2019-2020: In collaboration with personnel from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) the student team researched fish passageway design, with special emphasis on the entrance to fishways. The goal of the project was to develop novel designs for the entrance(s) to improve the overall passage efficiency. Current entrance efficiency is about 50%.
The team developed a comprehensive plan incorporating both physical and numerical experimentation that would identify a design for large-scale testing in a flume with live fish. The primary species of interest was the American Shad, but designs were developed with the intent of not diminishing, and possibly increasing, the entrance rate for other fish. Preliminary physical testing was conducted on a 3-inch flume at Smith College. Using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling and simulation software, the team developed several designs for testing in a 3-foot flume at the USGS S.O. Conte lab in Turners Falls, MA. The final deliverable included a conventional vertical slot design, a vertical slot with convex sidewalls and a vertical slot with concave sidewalls. Various modular elements were also designed with the goal of improving various performance parameters when used in conjunction with any entrance geometry.