Juvenile alewife, 2021

Study Overview
Scientific partner:
Kleinschmidt Associates
Juvenile alewife
Fish length:
87-132 mm (3-5 in)
RHT runner:
0.55 m (1.8 ft) diameter
7 m (23 ft) head
Rotational speed:
541 rpm, 15.6 m/s
Turbine-passed fish:
Control fish:
98.2-100% immediate and 48h survival of turbine-passed fish

Alosines (shad and river herrings) are an important and highly sensitive group of migratory fish species affected by hydropower and river fragmentation in eastern North America. In September of 2021, Natel evaluated juvenile alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus, a type of river herring) passage survival through a 0.55 m (1.8 ft) RHT at Freedom Falls, Maine, with assistance from Kleinschmidt Associates.

We collected locally downstream migrating juveniles, passed them through the turbine in groups, and collected them at the outlet with a specialized trap. We captured turbine passage with high-speed video and compared turbine passage survival rates with control group survival. This work is summarized in our peer-reviewed paper "Juvenile Alewife Passage through a Compact Hydropower Turbine Designed for Fish Safety," published by North American Journal of Fisheries Management in 2023.