January 1, 2017
Journal Article

Evaluation of Boundary Dam Spillway Using an Autonomous Sensor Fish Device


Fish passage conditions over spillways are important for the operations of hydroelectric dams because spillways are usually considered as a common alternative passage route to divert fish from the turbines. The objectives of this study were to determine the relative potential of fish injury during spillway passage both before and after the installation of baffle blocks at Boundary Dam, and to provide validation data for a model being used to predict total dissolved gas levels. Sensor Fish were deployed through a release system mounted on the face of the dam in the forebay. Three treatments, based on the lateral position on the spillway, were evaluated for both the baseline and post-modification evaluations: Left Middle, Right Middle, and Right. No significant acceleration events were detected in the forebay, gate, or transition regions for any release location; events were only observed on the chute and in the tailrace. Baseline acceleration events observed in the chute region were all classified as strikes, whereas post-modification events included strike and shear on the chute. While the addition of baffle blocks increased the number of significant events observed on the spillway chute, overall fewer events were observed in the tailrace post-modification. Analysis of lateral positioning of passage indicated that the Right Middle treatment was potentially less injurious to fish based on relative frequency of significant events at each location. The construction of baffle blocks on the spillway visibly changed the flow regime. Prior to installation the flow jet was relatively thin, impacting the tailrace as a coherent stream that plunged deeply, possibly contributing to total dissolved gas production. Following baffle block construction, the discharge jet was more fragmented, potentially disrupting the plunge depth and decreasing the time that bubbles would be at depth in the plunge pool. The results in this study support the expected performance of the modified spillway chute: the addition of the baffle blocks generally lessened the depth and impact of entry. This study provides information that can be used to help design and operate spillways for improving fish passage conditions.

Revised: January 16, 2017 | Published: January 1, 2017


Deng Z., J.P. Duncan, J.L. Arnold, T. Fu, J.J. Martinez, J. Lu, and P.S. Titzler, et al. 2017. Evaluation of Boundary Dam Spillway Using an Autonomous Sensor Fish Device. Journal of Hydro-Environment Research 14. PNNL-SA-113125. doi:10.1016/j.jher.2016.10.004