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200713100 - Screening diversions for conservation of fish populations in the Columbia River Basin: entrainment losses, prioritization, and the efficacy of alternative technology designs

Sponsor: Columbia River Research Laboratory

Budgets: FY07: $407,735 | FY08: $375,200 | FY09: $338,824

Short description: This project will estimate entrainment of fishes in unscreened diversions in the CRB to help set priorities for screening. The project sponsors will also conduct hydraulic and biological evaluations of alternative technology fish screens in the field.

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Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

Recommended budgets: FY07: $0 | FY08: $0 | FY09: $0


ISRP final recommendation: Fundable (Qualified)


This proposal builds from an earlier project in the Hood River subbasin that investigated the efficacy of overshot horizontal flat plate fish screens. The problem of fish entrainment in unscreened diversions is widespread throughout the interior Columbia River Basin, and the background section provides an adequate justification for the work. It would have helped to have discussed whether entrainment problems have been observed at screened diversions using standard rotating drum or other self-cleaning screens, in order to put the evaluation of alternative screening techniques in context. Having an alternative to screens that require electricity would be cost-effective at sites where getting power to a screen is problematic. A photo or drawing of a miniaturized overshot flat panel screen would have been helpful. The proposal provides a clear rationale for the study and frames the issue in a series of questions previously applied to fish entrainment problems in California's central valley. Methods for each work element were adequately described and appropriate. The use of fluorescein dye to check for injuries of fish passing over screens was clever. The use of underwater video to document fish behavior in the vicinity of the screens was also a good idea. The ISRP emphasizes that the project shouldn't just look at the total number of fish entrained, but rather should consider the fraction of the population entrained. In a very low population, entrainment of even a few fish could be a significant problem. They should also consider spreading their study sites out a bit to get more independent information providing a wider range of response.

State/province recommendation: MS: Do Not Fund

Review group: MSRT

Recommended budgets: FY07: (n/a) | FY08: (n/a) | FY09: (n/a)

Comment: The purpose of subbasin planning was to generate priorities within subbasins for habitat improvements. The MSRT would be surprised that this is an urgent need at the local level.