Eelway Exit Installation
Photograph by: C. Fox
Date of Photograph: May 31, 2012
Here you see our engineers installing the flexible joint that allows the eelway exit to float up and down as the river level naturally fluctuates. Eelways are complicated and differ from fish ladders significantly. An eelway must have a constant volume of water (2-5gals/min) flowing through it at all times. Typically water is pumped down the eelway by a solar powered pump. These pumps and solar panels are costly to maintain. At Horseshoe Falls a multitude of historic and logistical factors collided creating a need to find another way to maintain the constant water flow. River levels are always fluctuating. So we had to design a "floating" eelway exit, the first in the world to our knowledge. As the river rises and falls, so does the exit of the eelway. Its floatation device is balanced against its weight to allow only 2 to 5 gallons of water per minute to enter the eelway. There is no easy way to explain in writing the mechanics of this process, WPWA hopes to post a video in the near future that will explain in detail how the device works. This new technology was made possible thanks to the efforts of Fuss & O'Neill Design Build and the USGS. Once the device is fully field tested, its design specifications will be made publicly available at no cost so that future eel passage projects may benefit from our ingenuity.