Waneta Expansion Project – Sturgeon Exclusion Equipment

The Waneta Expansion Project is a second powerhouse at the Waneta Dam near Trail, B.C. It shares the existing hydraulic head of the dam and generates renewable, cost-effective power from water that would otherwise be spilled. It is located on the Pend d’Oreille River near the confluence with the Columbia River.

Challenges

The turbulent waters of the confluence create a perfect breeding habitat for the endangered white sturgeon, which are usually found in deeper, faster waters near the bottom of the riverbed. At Waneta, they tend to congregate at the bottom of the dam, near the draft tube outlet. There was a concern that they could swim into the turbine when the facility was offline, and then be injured by the turbine blades once it was re-started.

Solutions

To prevent sturgeon from entering the turbines, four exclusion screens are lowered into place at the tailrace when the facility is offline.

Successes

The sturgeon exclusion screens are believed to be a first in North America.