Bureau of Reclamation launches prize competition seeking ideas to keep fish safe from water diversions and intakes

Media Contact: Peter Soeth, 303-445-3615, psoeth@usbr.gov

For Release: March 06, 2019

Fish Exclusion Prize Competition
Fish Exclusion Prize Competition
WASHINGTON — The Bureau of Reclamation is launching a prize competition that seeks ideas to keep fish safe from water diversions and intakes. Keeping fish from entering a water diversion or intake is important for the aquatic species and promoting a more sustainable water supply. While there are exclusion methods for some fish species today, advancements are needed to improve efficiency of those protections, protect a wider range and size of fish species, and reduce the cost of operating, maintaining and constructing conventional fish exclusion methods.

This is a theoretical challenge. Solvers must submit a written proposal that describes the fish exclusion idea in detail. It should include drawings, illustrations, specifications, supporting data or literature, and any other things that would be needed to bring the idea to practice.

"We need to improve fish exclusion to address some of the issues that our agencies and water users have been facing for years," Reclamation Prize Competition Program Administrator Jennifer Beardsley said. "Continued deliveries and providing water for the public is important."

A total prize pool of $75,000 is available. The minimum full award for this competition is $15,000. Partial awards may be given. Ideas must be submitted by May 6, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

Contingent on results of this prize competition, a more focused multi-stage prize competition relating to fish exclusion with a total prize award pool of up to $750,000 may be sponsored by Reclamation and the Department of Energy. Subsequent rounds of competition are envisioned to facilitate technology innovation by developing and demonstrating prototypes in a lab or field setting.

Reclamation is collaborating with the Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office, U.S. Geological Survey, NOAA Fisheries, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, State of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory on this prize competition.

To learn more about this challenge and how to submit your idea, please visit Reclamation’s Improving Fish Exclusion from Water Diversions and Intakes.

Since 2015, Reclamation has been conducting prize competitions to spur innovation by engaging a non-traditional, national solver community while also complementing traditional research in their design to target the most persistent science and technology challenges. It has awarded more than $600,000 in prizes and has launched 17 competitions. Please visit Reclamation's Water Prize Competition Center to learn more.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier in the United States, and the nation's second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at https://www.usbr.gov and follow us on Twitter @USBR.