Fisheries Program
Northeast Region

Fish Passage Engineering

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) Northeast Region Fisheries program maintains a cadre of experienced civil and hydraulic engineers working in the field of fish passage. The role of Fish Passage Engineering is to provide technical assistance in the planning, design, construction, and evaluation of fish passage facilities for migratory and riverine fish at hydroelectric projects, relic dams, culverts, and other stream barriers. Our services and capabilities include:

Hydropower Licensing

  • Consultation on the planning, design, construction and operation of fish passage facilities;
  • Review of study plans, effectiveness studies and other licensing documents; and
  • Inspections of fishways and other integrated generation structures.

Engineering Design

  • Conceptual design of fishways including Denil, steeppass, pool-type ladders, fish lifts, fish guidance and exclusion systems, eelways, fish-friendly culverts, fish sampling systems, and nature-like fishways;
  • Development of fishway guidance and design criteria for consulting firms hired by dam owners; and
  • Review fishway designs, operation and maintenance manuals.

Site Evaluations

  • Site evaluation with respect to the hydraulic/hydrologic/structural requirements for fish passage;
  • Engineering assessment of existing technical and nature-like fishways; and
  • Evaluation of dam safety requirements.

Hydrologic and Hydraulics Analyses

  • Hydrologic assessment of watersheds and statistical evaluation of stream flow, rainfall, runoff, flood events, and fish passage flows;
  • Evaluation of river mechanics, including erosion, sediment transport, and stability of rip-rap and in-stream boulders;
  • Hydraulic analyses of spillway capacities, weir flow, river flows, stream velocities, and pipe discharge;
  • River modeling using HEC-RAS and River2D to determine water surface profiles, flows, velocities, and habitat suitability;
  • Dam breach and dam removal analyses, including use of computational models; and
  • Engineering review of CFD and physical model studies.

Consultation, Training, and Outreach

  • Represent the USFWS at regional, national, international meetings and participate in technology exchanges regarding fish passage facilities;
  • Advise and consult with various federal and state technical committees engaged in the restoration of anadromous fish; and
  • Organize and/or participate as instructors for regional, national, international fish passage training courses and university courses.

For additional information:

Curt Orvis, P.E.
Chief, Fish Passage Engineering
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Northeast Region Fisheries Program
300 Westgate Center Drive
Hadley, MA 01035
(413) 253-8288

Fish Passage Engineering - Capabilities and Services - PDF 545KB

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Last updated: September 26, 2013
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