Protection and guidance of downstream moving fish with horizontal bar rack bypass systems

Ecol Eng. 2022 May:178:None. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoleng.2022.106584.


During their life cycle, fish carry out distinct movements within rivers and migrate upstream and downstream to reproduce, to feed, and to shelter in refuge habitats. During downstream movements, they can incur severe injuries that may be lethal directly or indirectly over time when passing through hydropower plants or when being entrained at other water intakes. Horizontal bar rack bypass systems are a state-of-the-art technology to protect and guide downstream moving fish towards a reasonably safe corridor around water intakes. They have been in operation at multiple hydropower plants for more than a decade, but only little is known about the potential fish protection and guidance efficiencies and the fine scale reactions of different fish species when encountering such racks. To resolve this, systematic live fish laboratory tests were conducted under various hydraulic conditions involving a diverse assemblage of riverine fish species differing in their swimming behavior and morphology. Six riverine species, namely spirlin (Alburnoides bipunctatus), barbel (Barbus barbus), nase (Chondrostoma nasus), brown trout (Salmo trutta fario), Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), and European eel (Anguilla anguilla) were tested with a rack consisting of foil-shaped bars, clear bar spacings of 15 and 20 mm, a horizontal rack angle of 30° to the flow direction, and a full depth open channel bypass. Variations in fish behavior were observed between different species and hydraulic conditions, but the results suggest that the guidance and protection efficiencies primarily depend on the ratio of the fish width to the clear bar spacing. Larger fish were well protected by the horizontal bar rack, while smaller fish frequently passed through the rack. New equations are proposed to estimate the protection and guidance efficiencies as a function of the clear bar spacing and the fish species' biometry, which is highly relevant to assess the effect of horizontal bar racks as fish protection measures prior to installation.

Keywords: Bypass system; CBR, curved-bar rack; FGE, fish guidance efficiency; FPE, fish protection efficiency; Fish guidance efficiency; Fish migration; Fish passage; GLM, generalized linear model; HBR, horizontal bar rack; HBR-BS, horizontal bar rack bypass systems; HPP, hydropower plant; Horizontal bar rack; Movement ecology.