Information to Help Design Better Fishways and Overcome Fish Migration Barriers

Science Center Objects

By Vivian Nolan

Fishways exist to provide river connectivity and facilitate fish passage beyond barriers. In rivers with dams, fish passage via fishways is essential to provide fish access to spawning, nursery, and feeding grounds. Many factors can affect fish passage efficiency through a fishway, including temperature, discharge, velocity, and swimming endurance. A USGS study was conducted to examine how temperature and energetic state affect swimming performance of American shad. Results indicate that American shad motivation and swimming endurance changes over the course of the migration as conditions change, potentially limiting their ability to pass barriers. Because rivers seem to be warming due to climate change and anthropogenic inputs, understanding how this affects swimming performance will help managers with fishway design and similar passage problems.

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