After a two year delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Alden's team was onsite for evaluation of the Whooshh Innovations fish transport technology. This field study, funded through Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), with support from New York Power Authority (NYPA), FirstLight, New Brunswick Power, and Santee Cooper, is being conducted at South Carolina's Santee Dam spillway and powerhouse, which is operated by Santee Cooper. The study will provide data to help determine passage efficiency and fish health of American Shad and river herring (Alewife and Blueback Herring) traveling through the Whooshh Passage Portal™.

Alden's Kimberly Capone, Fisheries Biologist and Jacob LaFontaine, Environmental Engineer evaluate a PIT-tagged shad during the field study


Alden fisheries biologists and engineers conducting the biological study collected data and information on the upstream migrants arriving at the dam and passing through this unique passage system. The performance of the entire Whooshh Passage Portal and passage progression through specific components were evaluated by monitoring shad that enter the system volitionally and by releasing passive integrated transponder (PIT) tagged fish at different locations in the system. Daily counts of tagged fish and volitional entries that successfully pass through the system will help determine the effectiveness of the Passage Portal through the volitional entrance system. The system will also be assessed for its ability to sort and pass the target species with little or no transport-associated injury or mortality or migration delays.


Jacob LaFontaine releases a PIT-tagged shad into the entry system of the Whooshh Passage Portal


Major Milestone Achieved


Whooshh Passage tube extending up and over the Santee Dam from the barge mounted volitional entry system

Located at the outlet of Lake Marion where it discharges into the Santee River, the installation of the Whooshh Passage Portal will help migrating American Shad and Blueback Herring return to Lake Marion and upstream spawning grounds—something that has not happened in over 80 years. That's because the Santee Spillway that controls water flow between Lake Marion and the Santee River also blocks the migration of upstream swimming fish.

HubSpot Video
[Video} A fish makes its way through the Whooshh Passage tube at the Santee Dam

Results of the study will provide hydropower project owners, resource agency biologists, and regulatory agency personnel with information and data to assess the potential viability of the Whooshh Passage Portal as a low cost and effective alternative to conventional fish ladder and lift designs typically installed for shad and herring. 


Stay tuned for more information on this unique system as this important study proceeds.