Fish passage system in an irrigation dam (Pilcomayo River basin ): when engineering designs do not match ecohydraulic criteria
The Route 28 Dam has the potential to block fish movements from La Estrella marsh to the Pilcomayo River. In addition, the many fish that concentrate immediately downstream of the dam may suffer high mortality when they are stranded during low water periods. The goals of this study are to determine if fish are able to pass the spillway and to assess if the design of the installed ladders (pool and weir type) effectively supports upstream migration of Prochilodus lineatus (sábalo). Results
... alo). Results showed that only fish longer than 39 cm should be able to ascend the spillway chute, but when water levels on the spillway crest are over 0.4 m. Fish are also unable to jump from spillway toe to spillway crest because the downstream dissipation pool does not meet the minimum depth criterion for fish to accelerate to sufficient velocity. Fish ladders have insufficient number of pools and some pool dimensions and designs depart from accepted standard designs. Volumetric dissipation power in the upper pool of each fish ladder is too low for fish to rest. Also, attraction flows relative to total spillway discharge at the entrance to each fishway are insufficient. Fish passage failures of both the spillway and pool and weir systems in La Estrella marsh can be traced to the "salmon-centric" concept used by the designers. We conclude that the Route 28 Dam design including its fish passage systems, do not follow criteria to cope with the strong hydrological variability and bioecological characteristics of fish inhabiting pulsatile systems such as La Estrella marsh.