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Durham University

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Publication details for Dr Martyn Lucas

Tummers, J.S., Winter, E., Silva, S., O'Brien, P., Jang, M-H. & Lucas, M.C. (2016). Evaluating the effectiveness of a Larinier super active baffle fish pass for European river lamprey Lampetra fluviatilis before and after modification with wall-mounted studded tiles. Ecological Engineering 91: 183-194.

Author(s) from Durham


To help achieve effective longitudinal river connectivity, evaluation of the efficacy of fishway use by upstream-migrating fishes is needed. Larinier super active baffle (SAB) fishways are relatively cheap retrofit fish passes, suitable for low-head barriers, widespread in Europe and the most commonly fitted technical pass in Britain. Their suitability for non-salmonids, however, is poorly quantified. The efficacy of a 15% gradient SAB fishway and effects of flow regime and water temperature were tested for European river lamprey (Lampetra fluviatilis) using passive integrated transponder (PIT) and acoustic telemetry at a Crump weir on the River Derwent, Northeast England. In migration season 2013–14, over a wide range of flows, 90.1% of 350 tagged lamprey entered the fishway. One fish (0.3%) of those that entered the pass ascended successfully, even though measured water velocity was within laboratory-measured performance conditions for this species. Of 29 acoustic-tagged lamprey that visited the weir over the same period, four (13.8%) ascended it directly, during elevated flows. These data suggest that high turbulence and/or the physical characteristics of baffles may inhibit lamprey ascent of the pass. In migration season 2014–15, we tested the effect of adding studded modular plastic tiles adjacent to the fishway wall, employing PIT antennas separately interrogating the entrance and exit of each of the main fishway and tile routes. 85.8% (169) of 197 tagged lamprey entered the fishway, of which 72/169 (42.6%) entered the tile entrance. Passage efficiency of entrants was 7.1% (12/169), all of which used the tiled route. Reduced local flow velocity in combination with increased availability of resting habitat within the tiles may have facilitated increased passage. Although fishway passage efficiency increased after placement of the modular tiles, it remained half that measured for direct weir passage, both of which are inadequate for connectivity restoration. Quantitative tests of studded tiles placed on the sloping downstream weir face by comparison to control conditions may be more effective and are needed. This study demonstrates the importance of carrying out full-scale field tests to supplement possible solutions developed under laboratory conditions.