FIThydro aims to improve river ecology and bring sustainable fish populations to the hydropower plant (HPP) environment while improving existing hydropower technologies and devices.
The project will develop new mitigation measures and cost-efficient environmental solutions to prevent individual fish damage and to support increasing fish populations in HPPs. It will carry out evaluation of the facilities for upstream and downstream fish migration. It will also analyse different HPP bypass systems to establish their potential as fish habitat and the impact of sediment on the habitat's quality.
The project will consist of three main phases:
• preparatory desk work to analyse shortcomings, barriers and potential of the HPP environment
• improving existing devices and technologies used in HPPs for monitoring and measuring fish behaviour
• test phase at selected pilot sites
During the first phase, the project will gather and harmonise the dispersed existing data on fish biology. The second phase will run in parallel. It will focus on current tools and devices used in HPPs that will be enhanced and used in the experimental set-ups in the laboratories and at the test sites for detecting fish populations or predicting their behaviour. This includes using sensor fish, analysing various solutions for fish migration and fish tracking systems, as well as creating numerical models, a population model and a virtual fish swimming path model. Finally, experimental tests will be conducted at selected test sites in France, Spain and Switzerland.
The results of the project will be fed into a risk-based decision support system (DSS), which will allow HPP operators maintain a cost-effective energy production, at the same time letting them meet environmental obligations under European legislation and achieve self-sustained fish population in HPPs.