Study examines turbine effects on Yukon River fish

Sep 08, 2010

A University of Alaska Fairbanks fisheries scientist has teamed up with Alaska Power and Telephone to study how a new power-generating turbine affects fish in the Yukon River.

So far, the news looks good for the .

"In the brief testing that we have been able to accomplish, we have no indication that the has killed or even injured any fish," said Andrew Seitz, project leader and assistant professor of fisheries.

Alaska Power and Telephone installed the in-stream turbine near Eagle, Alaska this summer. They are testing its effectiveness as a for the village. A parallel project led by Seitz is studying the device's potential effects on fish moving through the river channel. Graduate student Parker Bradley and research technician Mark Evans have been in Eagle conducting the fisheries research since May.

The turbine is 16-feet wide and 8-feet tall. It's suspended from an anchored pontoon barge in the deepest and fastest part of the river. The turbine has four blades that spin at about 22 revolutions per minute.

"The community of Eagle, residents along the Yukon River and Power and Telephone have all been very supportive of the fish studies," said Seitz. "Everyone's biggest consideration is the fish."

Seitz and Bradley are using nets to capture fish at the turbine site and near the shore. The captured fish are identified, counted, measured and released alive back into the river. This information allows the scientists to determine the path downstream-migrating fish—such as juvenile salmon—take through the river channel. It also allows them to determine how many of the different are in the channel and when they migrate.

"This data allows us to determine the relative likelihood of a fish to pass through the turbine," said Seitz.

If a fish does pass through the turbine, Seitz and Bradley examine it for general health and indication of injury. Seitz says that preliminary results show that very few fish are passing through the turbine and those that do are not showing any signs of injury.

Explore further: Fish tale: New study evaluates antibiotic content in farm-raised fish

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Underwater gliders may change how scientists track fish

Jun 22, 2010

Tracking fish across Alaska's vast continental shelves can present a challenge to any scientist studying Alaska's seas. Researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks have successfully tested a possible ...

Experts applaud massive fish kill

Jun 08, 2006

Illinois state officials say they are thrilled by the mysterious deaths of thousands of invasive Asian carp in the Illinois River last week.

Scientists wonder where salmon are

Jul 07, 2005

Biologists and fish and wildlife experts in Washington State say only about 100,000 sockeye salmon have returned to spawn and they want to know why.

King salmon vanishing in Alaska, smokehouses empty

Aug 02, 2009

(AP) -- Yukon River smokehouses should be filled this summer with oil-rich strips of king salmon - long used by Alaska Natives as a high-energy food to get through the long Alaska winters. But they're mostly empty.

Recommended for you

Fruit pest's favorite aromas turned against it

Oct 20, 2014

A blend of odors that attracts spotted wing drosophila (SWD) flies has been developed into a new lure product for improved monitoring and control of these tree-fruit and berry pests.

User comments : 0