Construction of water regulatory structures has led to a worldwide increase in the number of low-level weirs (barriers across rivers), which impede fish movements. Almost all freshwater fish are migratory and undertake small and large-scale migrations to access spawning, feeding, and nursery habitats. As such, any water development activity must allow the free passage of fish to enable completion of essential life stages. Criteria for the design and operation of water management structures have been well defined in North America and Australia, but no similar data currently exists which demonstrates safe passage of any Lower Mekong fish species through a hydro plant. This incomplete information regarding potential ‘baseline’ environmental impacts at existing structures, and the possibilities of using innovative technologies to minimize impacts, is a major impediment to the informed management of sustainable irrigation and mini hydro systems.MK15 worked to determine the preliminary, but very necessary, work to determine the engineering design criteria needed to allow fish to migrate past in-stream barriers with minimal injury or mortality in the Lower Mekong Basin (LMB). The project was a critical first step in ensuring mini-hydro development can proceed, thus helping to reduce rural poverty, in a way that maintains fisheries sustainability and diversity.
Video: Fish Passage Experiments
Garry Thorncraft, Oudom Phonekhampheng, Lee Baumgartner, Kate Martin, Brett Pflugrath, Rich Brown, Daniel (Zhiqun) Deng, Craig Boys, and Anna Navarro
Final report for MK15
MK15 was a CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food initiative supported by funding from Australian Aid.
January 2012 to December 2013