Thompson Announces $875,000 for UC Davis Fish Passage Project

Press Release


Washington – Today, Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-04) announced that the University of California, Davis is receiving $875,000 for a project on the passage of white sturgeon through a hydro turbine.

“Preserving wildlife populations while advancing clean energy projects is an important balance, and UC Davis is leading the way in researching safe passage for wildlife,” said Thompson. “Proud that UC Davis is receiving a grant from the Department of Energy to research ways to maximize clean energy while ensuring that wildlife populations and biodiversity is protected. UC Davis is a world class research university and they are incredibly deserving of this grant.”

"Migration past hydropower turbines is often a deadly event for fishes,” said Nann Fangue, chair of the UC Davis Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology and principal investigator on the research project. “We are excited to partner with Natel Energy Inc. to test the safety of new hydropower turbine designs as a possible solution to reconciling the energy needs of people with the habitat needs of wildlife."

The project led by UC Davis will assess the ability of Natel Energy’s Restoration Hydro Turbine to enable safe turbine passage of White Sturgeon, one of California’s charismatic native fishes. This laboratory research will provide valuable information to turbine designers and operators and fish regulators to maximize renewable energy production and protect biodiversity.

Turbine testing will be conducted at Natel Energy’s headquarters in Alameda, CA. The fish will be raised on campus, where researchers will gather samples and conduct data analysis.

This investment in fish passage and protection technologies will help fish move safely through hydropower facilities to reduce environmental impacts and restore fish population levels, supporting hydropower’s sustainability as our country pursues the goal of a carbon-free electric grid by 2035 and a net-zero-emissions economy by 2050.

These projects were selected as part of the Water Power Technologies Office’s Advancing Fish Passage and Protection Technologies funding opportunity.