Tech Briefs

Thompson Falls fishway opens with successful fish passage

The new upstream fish ladder at the 94-MW Thompson Falls hydro project in Thompson Falls, Mont., opened in May 2011 with a successful first run, reports GEI Consultants Inc., the firm selected by PPL Montana to provide ecological and engineering services for the project.

The $7.5 million project is designed to provide rare species of trout and other fish varieties unhindered access to hundreds of miles of the upstream Clark Fork River and its tributaries. The steel and concrete ladder system has 48 step pools that will permit fish to gradually ascend about 75 feet to the top of, and over, the dam. It is the first full-height fish passage ladder in the U.S. built specifically for bull trout, a threatened species.

The fishway is part of PPL Montana’s federal operating license in compliance with the Endangered Species Act. The fish passage was dedicated in October 2010, and after the spring thaw, passed its first fish, a 19-inch, 2.5-pound rainbow trout. The first two bull trout passed through the ladder during April 2011.

The project was developed as a collaborative effort through an inter-agency, multi-disciplinary team composed of PPL Montana; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks; Montana Department of Environmental Quality; the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes; GEI Consultants and others.

Linke honored by Corps for contributions to hydro industry

Deborah Linke, Hydro Research Foundation program director, has been honored with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Hydroelectric Design Center Hydropower Professional Excellence Award.

The award was presented to Linke in June by Brent Mahan, director of the HDC, during a planning session for HydroVision International 2012.

Mahan established the award to provide honorary recognition to an individual or team that exemplifies professional excellence related to Corps hydropower planning, engineering and design.

Any individual, team or group involved in Corps hydropower planning, engineering and design and related activities is eligible. Nominations are evaluated for specific contributions in the areas that support hydro, including study and analysis, project management, engineering, operations, installation and construction, forensics, commissioning, collaboration and outreach.

Linke retired as manager of the Power Resources Office, Office of Policy, for the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation in January 2007. She is the program director for the Hydro Research Foundation’s Hydro Fellowship Program.

The Hydro Fellowship Program, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, is intended to stimulate new student research and academic interest in research and careers in conventional or pumped-storage hydropower. Hydro Research Foundation fellows are awarded two years of support for applied research in the field of hydropower.

The award was given to Linke to recognize her many years of service to hydropower, including her involvement with the Hydro Fellowship Program and her role in the HydroVision International event.

Call for abstracts announced for HydroVision International 2012

PennWell Corporation, organizer of the HydroVision International conference and exhibition, is accepting abstracts for the Technical Papers track. The conference will be held July 17-20 in Louisville, Ky.

Abstracts are requested on all topics of interest to technical professionals in the hydropower field. Preference will be given to abstracts that focus on innovative, practical and proven technologies and methods.

Abstracts that describe the focus and content of proposed papers (maximum of 400 words) are due October 19. Submit abstracts through the Internet at

All abstracts submitted will be reviewed by the conference Technical Committee. If accepted, authors will be invited to submit a paper for inclusion in the official proceedings, which will be made available to all conference delegates through an Internet link accessible with a password.

For more information, contact (1) 918-831-9736; E-mail:

HydroVision International 2011, held July 19-22 in Sacramento, Calif., attracted more than 3,400 attendees from around the globe, breaking attendance records for the event.

Report assesses fish habitat throughout the U.S.

The National Fish Habitat Action Plan has released a 72-page report on fish habitat in the U.S., including areas where this habitat is most likely still intact and should be protected, as well as locations where conservation or restoration efforts are most needed.

The report, called Through a Fish’s Eye: Status of Fish Habitats in the United States 2010, summarizes the results of a nationwide assessment of the human effects of fish habitat in the rivers and estuaries of the U.S. The assessment detailed in the report assigns watersheds and estuaries a risk of current habitat degradation ranging from very low to very high. These results allow comparisons of aquatic habitats across the nation and within 14 sub-regions. The results also identify some of the major sources of habitat degradation that plague waterways.

Overall, 27 percent of the miles of stream in the lower 48 states are at high or very high risk of current habitat degradation; 29 percent are at moderate risk; and 44 percent are at low or very low risk. Marine habitats in the U.S. tend to be most degraded near the coasts, where they are most affected by human activity, the report indicates.

In addition to the report, a map viewer developed by the U.S. Geological Survey’s Biological Informatics Plan is available. This map and data web tool enables users to see multiple views depicting the condition of stream and coastal habitats across the U.S. and allows users to access more detailed information at finer scales and download data files. The tool is available at

The National Fish Habitat Action Plan was established in the spring of 2003 to maximize the impact of conservation dollars. Partners in the plan include 16 federal agencies; 40 state, local and tribal agencies; 118 conservation groups; 35 industry organizations; and six universities.

— To view or download a pdf of this report, visit

Rizzo CEO honored as business leader

Dr. Paul C. Rizzo, founder, president and chief executive officer of Rizzo Associates, has received the 2011 Pittsburgh Business Times Diamond Award. The award recognizes 12 of the region’s preeminent CEOs, company presidents or individuals holding equivalent positions.

Dr. Rizzo’s firm has grown from a six-person office in 1984 to more than 300 employees worldwide today. Rizzo Associates is an international consulting firm dealing with seismic safety of dams, nuclear plants and other structures.

Earlier this year, Dr. Rizzo was named one of Engineering News-Record magazine’s Top 25 Newsmakers for 2010. Selected annually by ENR editors, the Newsmakers are chosen for their innovations and achievements, for giving back to the industry and the public and for going beyond the duties of their day-to-day jobs, a press release states.

ASTM releases standard on boat barrier testing

ASTM International announces availability of Standard Test Method for Barriers.

This new standard outlines a test method that is intended to provide a means of evaluating the performance of boat barriers and, through that evaluation, provide a certification of performance in the form of an ASTM International Impact Rating for Boat Barriers.

This test method:

  • Provides a range of small surface motor boat impact condition levels and penetration performance levels to select boat barriers appropriate for use at potentially threatened facilities; and
  • Is designed to test and evaluate the stopping capabilities of boat barriers at the point of impact and the moments subsequent to impact of a small surface motor boat.

ASTM develops and delivers international voluntary consensus standards, with about 12,000 being used around the world today to improve product quality, enhance safety, facilitate market access and trade and build consumer confidence.

— To purchase standard F2766 – 11 for $45, visit the Internet:

Building kit teaches children about hydropower

Kids ages 8 and up can have fun learning about hydropower using the Hydropower Renewable Energy Science Kit.

This kit contains a variety of components that allow children to learn about the power of water. Children can construct three different toy mills built around a water wheel. One of these creates enough electricity inside a small direct current generator to light a red light-emitting diode. The other two power a saw and lift and drop a hammer.

The kit comes with a 32-page experiment manual and allows children to perform experiments involving surface tension, adhesion, and cohesion. Lessons in water pressure come from building a water tower and a water fountain. In total, the kit contains 30 experiments and 10 building projects.

— To order the kit for $49.95, visit

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