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Eastmain-1 Fishway Optimization

Contributed by Jean-François Mercier, eng., Tecsult Inc., Montreal, Qc, Canada

A fishway was built in 2005-2006 by SEBJ on the Eastmain River in James Bay, Quebec, Canada. Follow-up studies conducted in 2006 and 2007 showed no successful use of the fishway by sturgeon, while other species of fish climbed the ladder.

Fish passage optimization using CFD
Fishway optimization using FLOW-3D. Image courtesy of Tecsult

Two problems were identified: the low attraction of fish to the fishway and high water velocities. Tecsult engineers decided to carry out a numerical modeling study with FLOW-3D in order to find solutions.

Mesh Generation

Three different meshes were developed:

  1. A regional model to evaluate the flow distribution between the river and the fishway that would maximize the attraction to the fishway;
  2. A local model to design the modifications to the slots and deflector addition;
  3. A fishway model to balance the water levels over the entire length of the work.

The results of the study lead to a major reduction in discharge through the fishway and the addition of concrete blocks and deflectors. Corrective works were undertaken during winter 2007-2008. The follow-up study conducted during spring 2008 indicated that the modifications were successful, since sturgeon passage was recorded in the fishway.

Read the entire FLOW-3D Case Study.