Conservation Science Webinar Series

Conservation Science

The National Conservation Training Center's Conservation Science Webinar Series attempts to cut through the spin and rhetoric by providing the science behind conservation issues in the news.

This product is for educational purposes only. The opinions, ideas or data presented in this webinar series do not represent FWS policy or constitute endorsement by FWS. Some of the materials and images may be protected by copyright or may have been licenses to us by a third party and are restricted in their use.  Mention of any product names, companies, Web links, textbooks, or other references does not imply Federal endorsement.


Tuesday, August 19th, 2014


Date: October 21st, 2014
Time: 2:00-3:00PM ET

Understanding Barotrauma in Fish Passing Hydro Structures: A Global Strategy for Sustainable Development of Water Resources

Captioning: Captioning Services will be available for this webinar.
Archive: If you are unable to attend this webinar, it will be recorded and posted on the Conservation Science Webinar Series Archive approximately 1-2 weeks after the presentation.
Presenter: Dr. Richard Brown, Chief Research Scientist, Ecology Group, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory


Man pictured in Pacific Northwest National LaboratoryFreshwater fishes are one of the most imperiled groups of vertebrates, and population declines are alarming in terms of biodiversity and to communities that rely on fisheries for their livelihood and nutrition. One activity associated with declines in freshwater fish populations is water resource development, including dams, weirs, and hydropower facilities. Fish passing through irrigation and hydro infrastructures during downstream migration experience a rapid decrease in pressure, which can lead to injuries (barotrauma) that contribute to mortality. There is renewed initiative to expand hydropower and irrigation infrastructure to improve water security and increase low-carbon energy generation. The impact of barotrauma on fish must be understood and mitigated to ensure that development is sustainable for fisheries. This will involve taking steps to expand the knowledge of barotrauma-related injury from its current focus, mainly on seaward-migrating juvenile salmonids of the Pacific Northwest, to incorporate a greater diversity of fish species and life stages from many parts of the world. This article summarizes research that has examined barotrauma during fish passage and articulates a research framework to promote a standardized, global approach. The suggested approach provides clearly defined links to adaptive development of fish friendly technologies, aimed at mitigating the threats faced by global freshwater fisheries from the rapid expansion of water infrastructure.


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Marilyn Williams, Training Technician, Conservation Science and Policy Branch, National Conservation Training Center at 304-876-7940; e-mail


Matthew Patterson, Course Leader, Conservation Science and Policy Branch, National Conservation Training Center at 304-876-7473; e-mail