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Hydro – Power and peril

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

May 4, 2015 – Fish and the dams that provide about 7 percent of the nation’s electricity may have a more symbiotic relationship because of work being performed by a team led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Mark Bevelhimer and Brenda Pracheil. While researchers have performed several studies over the last few decades, this one focused on pulling together disparate data to gain a better understanding of turbine-associated fish injuries and mortality. “We found that while most of our understanding of fish passage through turbines comes from young salmon, they actually represent a small fraction of the fish that move through turbines on a national scale,” Pracheil said. The study also provides insight into why a prized walleye may have a mortality rate as high as 40 percent for some turbine types while a lunker largemouth may face just a 14 percent chance of meeting an untimely demise.