Fish Protection and Downstream Passage

Project Name: Fish Protection and Downstream Passage at 11 Facilities

Location: Cadillac, MI

Client: Consumers Energy Company

Services: Feasibility Study; Agency Consultation; Biological Assessment; Conceptual Engineering

Project Summary:

This project consisted of determining the feasibility of fish protection and downstream passage facilities at eleven existing hydroelectric projects on Michigan’s AuSable, Manistee, and Muskegon River Basins. Target species included a variety of non-migratory resident fish including smallmouth bass, yellow perch, walleye, crappie, and trout.  Consumers retained Kleinschmidt to assist with optimizing mitigation alternatives between annual penalty assessments (for “taking” of fish) and physical fish protection systems.

During Phase I, Kleinschmidt reviewed potential application of state of the art fish protection technologies to the target species and site conditions, generating conceptual cost opinions for various options at all projects.  The study identified barrier nets, trash rack replacement, and intake screening as the most promising protection technologies.

Phase II consisted of a more detailed investigation of the protection technologies at four sites selected based on their impact on the resource or representation as typical site conditions. The Phase II study consisted of the preliminary design, the estimated biological effectiveness, and detailed cost opinions for each selected option. Phase II showed that intake screens placed in the stoplog slots offered the best combination of biological effectiveness and least total cost.

Phase III consisted of a cost benefit analysis to compare the economics and biological effectiveness of implementing the various fish protection measures compared to continued monetary compensation for lost fish resources. Results indicated that 0.75-inch horizontal stoplog screens were the most likely protection device to be both economically and biologically effective.

Subsequent biological effectiveness testing demonstrated that the original study data used to assess the need for fish protection was flawed. Kleinschmidt consulted with FERC and the resource agencies to estimate entrainment based on the new and better data obtained during the biological testing study. Revised estimates of fish losses indicated substantially less entrainment. The new information resulted in eliminating the need for fish protection measures and substantially reduced the amount of monetary compensation for lost fish resources.