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Technology | TURB'N TAG

Turb'N Tag.Developed and patented by Normandeau Associates, Inc, the HI-Z Turb'N Tag® (HI-Z Tag) provides an innovative, efficient method to quantify turbine, spillway and natural falls fish passage survival. This unique methodology has led to the reevaluation of spillways and other passage routes, and to develop fish-friendlier bypass structures worldwide.

For decades, fisheries scientists have worked to obtain reliable survival estimates of fish as they exit through turbines and other passage routes at hydroelectric facilities. Reliability of this information is of paramount importance for project owners and state and Federal agencies trying to determine the safest routes for downstream fish passage. This is especially true for migratory fishes, which must travel downstream through hydroelectric installations in order to complete their life cycle.

The HI-Z Tag is an inflatable tag that is affixed to the fish prior to passage. The tag activates after passage, bringing the fish to the water surface, where it is recovered and immediately examined for injury type. Independent laboratory simulated experiments have shown little effects of the tag on fish behavior and stamina. The HI-Z Tag offers the following significant advantages:

  • Small sample size (important for scarce fish resources)
  • High statistical reliability
  • In-hand examination of fish for type, rate, and severity of injuries immediately after passage
  • Applicable for a wide range of fish sizes (juvenile up to adult) and species including sensitive species such as juvenile American shad
  • Estimation of cumulative passage effects
  • Minimum handling and tagging-related fish mortality
  • Delineates likely causative mechanisms for mortality in passage (e.g., shear related, mechanical, or pressure)
  • Provides development of new statistical models for analysis of tag-recapture data
  • Opportunities to assess post-passage long term physiological or behavioral fish responses to turbine and spillway passage
  • Immediate attainment of survival/injury information for rapid decision making, and latent effects within 48 hours

The use of HI-Z Tag technology has led to the development of fish-friendlier turbines and modifications of spillways and bypass systems; estimation of passage survival over natural waterfalls; and in development of turbine operational strategies, adjustment in spill volumes and patterns to minimize fish injury and mortality. Results of our studies have been integrated into operational procedures for many of our clients, and have reduced operational costs with minimal jeopardy to fisheries resources.

As a science-based environmental consulting firm with over 40 years of experience providing environmental consulting and fisheries related services, Normandeau stands out for its ability to guide you to sound, defensible and reasonable science-based decisions for project and regulatory compliance. Call us today to see how we can help you with your project needs.