R&D Forum

NWPCC approves research into salmon survival

The Fish and Wildlife Committee of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council approved continuing to support two ocean research projects, one by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration regarding ocean survival of salmonids and one by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans on salmon shelf survival.

This research is intended to benefit fish affected by the Federal Columbia River Power System through:

– Improving the linkages to potential management applications associated with hatcheries, habitat, hydropower operations and survival calculations;

– Emphasizing research related to the Columbia River plume, the near-shore ocean and estuary areas;

– Exploring the feasibility of collecting information on other species of concern; and

– Contributing to the development and tracking of high-level indicators adopted by the council.

Before implementing this research, staff will work with the project sponsors to redefine the scope of the research.

Hydro Research Foundation announces fellowship recipients

The Hydro Research Foundation has selected 10 recipients of Hydro Fellowships, which will allow the selected masters and doctoral level students to continue their research in the hydropower sector.

Each fellowship is worth US$44,000 to $66,000 and is made possible by partnerships with a number of foundations and organizations, including the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind and Water Power Program, Avista Foundation, Knight Piesold Consulting, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Hydroelectric Design Center and Weir American Hydro.

Since the Hydro Fellowship program began in 2010-11, 33 students from 19 universities have been selected as recipients. Adding to that list this year are:

– Sean Brosig, Oregon State University;

– Mark Cecchini-Beaver, University of Idaho;

– Stanley Dittrick, Washington State University;

– Samuel Dyas, Colorado School of Mines;

– Benjamin Foster, University of North Carolina;

– Adam Greenhall, University of Washington;

– Tresha Melong, Worcester Polytechnic Institute;

– Mark Raleigh, University of Washington;

– Karen Studarus, University of Washington; and

– Marc Whitehead, University of Oregon.

For complete research summaries and biographies of each fellow, visit the Hydro Research Foundation’s website at www.hydrofoundation.org/fellowshipfellows.html.

Many of the current recipients of Hydro Fellowships are making presentations at HydroVision International 2012 in Louisville, Ky., on Tuesday, July 17 from 8 a.m.-12 p.m.

Power system simulator research complete

Hydro-Quebec and OPAL-RT Technologies have finished work on a collaboration agreement intended to commercialize the HYPERSIM power system simulator.

This real-time digital simulation platform was developed by Hydro-Quebec’s research institute, IREQ, to improve power system performance and reliability. It has been used daily by Hydro-Quebec and upgraded constantly. Applications include studies on complex, large-scale power systems; closed-loop testing of control and protection systems to validate performance and facilitate commissioning; development, improvement and assessment of new control and protection concepts; and simulation of wind farms connected to the transmission system.

HYPERSIM includes modules for interfacing with the control systems being tested. It incorporates a power system diagram editor and an extensive block library covering all elements of the power system (electricity generation, transmission and distribution). There is also a graphical interface for creation of customized models, a data acquisition and processing system to view and analyze simulation results and a test sequence programming function.

IREQ offers technical assistance to Hydro-Quebec’s divisions and carries out technological innovation projects to support their activities and ensure the company’s long-term development. OPAL-RT develops open, real-time digital simulators based on standard off-the-shelf PC components, as well as hardware-in-the-loop testing systems.

Corps to study sediment management in Northwest states

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Seattle District plans to hire a company to perform sediment sampling and analysis in western Washington, western Oregon and southeastern Alaska.

The district seeks technical and scientific support for various environmental services in the listed states, including characterization of various marine, brackish, and freshwater sediments; design of navigation channels and dredging equipment; acoustic Doppler evaluations; wave data analyses; water quality monitoring; environmental assessments; fish habitat analyses; biological assessments; fish and wildlife studies; wetland inventories; watershed analyses; and remote sensing technology.

Study on effects of dam removal yielding results

Although data is still being analyzed, initial results of a study being performed at Drexel University in Pennsylvania indicate the impoundments formed by dams have a significant effect on water chemistry. One such finding reveals the removal of silica appears to increase asymptotically with residence time of the water in the reservoir.

The research focuses on the ecological effects of small dams. There are more than 3,000 dams in Pennsylvania, and most of these are less than 15 feet high. As small, obsolete or poorly maintained dams are being removed, concerns arise with regard to methods of restoring fish passage and improving the health of stream and river ecosystems.

As the nature and magnitude of the effects of dams – such as alterations to flow regimes, physical habitats, channel shape, sediment transport, water temperature and chemistry, and fish populations – is likely to depend on dam size, it is unclear whether information on large dams is applicable, the researchers say.

Scientists from the university’s Patrick Center and the University of Delaware are using funding from the Pennsylvania Growing Greener Program and Patrick Center’s Endowment for Innovative Research to perform a study using ecological risk assessment. Ecological effects are characterized by determining the potential effects imposed by a stressor, linking these effects to assessment endpoints, and evaluating how effects change with varying stressor levels.

Investigators are focusing on a variety of factors, including riparian vegetation, geomorphology, hydrology, biogeochemistry, algae, macroinvertebrates and fisheries. A total of 15 dams in southeastern Pennsylvania and eastern Maryland were selected for study, ranging from nearly 200 feet in height to less than 10 feet.

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