Home 5 Ag Stories There are better alternatives to removing dams in agricultural states

There are better alternatives to removing dams in agricultural states

Photo of Gavins Point Dam is courtesy of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers/Flickr.

When it comes to dams in rivers, it’s a pretty fishy situation. Ag states with dams in their rivers are continuously hearing conversations about the problems the dams cause for migrating fish, but the proposed solutions aren’t typically good for agriculture. So how can we find a solution to benefit the fish as well as our agriculture when it comes to the dams?

Merck Animal Health researcher, Chris Beasley says their new Hyper InfusiO2n solutions help salmon find their fish ladders with more stable and dissolvable oxygen in the water.

“That’s actually one of the real values of this technology because the way that it operates, we’re actually removing nitrogen and other trace gases that are dissolved in the water and replacing them at a one-to-one molecular rate with oxygen. So, the oxygen truly goes into the solution. It’s immediately available for fish respiration and it’s also remarkably stable because we aren’t simply trying to put more gas and water that’s already saturated with other gases.”

Beasley mentions, this makes it easier and safer for the salmon.

“These fish ladders span vast distances, so I kind of look at this like getting a glass of water when you’re running a marathon. You know, you have those little stations where you can take a quick sip of water and move on. So, I’d view this oxygenated water moving through the fish ladder in a very similar way. So, fish are able to pass with lower mortality and, when they get to the top of the fish ladder, they’re in better condition.”

Beasley talks about a lot of work that has gone into this.

We’re really excited about the potential for this to, you know, help offset whatever mortality might be attributed to the dams.”

They’ve noticed a 1,200 percent increase in fish passage through the dam over a four-year period. He also says even if society moves in a different direction than dams for river management, it will take a long time to get there. He also mentions that this is the best alternative in the meantime for managing rivers and the fish that swim through them.