Fish Passage and Protection

Kleinschmidt: The Fish Passage and Protection Experts

Kleinschmidt has provided biological and engineering fish passage consulting services for more than 150 projects located throughout the United States and Canada. We are widely respected for conceptual and final design work of fish passage facilities and biological assessments relating to fish passage and entrainment at hydropower facilities. Our integration of fisheries biologists, regulatory specialists, and engineers provides an exceptional capability for solving problems involving the mitigation of fisheries impacts and enhancement of fisheries resources.

Our conceptual and final design for fish passage facilities includes nature-like fishways, fish lifts, fish ladders, eel ladders, trapping and sorting facilities, and downstream passage systems. This experience has earned Kleinschmidt a reputation as one of the most respected fish passage study and design teams in the nation, ensuring that your project is in good hands.

Species Restoration and Restoration Planning

All fish passage projects arise from an initiative or objective to protect or restore a population of one or more fish species within a watershed.

Our multidisciplinary team of biologists, engineers, and regulatory specialists have outstanding knowledge and experience in the process of evaluating and developing fisheries protection and restoration plans in the context of fish passage requirements. We work with stakeholders and clients to facilitate and streamline a planning process to develop a plan that uses a sound science approach with objectives, priorities, and action items designed to optimize the benefit to the species while balancing our clients’ needs and providing cost-saving ideas along the way.

Species Restoration and Restoration Planning Services Include:
  • Biological Assessments
  • Regulatory Strategic Planning
  • Stakeholder Identification & Facilitation
  • Agency Consultation
  • Environmental Permitting & Compliance

Feasibility Studies and Alternative Analysis

Our dedicated fish passage team has conducted feasibility studies for more than 100 projects in North America. The process begins by consulting with the client regarding goals, objectives, and key elements of station operation that must be considered to develop an effective conceptual solution. With agency prescriptions or recommendations as a guide, we work with clients to develop a solution that addresses safety, compliance, revenue, and maintenance concerns.

Our fish passage feasibility studies often involve biological assessments including fisheries composition, relative abundance, and spatial distribution surveys of fish in the project area, as well as an entrainment/impingement analysis. Also, opinions of probable construction cost for the fish passage alternatives, and conceptual drawings of each of the proposed alternatives are developed.

Feasibility Studies and Alternative Analysis Services Include:
  • Evaluation of Environmental Engineering & Policy Requirements
  • Biological Assessments
  • Entrainment / Impingement Analysis
  • Evaluation of Existing Site Constraints
  • Hydraulic & Hydrologic Modeling
  • Structural Analysis
  • Detailed Opinions of Probable Cost
  • Habitat Benefits Assessment
  • Mathematical Modeling

Agency Consultation and Conceptual Layout

Obtaining agency concurrence of a fish passage design concept is one of the most important phases before a client commits potentially significant resources to preliminary and final design efforts.

As a highly competent fish passage consultant, Kleinschmidt advocates for our clients and facilitates productive and efficient dialogue with agencies, non-governmental organizations, and stakeholders. Kleinschmidt’s experience and ability to advocate for our clients with the agency personnel who will be involved in their projects often leads to reduced project costs because we understand the agencies’ expectations and how to negotiate more practical approaches that are more constructible and acceptable to the owner and do not impact fishway effectiveness.

Agency Consultation and Conceptual Layout Services Include:
  • Evaluation of Environmental Engineering & Policy Requirements
  • Biological Assessments
  • Detailed Opinions of Probable Cost
  • Conceptual Drawings
  • Regulatory Strategic Planning
  • Agency Consultation & Negotiation

Engineering Design

While designing fish and eel passage facilities of all types over the past 30 years, we developed a library of design components that we easily customize for each of our client’s projects to reduce design costs. Our library includes designs for eel passage, elevators/lifts, Denil ladders, Alaskan Steeppass, vertical slot, pool and weir, nature-like, sorting facilities, and downstream passage. We have designed more than a dozen fish lifts as well as the largest nature-like fish passage project in the Eastern United States.

Engineering Design Services Include:
  • Conceptual & Final Designs
  • Barrier Systems Design
  • Nature-like Fishways
  • Fish Protection Plans
  • 1D-2D Hydraulic Modeling
  • Permitting
  • Construction Monitoring

Effectiveness Studies

Fisheries resource agencies typically require effectiveness testing to assess whether a fishway is operating as intended. We have conducted more than 40 effectiveness studies using an approach of consulting with our clients to identify and screen techniques for testing that are practical and cost-effective for the project.

After completing the field-testing component, we review, assure the quality of, and archive collected fish passage data. We have developed innovative statistical analyses techniques to automate fish tracking data reduction using algorithms that reduce processing times and costs and enhance data credibility with resource agencies. Our assessments are routinely accepted by resource agency personnel without the need for extensive additional data gathering or analysis resulting in cost savings for our clients.

Effectiveness Studies Services Include:
  • Study Scoping & Plan Development
  • Agency Consultation
  • Permitting
  • Field Studies
  • Data Analysis & Evaluation
  • Fishway Modifications

Kleinschmidt is proud to have supported the Deschutes Valley Water District and all of its project partners though the development of this important project, which will reconnect over 120 miles of habitat for anadromous and native migratory fish species.   This collaborative effort brought many diverse interests together and overcame multiple regulatory, funding, and engineering challenges.