Combining Fish Passage and Sediment Bypassing: A Conceptual Solution for Increased Sustainability of Dams and Reservoirs

Anders Foldvik, Ana T. Silva, Ismail Albayrak, Kordula Schwarzwälder, Robert M. Boes, Nils Ruther

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Sedimentation is one of the main eco-morphological and technological challenges associated with reservoirs. Sedimentation not only reduces the functional capacity of a reservoir by filling it, but also changes downstream sediment dynamics and habitat availability for the aquatic biota. Additionally, dams hinder free bi-directional fish passage, emerging as a major threat to species of migratory fish. In the past decades, mitigation measures aimed at reducing such environmental and technological impacts have been developed. Sediment bypass tunnels (SBTs) have been shown to successfully help prevent reservoir sedimentation, whereas fish passages have been found to be potential solutions to facilitate bi-directional passage of fish. However, the construction of such structures, in particular of SBT, can be extremely costly. The development of design solutions that can function both for downstream sediment transport and up-and downstream fish passage should be considered as they can mitigate ecological deficiencies of reservoir operations while accounting for economic feasibility. Possibilities and challenges of combining SBT and fish passage were explored by bringing together a team of interdisciplinary specialists on hydraulics, sediment transport and continuity, bypassing, hydraulic structures, hydropower engineering, aquatic biology, and fish passage in a two-day workshop. Here, we present potential solutions identified during the workshop for integrating SBT and fish passage.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1977
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • fish migration
  • fish passage
  • reservoir sedimentation
  • river continuum
  • sediment bypassing


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