Tech Briefs

Reclamation provides mussel vulnerability template

A facility vulnerability assessment template available from the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation gives hydro project owners a tool for reviewing their facilities and identifying vulnerabilities to quagga and zebra mussels.

This 30-page template, prepared for Reclamation by RNT Consulting Inc. in Picton, Ontario, Canada, is in the format of a checklist. It provides steps needed to ensure the project owner is prepared to begin the assessment. It then provides a template for the site visit, where the general approach should be to follow the path of the water through the facility, following each system in turn to cover the entire facility.

The template contains three appendices. The first is a sample project plan outline to capture the purpose and scope of the assessment, as well as the timeline and any approvals needed. The second appendix is a system walkthrough checklist that includes the dam, reservoir, and aqueducts; water intake structures; trashracks, grates, and screens; wells and sumps; pumps and turbines; piping; instruments and instrument tubing; heat exchangers; valves; and strainers and filters. The third discusses typical facility details to be noted and analyzed during the assessment, including raw or service water, unit cooling water, fire protection systems, and penstocks.

This template was made available to participants at the Western Invasive Mussel Management Workshop, held May 5-6, 2009, in Las Vegas. The goal of this workshop was to share information with other western water managers regarding what Reclamation and its customers have learned about quagga and zebra mussels in the western U.S.

Mussels were first discovered in Lake Mead, which is impounded by Hoover Dam, in 2007. Since this discovery, Reclamation has noticed that quagga and zebra mussels respond differently in western waters than they have in other parts of the country, says Peter Soeth, public affairs specialist with Reclamation. As a result, Reclamation has undertaken a variety of research projects intended to minimize the effects of mussel infestations at hydro projects (see Tech Briefs, Hydro Review, May 2009).

– The template, and other presentations from the Western Invasive Mussel Management Workshop, is available on the Internet at

Northwest Council revises Columbia Basin program

The Northwest Power and Conservation Council recently adopted a revision of the Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program. This new program is based on recommendations from the region’s fish and wildlife managers and Indian tribes, says John Harrison, information officer with the council.

Features of the new program include:

    – Emphasizing implementation of fish and wildlife projects based on needs identified in locally developed sub-basin management plans and on actions described in federal biological opinions, Endangered Species Act recovery plans, and the 2008 Fish Accords;
    – Continuing the council’s commitment to independent scientific review of all projects proposed for funding through the program;
    – Focusing on protecting and restoring habitat in order to rebuild healthy, naturally-producing fish and wildlife populations;
    – Addressing specific issues, such as the effects of global climate change, toxic substances, and invasive species on fish, wildlife, and habitat;
    – Increasing project performance and fiscal accountability by establishing reporting guidelines and using adaptive management to guide decision-making;
    – Committing to a periodic and systematic exchange of science and policy information with fish and wildlife agencies, Indian tribes, and scientists involved in independent research;
    – Calling for a renewed regional effort to develop quantitative biological objectives for the program;
    – Retaining an interim objective to increase salmon and steelhead runs to 5 million fish by 2025 and achieve smolt-to-adult return rates of 2 to 6 percent;
    – Addressing passage problems for lamprey and sturgeon at mainstem dams; and
    – Retaining a crediting formula for wildlife losses of two new units of habitat for each lost unit.


Through this program, the council and the Bonneville Power Administration direct more than $140 million per year to projects that mitigate the effects of hydropower projects on fish and wildlife in the Columbia River Basin, Harrison says. The program must be revised at least every five years.

Baker River fish passage results set records

More than 340,000 sockeye and more than 131,000 coho salmon migrated downstream past the 170-MW Baker River project during the 2009 migration season using the new floating surface collector.

Project owner Puget Sound Energy (PSE) reports these are record migration numbers. The highest previous runs were 289,000 sockeye in 2006 and 79,000 coho in 1988, says Cary Feldmann, manager of resource sciences with PSE (see Tech Briefs, Hydro Review, March 2008).

PSE says it believes the 2009 results can be attributed to two factors. First, the size of the migrating fish population was quite large, suggesting favorable freshwater conditions contributed to the record outmigration, Feldmann says. Second, the floating surface collector – part of the system that attracts, collects, and transports fish past Upper Baker Dam – has been demonstrated to be quite successful, he says.

The 1,000-ton barge-mounted surface collector is equipped with submerged screens, water pumps, fish-holding chambers, a fish evaluation station, equipment control rooms, and a fish-loading facility. The new collector operates in tandem with a deep-reservoir guide-net system that prevents young fish from entering project turbines. The collector began operating in the spring of 2008.

IEC offers online access to replaced, withdrawn standards

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) offers online access to previous editions of its standards that have been replaced or withdrawn. Consulting previous editions of standards may be essential for those who deal with rapidly evolving technologies, IEC says.

Past editions of standards can be used to track the history of a specific product, IEC says. For example, non-rechargeable alkaline batteries have been on the market since the mid-1950s. In 1957, IEC released its first series of standards on primary cells and batteries. More than 50 years later, alkaline batteries are still marketed throughout the world, and this series of standards is still revised on a regular basis.

This resource, on the Internet at, contains nearly all the publications issued since the creation of IEC in 1906. More than 8,000 replaced or withdrawn IEC publications can be found and purchased online.

Fisheries society publishes proceedings of eel symposium

The American Fisheries Society has published Eels at the Edge, a book that contains the proceedings of the International Eel Symposium. This symposium was held in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, in August 2003.

Eels have experienced dramatic and unprecedented declines in recruitment and abundance in some locales and valuable fisheries are disappearing, say editors John M. Casselman and David K. Cairns. Casselman is with the department of biology at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Cairns is a research scientist with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in Canada.

The papers in the book were peer-reviewed. The book divides papers into five categories:

    – Overviews;
    – Science, ecology, and life history;
    – Status and dynamics;
    – Movement, migration, and barriers; and
    – Stock assessment and management.


In addition, Eels at the Edge contains the Quebec Declaration of Concern, which called for broad-based, vigorous, and immediate international conservation action. This declaration, developed and signed at the International Eel Symposium, stimulated a new level of worldwide concern for the science, status, and conservation of all species of anguillid eels, the editors say.

– To order the book for $69 ($48 for American Fisheries Society members), contact: American Fisheries Society, c/o Books International, P.O. Box 605, Herndon, VA 20172; (1) 703-661-1570; E-mail:

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