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Passage performance and behaviour of wild and stocked cyprinid fish at a sloping weir with a Low Cost Baffle fishway.

Lothian, Angus J. and Gardner, Chris J. and Hull, Toby and Griffiths, Daniel and Dickinson, Eleanor R. and Lucas, Martyn C. (2019) 'Passage performance and behaviour of wild and stocked cyprinid fish at a sloping weir with a Low Cost Baffle fishway.', Ecological engineering., 130 . pp. 67-79.


Weir construction has fragmented many rivers, resulting in the exclusion of some fish populations from suitable habitat. A cheap retrofit fishway for small, sloping weirs is the Low Cost Baffle (LCB) solution – A series of notched baffles perpendicular to flow on the downstream weir face, generating an angled passage route across the weir face. To test the degree to which LCBs can pass upstream-moving, lowland-river fish at steep weirs, LCBs were fitted onto a 1:3.3-sloping gauging-weir face, in an urban tributary of the River Thames, England. The study also compared the passage of wild and stocked fish (the latter are employed to facilitate population recovery in restored English rivers). Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) antennas were positioned on the weir to record the upstream movement of PIT-tagged barbel (Barbus barbus; nstock = 120), chub (Squalius cephalus; nstock = 119; nwild = 194), dace (Leuciscus leuciscus; nwild = 50), and roach (Rutilus rutilus; nwild = 30). Over six months, more stocked fish attempted passage (58.9%) than wild (14.6%; χ21 = 26.7, p < 0.001), but there was no difference in successful passage of those that attempted (stock = 34.0%; wild = 40.0%; χ21 = 0.5, p = 0.49). Successful passage was achieved under a range of flow conditions. This study finds that LCBs have the potential to facilitate passage for cyprinid fishes at steep urban weirs that cannot readily be removed, but there is need for design improvements. This study also indicates that stocked and wild fish exhibited similar passage success, a finding with important management implications for achieving dispersal of stocked fish as a rehabilitation measure.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.
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Publisher statement:© 2019 This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Date accepted:09 February 2019
Date deposited:28 February 2019
Date of first online publication:14 February 2019
Date first made open access:14 February 2020

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