Kleinschmidt Associates, an engineering, regulatory, and environmental consulting firm, has been selected by Holyoke Gas and Electric (HG&E) to conduct an extensive study on the movement and upstream passage of the Shortnose Sturgeon at the Holyoke Dam in Massachusetts, US.

The study aims to assess the efficiency of the fish passage infrastructure at the dam in facilitating the safe and timely migration of adult Shortnose Sturgeon. Kleinschmidt's team plans to employ an acoustic telemetry monitoring system to track approximately 70 sturgeons as they approach the dam and navigate through a fish lift to move upstream.

Working closely with HG&E, Kleinschmidt will focus on determining the most effective deployment strategy for the acoustic telemetry system, prioritizing equipment security and worker safety. The collected telemetry data will undergo meticulous analysis, and a comprehensive report detailing the individual movement records of the fish will be produced at the conclusion of the monitoring phase.

Bryan Apell, Project Manager and senior fisheries ecologist at Kleinschmidt, emphasized the critical role of habitat connectivity for the Connecticut River ecosystem, particularly for diadromous and potamodromous fish species that rely on it for their life cycles. “The Holyoke dam is the first mainstem dam on New England’s largest river, supporting a host of migratory fish runs. HG&E has been at the heart of the effort to improve habitat connectivity through safe and timely fish passage and protection at their hydroelectric facility,” he said.

Richard Murray, Dam Safety and Compliance Engineer at Holyoke Gas and Electric, added: “This has been an ongoing multi-year project that Kleinschmidt has assisted the Department with since 2017. Kleinschmidt has been a great partner with this project over the last several years.  Their expertise and collaborative style help to bring such an intricate multi-year effort to fruition.”

The study is expected to conclude in 2024.