Reclamation awards $75,000 to boost innovation for excluding fish from water diversions and intakes
Written by: Jesselyn Hamilton
Fish screens are used at water diversions and intakes in freshwater rivers and estuaries to keep fish safe and in their natural environment.The Bureau of Reclamation launched a prize competition seeking innovative methods to exclude fish from water diversions and intakes. Of the 38 potential solutions received, six winners will share a total prize pool of $75,000. The competition addressed the limitations in current technology to exclude certain fish species and size classes in a cost-effective manner.
"We are pleased with the variety of novel solutions spurred by this competition," said Connie Svoboda, hydraulic engineer and prize competition team lead. "The proposed solutions may have the ability to improve effectiveness and reduce costs compared to conventional methods."
The prize competition sought ideas for alternatives to fish screens or improvements to existing fish screens that could be applied to river and canal diversions or unscreened diversion pipes. Six solutions were selected to receive prize awards varying from $17,500 to $2,500.
One of the two top placing solutions was submitted by Ted Ground of Keller, Texas, who proposed using a combination of broadband sonic and ultrasonic frequencies and looming light emitting diode (LED) arrays to activate natural fish avoidance and escape behavior. The second of the top placing solutions was submitted by Benjamin Mater of Alden Research Laboratory, Fort Collins, Colorado, who proposed using a biometric-informed screen shape to minimize debris clogging and entrainment of fish eggs and larvae. These solutions will receive $17,500 each.
The following solutions were also selected to receive prizes:
-- Edem Tsikata, Ph.D., of Cambridge, Massachusetts, will receive $15,000 for his solution to use cavitation barriers for fish guidance.
-- Jeremy Martinez of Los Angeles, California, will receive $15,000 for their off-river solution of a floating device that separates fish from water using the Coanda effect without the use of a screen. Jeremy partnered with Micheal Ahimbisibwe of Kampala, Uganda, to develop this solution.
-- Timothy Hogan of TWB Environmental Research and Consulting, Inc., Natick, Massachusetts, will receive $7,500 for his solution to use air bubble curtains to prevent entrainment of fish eggs and larvae through physical processes.
-- David Orlebeke of Roy, Utah, will receive $2,500 for his solution to use an electromagnetic barrier with directed longitudinal waves as a fish barrier in freshwater and estuary environments.
Reclamation is now working on the next stage of the prize competition with the U.S. Department of Energy's Water Power Technologies Office. The next stage will be a multi-phase competition seeking written concepts that can be developed into a deployable research and testing prototype. This stage of the competition is anticipated to be launched in January 2020 and will have up to $700,000 in cash prizes and technical support through laboratory vouchers.
Reclamation partnered with the U.S. 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 prize competition and other Reclamation hosted competitions, please visit https://www.usbr.gov/research/challenges/index.html.
Published on December 11, 2019