Abernathy Fish Technology Center

Smith-Root provided innovative technology and biological expertise to divert migrating steelhead, chinook and coho salmon into the adjacent hatchery for sorting and egg production.

  • Location: Longview, Washington
  • Commissioned: 2004
  • Type: Waterway

Project description

The Abernathy Fish Technology Center, located on Abernathy Creek in southwest Washington, among other activities operates a fish hatchery which raises steelhead, coho and chinook salmon smolts for release into the creek and elsewhere. To manage this process, all fish migrating upstream have to be intercepted and diverted into the hatchery for sorting. Smith-Root provided civil, structural, and electronics engineering for the design of the electrical barrier system which was installed in Abernathy Creek for this purpose. Smith-Root also contracted for the construction of the barrier.

This barrier has a main deck and a separate low flow channel. Electrodes are 4-inch railroad steel set into slots in the Insulcrete™ deck and walls. There are seven electrodes spaced at three feet on center. Abernathy Creek is typical of many western Washington streams with variable flows and considerable bedload with high water. The structure was specified to be able to contain a 100-year flood event.

While the barrier has been effective in stopping fish, it has been found that at low flows it is necessary to utilize the water depth sensor to control the field intensity over the main deck. It has also been difficult to maintain uniform flow over the main deck because of upstream flow incompatibilities. Smith-Root continues to monitor these issues.

Services provided

  • Coordination with the Site Manager and Team Leader
  • Research fish species and understand their biological makeup
  • Design an electrical barrier and suitable hardware to manage remotely
  • Contract for concrete structure and complete electrical system installation
  • Continue monitoring of electrical barrier remotely to ensure system integrity
  • Complete annual maintenance of electrical barrier

Site characteristics

  • Pulsators: 1.5kVA POW
  • Pulsator Qty: 6
  • Power Output: 9kW max.
  • Water Depth: 0-6 feet
  • Waterway Width: 10 feet, 59 feet
  • Water Velocity: 4-6 ft./s
  • Conductivity: 300µs/cm