,working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and NOAA Fisheries, last month oversaw the installation of the system.

“We have pushed the technology to a point that would not have been possible only a few years ago,” said Gabriel Brooks of NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center, who has led development of the system. He noted that the new antenna system has had spinoff technology benefits that have improved detection of tags by other systems such as one at Bonneville Dam.

The Bonneville Power Administration and the Corps, which owns and operates Lower Granite Dam, funded development and installation of the $7 million system. The technology was developed and tested by Biomark, NOAA Fisheries, and the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission.

“We all have an interest in understanding how fish move through the system and how we can make changes to assist them on their migration,” said Scott Bettin, fisheries biologist at BPA.

Tracking fish through the Lower Granite spillway could more than double the roughly 30 percent of fish detected going through the dam’s bypass system, the other main route through the dam. Improvements have greatly reduced the number of fish passing through turbines.

“Having information on fish passing through spill and bypass systems will help us answer questions about downstream survival and smolt-to-adult-returns of fish passing through the different routes,” said James Faulkner, research statistician at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center, who tracks survival of fish through the dams each year. “The picture will be clearer.”

The low frequency antennas are built out of enormous coils of wire. Each wire itself is made up of 2,000 strands of even thinner wire that together measure the width of a pencil. The many strands help produce a more powerful electromagnetic field that can reach through seven inches of concrete and several feet of water rushing over the spillway.

Full story: https://www.cbbulletin.com/new-fish-det ... spillways/

mark poulson
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Re: 1st system detecting fish rushing with water through spillway at federal dams

Postby mark poulson » Sun Jan 05, 2020 5:24 pm

Why can't they use the same chips to track what species is actually eating those smolts, and having the most impact on their survival?
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tarpon19
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Re: 1st system detecting fish rushing with water through spillway at federal dams

Postby tarpon19 » Mon Jan 06, 2020 6:58 am

Interesting for sure. Thanks for the post.

WB Staff
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Re: 1st system detecting fish rushing with water through spillway at federal dams

Postby WB Staff » Mon Jan 06, 2020 9:27 pm

@tarpon

Glad you enjoyed. Sometimes we are just amazed at the things we read or see about our fisheries (good, bad or ugly). It's good to hear feedback and see the discussions on the subjects.


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