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A computational fluid dynamics modeling study of guide walls for downstream fish passage

November 28, 2016

A partial-depth, impermeable guidance structure (or guide wall) for downstream fish passage is typically constructed as a series of panels attached to a floating boom and anchored across a water body (e.g. river channel, reservoir, or power canal). The downstream terminus of the wall is generally located nearby to a fish bypass structure. If guidance is successful, the fish will avoid entrainment in a dangerous intake structure (i.e. turbine intakes) while passing from the headpond to the tailwater of a hydroelectric facility through a safer passage route (i.e. the bypass). The goal of this study is to determine the combination of guide wall design parameters that will most likely increase the chance of surface-oriented fish being successfully guided to the bypass. To evaluate the flow field immediately upstream of a guide wall, a parameterized computational fluid dynamics model of an idealized power canal was constructed in © ANSYS Fluent v 14.5 (ANSYS Inc., 2012). The design parameters investigated were the angle and depth of the guide wall and the average approach velocity in the power canal. Results call attention to the importance of the downward to sweeping flow ratio and demonstrate how a change in guide wall depth and angle can affect this important hydraulic cue to out-migrating fish. The key findings indicate that a guide wall set at a small angle (15° is the minimum in this study) and deep enough such that sweeping flow dominant conditions prevail within the expected vertical distribution of fish approaching the structure will produce hydraulic conditions that are more likely to result in effective passage.