Gunnison Tunnel Electric Fish Barrier Installed

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Smith-Root Staff
Thursday, December 20, 2012

Smith-Root recently installed an electric fish barrier at the entrance of the Gunnison Tunnel in Montrose, Colorado. The Gunnison Tunnel is used to divert water from the Gunnison River to the arid Uncompahgre Valley. The tunnel opened in 1909 and at the time was the largest irrigation tunnel in the world.

In 2009 the Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA) announced plans for a run of river hydroelectric plant at the Gunnison Tunnel taking advantage of the pre-existing diversion called the South Canal. With a capacity of 6 megawatts, the South Canal project will provide around 5% of DMEA’s demand.

This downstream electric barrier, positioned at the intake of the tunnel, blocks downstream passage of rainbow trout from entering the Gunnison Tunnel and therefore away from the hydroelectric facility. The vertical electrodes output alternating “X & Y” pulses to deter fish from a variety of angles.

This installation represents Smith-Root’s 4th barrier installation this year and our 49th overall. Complete detail about this project can be found here.