Traditional downstream guidance and bypass facilities for anadromous fishes (i.e., surface bypasses, surface guidance structures, and behavioral barriers) have frequently been ineffective for anguillid eels. Because eels typically spend the majority of their time near the bottom in the vicinity of intake structures, deep bypass structures with entrances near the bottom hold promise for increased effectiveness, thereby aiding in the recovery of this important species. A new design of a deep bypass system that uses airlift technology (the Conte Airlift Bypass) to induce flow in a bypass pipe was tested in a simulated intake entrance environment under controlled laboratory conditions. Water velocities of 0.9–1.5 m s−1 could be generated at the bypass entrance (opening with 0.073 m2 area), with corresponding flows through the bypass pipe of 0.07–0.11 m3 s−1. Gas saturation and hydrostatic pressure within the bypass pipe did not vary appreciably from a control (no air) condition under tested airflows. Migratory silver-phase American eels (Anguilla rostrata) tested during dark conditions readily located, entered, and passed through the bypass; initial avoidance rates (eels approaching but not entering the bypass entrance) were lower at higher entrance velocities. Eels that investigated the bypass pipe entrance tended to enter headfirst, but those that then exited the pipe upstream did so more frequently at lower entrance velocities. Eels appeared to swim against the flow while being transported downstream through the pipe; median transit times through the bypass for each test velocity ranged from 5.8 to 12.2 s, with transit time decreasing with increasing entrance velocity. Eels did not show strong avoidance of the vertical section of the pipe which contained injected air. No mortality or injury of bypassed eels was observed, and individual eels repeatedly passed through the bypass at rates of up to 40 passes per hour, suggesting that individuals do not avoid repeated entrainment through the bypass. Airlift technology appears to be a viable method for increasing passage effectiveness for American eels through a deep bypass system.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Passage of downstream migrant American eels through an airlift-assisted deep bypass|
|Series title||Ecological Engineering|
|Contributing office(s)||Leetown Science Center|
|Online Only (Y/N)||N|
|Additional Online Files (Y/N)||N|