Tolerable ranges of fluid shear for early life-stage fishes: implications for safe fish passage at hydropower and irrigation infrastructure
Egg and larval fish drifting downstream are likely to encounter river infrastructure, increasing mortality. Elevated fluid shear is one likely cause of this. To confirm this and determine tolerable levels, egg and larvae of three Australian species were exposed to elevated shear in a laboratory flume. Mortality was modelled over a broad range of strain rates, allowing critical thresholds to be estimated. Eggs were very susceptible to mortality at low strain rates and 100% of golden and silver perch died once strain rate exceeded 629 and 148 cm s-1 cm-1, respectively. Larvae were less vulnerable than eggs, but mortality increased at higher strain rates and at younger ages. Murray cod larvae were the most susceptible, particularly around 9 days post hatch. Younger golden perch and silver perch were also susceptible but little mortality occurred once maturity reached ~25 days post hatch (nearing juvenile metamorphosis). The results indicate that fluid shear will contribute to the large mortalities of drifting eggs and larvae entrained at river infrastructure, with the impact reducing with age. Minimising turbulent flows and fluid shear should be the objective when designing and operating structures like spillways, turbines and irrigation weirs in areas of significant egg and larval drift.
Revised: April 9, 2020 |
Published: November 30, 2019
Navarro A., C.A. Boys, W. Robinson, L.J. Baumgartner, B. Miller, Z. Deng, and M. Finlayson. 2019.Tolerable ranges of fluid shear for early life-stage fishes: implications for safe fish passage at hydropower and irrigation infrastructure.Marine and Freshwater Research 70, no. 11:1503–1512.PNNL-SA-133303.doi:10.1071/MF18131