The American-Made Challenges® Fish Protection Prize is nearing its final stages, and the nine winning CONCEPT Stage teams, including two teams from Alden, are  preparing to present their innovations to a panel of judges during the Prize's PITCH Contest.

The PITCH Contest is a "Shark Tank" style presentation from which the top three teams will be awarded their share of the grand prize. Presentations will take place during the American Fisheries Society Virtual Annual Meeting, September 15-16. 

One of the winning concepts from Alden includes a concept known as a Fish Entrainment Reduction Structure (FERS). The FERS is designed to keep bottom-oriented fish from intakes, acting as either a guidance structure or exclusion structure, depending on its installation orientation.

The FERS concept addresses a need to protect bottom-oriented species such as American eel, sturgeons,  and flounders, many of which are endangered or protected.

We feel it is important to protect our fisheries resources so they can be around for generations to come.

Jenna Rackovan, Fisheries Biologist at Alden and Fish Protection Prize Finalist

Watch this video as Jenna Rackovan, Fisheries Biologist at Alden discusses the FERS concept, including what motivated her and her team to apply for the Fish Protection Prize. 

HubSpot Video


Team Devil Fish, Alden's other prize finalist, also provides insight into a design proposal that calls upon millions of years of evolution to produce a simple but elegant redesign of a fish exclusion structure. 

HubSpot Video

Additional submission details about the FERS concept can be found here

About the Fish Protection Prize

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO), in collaboration with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation launched this three-stage competition to seek innovative solutions to protect fish from water infrastructure, such as water diversions and pipes, and intakes at hydropower dams. Initial CONCEPT Stage winners moved onto an INCUBATION Stage where  each worked with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), receiving up to 50 hours of technical analysis or other support. 

The total $700k prize purse will be distributed to the top 3 PITCH CONTEST winners. Grand prizes will be broken down as follows: 

  • First Place: $200,000 cash and $100,000 in voucher support
  • Second Place: $125,000 cash and $100,000 in voucher support
  • Third Place: $75,000 cash and $100,000 in voucher support

Learn more at