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Experimental investigation of physical leaky barrier design implications on juvenile rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) movement

Müller, Stephanie, Wilson, Catherine A. M. E. ORCID:, Ouro Barba, Pablo and Cable, Joanne ORCID: 2021. Experimental investigation of physical leaky barrier design implications on juvenile rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) movement. Water Resources Research 57 (8) , e2021WR030111. 10.1029/2021WR030111

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Rivers have been subject to the construction of numerous small-scale anthropogenic structures, causing alteration and fragmentation of habitats. Despite their impact on fish habitat selection, migration and swimming performance, more hydraulic structures are being added to riverine systems. These mainly have the purpose of harnessing renewable energy or mitigating the impact of flooding, as in the case of leaky barriers that are widely used for natural flood management. By providing a sustainable and cost-effective supplement to traditional hard engineering flood risk management methods, these channel-spanning wooden barriers are constructed using sustainable, local materials, intended to slow down surface water and groundwater flow, reduce flood peaks, and attenuate the flow reaching downstream communities. Despite their increasing popularity, little is known about the design implications on fish movement or hydrodynamics. Using scaled laboratory flume experiments we investigate how the physical design of four leaky barriers varying in porosity, length, provision of overhead cover, and color, impacts on fish movement and spatial usage, and the channel hydrodynamics. Our fish behavioral analysis reveals that juvenile rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) movement reduces with barrier presence. Upstream passage increases with barrier color but not cover, for shorter rather than longer leaky barriers, and for a non-porous barrier compared to its porous counterpart. Barrier specific flow alterations appear to play a secondary role compared to barrier color. Our study showed that physical barrier design and leaky barrier presence alter fish movement, and therefore care needs to be taken during the design of such natural flood management structures.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Engineering
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 1944-7973
Funders: EPSRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 5 August 2021
Date of Acceptance: 22 July 2021
Last Modified: 05 May 2023 14:04

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