Whooshh Innovations Pilots Novel Downstream Juvenile Guidance System

A new downstream guidance system may be a game changer for out-migrating smolt survival, in spite of the dams

April 12, 2024. Whooshh Innovations Inc., a Seattle, WA company that develops innovative solutions for fish passage, has installed a novel downstream juvenile guidance system at a high head dam. The system is designed to guide smolt migrating downstream to a specific location where safe passage can be assured.

The downstream guidance system installed is ~80 m wide, and 3 - 5 m deep. It crosses the forebay at an angle, such that the out-migrating smolt will be guided above the dam to one side of the forebay, the side which is furthest downstream and adjacent to a safe fishway. The promise and effect are to aggregate substantially more out-migrating smolt to a location which permits safer fish passage past the dam, with far less delay in the forebay, where smolt are often subject to higher predation and mortality.

The system, which was deployed on site in just three days, is a highly versatile solution for the common downstream passage problem. The company claims that when released commercially, the system will be economical, versatile, and highly adaptable to different dam configurations, forebay water fluctuations and out-migrating fish species. Please contact sales@whooshh.com if you are interested in being part of its pilot program.

Whooshh founder and CEO Vincent Bryan III said: “We are excited to finally have this downstream solution in the river. The days of rationalizing that one should not put in upstream passage because there is not a ready downstream solution are soon to be over.”

Such arguments have always relied on an overly simplistic understanding of the problem out-migrating smolt face when migrating to sea. This economical and versatile solution means we can all agree we should install upstream and downstream solutions as quickly as possible, instead of waiting decades for re-licensing or years of litigation over whether a dam must come down. We can give the fish a chance to recover sooner, and faster than the impacts of climate change are having on their river environments.

Whooshh expects that the in-river study will confirm its effectiveness and efficiency by significantly improving smolt passage and survival over the control groups, and that it will pave the way for faster adoption of its proprietary upstream and downstream solutions. The location of the installation will not be publicly disclosed until after the study is complete, to help protect the integrity of the independent study while in process.