The actions bring together the main stages of the project. They are defined in advance with partners and the European Union. You can find all the actions below.

Preparatory actions

This action allows to define to define the basic elements of the project as the definition of the study area, the areas targeted, the common terms used, the objectives of the project, the scale of the study according to the river sections studied as well as the methods and devices to improve species migration.

Definition and nomenclature terms need to be clearly expressed, defined and shared between all the partners. Especially, terms relating to the efficiency estimation or measure of the different actions. By example, a device is qualified as efficient if the escapement of the turbine is at least/average/median x%, including or not the mortality rate of the passage through a bypass, …

Several topics have already been identified:

  • Topic 1: Defining the terms relating to ecological continuity
  • Topic 2: Defining the various devices or measures that will be used to restore ecological continuity.
  • Topic 3: Defining each type of 'effectiveness' (and how it will be assessed).

Additional topics may emerge during the firths meetings of the Scientific Committee (SCICO).

All the partners will play a role in defining and classifying the terms used, as proposed in LARINIER, M., TRAVADE, F., PORCHER, J. P., et al. Passes à poissons: expertise et conception des ouvrages de franchissement. This action will be completed in the first months following the launch of the project. A scientific committee, including at least one representative from each partner, will meet during the first year of the project for this purpose. Two meetings lasting three days will take place during the first year:

  • First meeting: Listing and definition of all the terms, concepts, methods, etc.
  • Second meeting: Reviewing and approving the structure of the document.

The university of Namur and Profish had to define the biological elements necessary for the project. They collected a stock of individuals in the different sections studied, estimate the number of individuals in these sections and describe the health and physiological state of the fish at the start of migration and when they reached the structures.

This action aims to develop fishing capacities to constitute a stock of migratory fish to be used for the studies conducted in action D2 and for determining the biological condition of the fish during migration (actions D1 and D4), with the following specific goals:

  • Establish a stock of adult eels, as close to their silver stage as possible, and Atlantic salmon at their smolt stage, collected in different stretches of the Meuse catchment basin.
  • Provide relative estimates of the stock of migrating fish, either in different stretches of the Meuse itself or in the major tributaries (Ourthe, Lesse, Sambre).
  • Describe the biological condition of the sampled fish to develop a detailed reference base listing their physiological and health status and their ability to migrate, both before they migrate downstream and once they reach the passes.

Sampling techniques:

The sampling of the migratory fish will be performed using a combination of electrofishing and hoop net fishing techniques for the eels and electrofishing supplemented with trap surveys during downstream migration for the salmon. The monitoring of downstream migration by acoustic telemetry will use a total of 750 fish tags over 2 monitoring years. Over a single monitoring year, 375 tags are used to cover 2 species, so around 187 tags per species. A reasonable target catching number of each species for telemetry purposes is 250 individuals per species.

Eels: The sampling sites will be chosen on the Meuse itself, upstream from the pilot sites, based on an analysis of the Service Public de Wallonie ichthyological database. The rock embankments are specifically targeted because eel populations usually live there. The electrofishing will take place from a boat. Hoop nets designed specifically for eel fishing will be placed along embankments and islands for 24- to 48-hour periods. In Meuse tributaries, electrofishing will take place on foot, hoop nets will be placed and the caught eels will be marked with PIT tags for eel stocks estimation purpose. This technique, using the CMR (capture-mark-recapture) method developed by Peterson (1896) and modified by Fromont and Desouhant (2005) has been used successfully at several sites on the Lesse during previous projects conducted recently by UNamur (Roland et al. 2015). Some recent trials of catching large eels in the River Meuse, using our described method, succeeded to catch around 43 eels in one catch effort covering a linear habitat of 1 km. Among them, 17 fish were close to or larger than 70 cm. Based on these data, it becomes reasonable to assume that a quantity of 15 to 20 catching efforts can be necessary to reach an approximate quantity of 250 eels.

In addition, capturing stations will be placed at 3 of the 6 EDF Luminus sites upstream from the plants. Nets will be operated with appropriately sized automated lifting devices. The captures will take place at off-hours (16.00-00.00), nocturnal periods being preferred by migrating eels.

Salmon: Electrofishing method at various sites on the Ourthe (where SPW releases salmon parr and smolts) as well as during downstream migration in spring, by trapping them at the Méry hydropower plant, will be carried out. The capture of 250 salmon smolts in migration is not a problem, as some years, a few thousands smolts are caught only in the Mery downstream trap in the Ourthe River.

Assessing the biological condition and health status of resident fish

1. General morphology, health status and radiography:

In addition to biometric indicators, the general health status will be determined through an external exam. It will consist in observing various clinical signs. The proportion of injured individuals as well as estimates of the size of the injuries will be calculated for the resident fish, so that a reference base may be established to be compared to the state of the fishes that pass through the water turbines or found downstream of the sites. The biological analyses will be innovative, aiming to precisely determine the indirect effects that occur when fish pass through the hydropower facilities. To that end, the assessment of their health status will be supplemented with an x-ray examination, revealing any internal damage to specific organs, particularly the spinal column or the swim bladder.

For eels the degree of silvering is an important parameter to accurately calculate the proportion of silver eels that are capable of migrating. The silvering indicator will be determined according to the method developed by Durif (2003), based on an inference of the biometrical indicators and attributes such as the diameter of the left eye and the length of the left pectoral fin. In order to accurately describe the comparative health status of the fish before they travel through the water turbines or the bypass, we will create a pathological code for each individual based on the severity of the injuries and their location according to the ONEMA health guidelines (Girard and Elie, 2007). This will be supplemented with testing for the Eel Herpes Virus (through RT-PCR in real time), using non-invasive testing involving blood samples from a few individuals.

2. Physiological and immune system analyses

In addition to the immediate impact of the turbines on the physiological condition and the immune system, we will assess the medium- to long-term response of fish kept for 3 to 4 weeks in fish ponds or cages. Only salmon smolts will be used for these confined tests because they are less sensitive than eels to the stress that may arise from being caged.

Physiological analyses will be conducted on a few individuals to test for stress markers such as HSPs in the liver and specific neurotransmitters in the brain, combined with certain behavioral indicators (point 3). Organs (kidneys or spleen) from the same individuals will be used to study the capacity for immune defense by analyzing the expression of different genes associated with immunity: proinflammatory cytokines (Il-1, Il-6 and TNFa), lysozyme and complement C3.

The mortality rate for each condition will be determined during the confinement tests and the causes of mortality will be analyzed in collaboration with a referenced laboratory on fish pathology.

3. Swimming ability and bioenergetic attributes

The hydropower obstacles may negatively affect swim performance, to the detriment of the migratory success of the fish, but few studies have assessed this type of effect. The upstream and downstream confinement systems for the salmon smolts will enable to employ an innovative approach that will provide quantitative data.

The swimming performance of groups of individuals from each condition/repetition will be assessed in a swim tunnel, measuring the optimal and maximum speeds and oxygen consumption relative to the maximum swim effort. Other individuals will be used to describe behavioral responses, such as escape speed when confronted with predators, a willingness to take risks, and aggressiveness and locomotion tests.

In order to prepare the deployment of the solutions on our structures, the university of Liège studied the behaviour of smolts when approaching our structures and built physical and digital models allowing the solutions to be dimensioned.

This action aims to apply hydraulic modelling techniques with a three-fold objective:

  • Describe the flow conditions approaching pilot sites 1 and 2 to establish the correlations between the hydraulic parameters and the behavior of the fish at the site. This step will make it possible to design suitable bypass solutions (Actions C1 and C2).
  • Improve the effectiveness of bypass and downstream migration solutions by correlation to a knowledge basis of the salmon smolts behaviour function of the hydrodynamic conditions.
  • Compare the hydraulic variables with the behavior of the specimens observed in points 1 and 2 in order to improve the rules for designing and optimizing on-site systems (Action C4).

The use of modeling eliminates on site experimental limitations, as lack of control of flow conditions on site, also avoids significant costs related to necessary equipment during examinations on site. The models will consider a wide range of variation of parameters, increasing the relevance of the solutions that will be deployed following these analytical works.

Types of hydraulic models

In light of the HECE-ULg experiment, the hydraulic models for pilot sites 1 and 2 will include a combination of numerical and physical models. These approaches to modelling, much more flexible and easier to implement than field surveys, are able to deliver very high quality results for the entire range of operating configurations at the facilities.

Determination of the bypass/downstream migration criteria

The trajectories tracked at the site, found using the behavioral monitoring data, will be compared with the numerical hydrodynamic fields to determine or confirm the correlations near the areas of interest, which will then serve as the basis for an effective bypass/downstream migration system (fish concentration area, preferred downstream migration route, etc.). Research on hydrodynamic criteria will be conducted in partnership with ProFish.

Design and approval of bypass/downstream migration solutions

The data needed to design and develop an effective bypass/downstream migration system will be available once the modelling phases have been completed for the sites to be equipped. Using the correlations from the previous phases, we will begin the process for designing a system that will comply with the relevant criteria in terms of the fish behavior observed upstream of the dam.

Behavioral studies

The behavior of the fish under hydraulic conditions similar to those encountered at the study sites must be properly understood in order to design effective bypass/downstream migration systems. This behavior is difficult to assess through in situ testing because it is dependent on both the characteristics of the fish and the local hydraulic conditions, which are rarely fully understood. The equipment for physical modelling available at the ULg Hydraulic Constructions Laboratory - HECE can be used to reproduce the various flow conditions found near the study site in a perfectly controlled environment. Thus, by performing the tests in a lab with real fish, it is possible to concentrate exclusively on the relationship between their behavior and the hydrodynamic variables. This phase of the project is more exploratory than the previous stages. Its relevance has nevertheless been proven by benchmark studies, particularly for designing upstream migration structures (fish passes). To our knowledge, no one has yet conducted tests specifically focusing on the attractiveness of downstream migration structures.

Given the unprecedented nature of this study phase and the availability of specimens, we plan to concentrate on salmon smolts. The tests will aim to characterize the behavior of the fish when presented with attractive currents with variable hydraulic characteristics (particularly velocity gradient and amplitude) in a variety of geometric configurations (position of the flow intake, geometry of the intake), with the goal being to improve the designs for downstream migration structures like those identified for the pilot sites.

EDF R&D has carried out studies in order to know the migratory behaviours of individuals to downstream and to know the peaks of migration based on field observations and literature.

The downstream migration periods for large systems seem less precisely defined than for smaller systems, and this is particularly true for eels. Over the past ten years, several projects monitoring the downstream migration of eels have been conducted, some of which are still ongoing. An extensive bibliography and many monitoring reports are available on the topic of downstream smolt migrations.

Analysis of the downstream migration dynamic

The goal of this action will be to conduct a thorough study of the downstream migration dynamic, using in situ and bibliographic data describing the environmental conditions and management methods of the hydropower plants. The large water systems will be priority targets. The data from monitoring downstream migration on the Meuse will be integrated into the study. We will reveal the attributes shared by the various waterways that are associated with peaks in downstream migration.

Model for predicting peaks in downstream migration

A model for predicting peaks in downstream migration will be developed based on the results of the preceding analysis. The aim is to create a model capable of being applied to different types of waterways. With such a model in hand, it will be possible to propose rules for plant turbines so as to optimize the survival rates for migrating individuals and turbine flow rates. To accomplish this, it will be necessary to first collaborate on choosing a target escapement rate based on the survival rate for smolts and eels for each plant and each type of turbine. This model will make it possible to run through a large number of scenarios, for instance, in terms of plant management methods or changes in turbine mortality rates. This model could then be used by all European electrical operators for implementation of solutions taking into account the peaks downstream migration of species.

Concrete observation actions

This action consists of supplying, installing, implementing, operating, and maintaining bypass systems at pilot site. Behavioral barriers and an outlet must allow fish to bypass the installations.

Site selection

The site's choice is definitely approuved by the STEERCO, accounting for the structure's impact on fish fauna and on the ability to reproduce the site conditions. STEERCO will use the results of a downstream migration patterns and mortality campaign, which started in 2016 before LIFE application, to make a decision.

The preparatory actions described above will provide a comprehensive initial state for silver eel and salmon smolts populations in the Lower Meuse, as well as a description of the behavior and mortality rate at hydropower facilities. Based on this, a review of the equipment solutions, listing advantages and disadvantages of solutions currently available on the market, will be submitted to the STEERCO to approve the chosen solutions.

The planned location for pilot site 1 is Grands-Malades. The site has been pre-selected for its impact, being the first site receiving fishes from the upstream stretch, and for its replicability, given its simple configuration and its operation conditions, similar to the Andenne, Ampsin-Neuville and Lixhe sites.

Partners of the consortium have an extensive experience of implementing actions and measures on the Meuse river. At the time this project is submitted to the LIFE program, the analysis carried out on the administrative procedure needed to implement the work shows that no specific authorization or permit is required. This will be further assessed and, if necessary, cleared, before implementation actions start.

Behavioral barrier

Based on the more than ten years of combined experience by the EDF Group and ProFish, and the operations tests in the field and in the lab, the solution chosen for the project is an electric barrier.

A new technology known as NEPTUN, developed by the Polish company PROCOM SYSTEM, has yielded promising initial results. The configuration of the plant intakes, as a lateral diversion of the Meuse, is particularly well-suited to implementing this type of technology.

NEPTUN generates a progressive electric gradient from the positive to the negative electrode. A low voltage current is used (60 V), which reduces the risk of electrocution, in contrast to traditional systems using several hundred volts levels. Electrical pulses are generated and their characteristics (amplitude, frequency, duration, etc.) may be adjusted to local conditions. The electrical field increases as the fish approaches. The animal does not feel any shock and there is no adverse impact on its ability to swim. The solution does not negatively impact the environment or plant life.

Initial biological results obtained at a hydropower plant on a reservoir in Poland showed an over 80% effectiveness. Other tests involving a variety of species and applications are underway in the USA.

In order to adapt the barrier to the local environment, we must include a calibration phase that will optimize its effectiveness.

The behavioral barrier will be placed at the entrance to the water supply channel of the power plant to divert the fish toward a properly calibrated pass. The installation process consists mainly of positioning the cables to which the electrodes will be attached and connecting the power supply cord. This type of barrier must be placed in a line that forms a 20- to 25-degree angle with respect to the entrance to the channel.

The EDF Luminus technical team will be in charge of positioning and operating the barrier. The developer will help optimize the functioning of the barrier. With its easy installation, this system uses very little power and requires only light maintenance.

If other technologies were available at the time the project was being implemented, a bidding process would be launched to select the best option.

Downstream fish pass

The barrier will be coupled with a downstream fish pass. The site configuration allows repurposing the drainage channel, formerly used for evacuating waste and floating debris, into a downstream fish pass. Great attention will be paid to the water supply and entrance of the pass. A specific valve system will be put in place to adjust the supply flow and the size of the entrance to maximize the effectiveness of the solution.

The pass must therefore be carefully sized to create an attraction flow that is sufficient to draw the species to the pass without causing excessive losses of hydro-electric power. We will create a non-turbulent flow with moderate acceleration, avoiding counter current or ascending current creation.

Current pass dimensions envisaged are a 2,4 - 2,8 m width and a 60 cm height. In terms of flow rate, the literature indicates that the recommended minimum flow rate through the pass should be 2% to 8% of the maximum turbine flow rate, with the lower range more suited to large hydropower facilities like those involved in the project. The dimensions will be further refined using the hydrodynamic model developed in action A3. This prototype installation will be designed according to the following 3 steps:

  • Initial description of the flow conditions for the entire stretch located upstream of a given site. Because of the complexity of instantaneous flows in each stretch due to the series of operations at the facilities both upstream and downstream of the stretch (sluices, dams, plants), this will require developing and utilizing a comprehensive 1D numerical model.
  • The obtained results will allow determining the boundary conditions for a localized 2D model, spatially distributed across the entire width of the stretch near the facilities. Distributions of the instantaneous hydrodynamic fields encountered by the fish will thus be obtained, which will be correlated with the measured/observed behaviors at the site.
  • A detailed 3D description of the local flow conditions is nevertheless necessary to design the fish pass. A physical scale model will be created and operated at the Hydraulic Constructions

Laboratory at ULg. Incorporating the boundary conditions from the two previous numerical models, this will allow reproducing, in a controlled environment, the operating conditions for the facilities being studied. After the design phase, the bypass solution will be implemented on the scale model for final validation.

Strong engineering expertise is needed to define this pass: civil engineering for modifications to the chute, hydraulics for the water flow, mechanics for the valves and related automation. EDF Luminus will draw on the expertise developed by the EDF Group at the hydraulic engineering center (CIH) and the R&D department to build and size this structure.

Schedule

Work on pilot site 1 is planned at low water period 2018, to be operational early 2019, ready for action D2. The definitive choice of the work to be completed will be approved by the STEERCO at the start of 2018.

This action consists of supplying, installing, implementing and maintaining bypass systems at a pilot site in order to allow silver eels and salmon smolts to migrate downstream.

Site selection

The pilot site 2 will be approuved according to the same procedure as the one followed for pilot site 1.

The planned location for pilot site 2 is Ivoz-Ramet. The site has been pre-selected for its replicability potential, with its two large sites equipped with vertically mounted Kaplan turbines, which is the same configuration as the ones at Monsin site. The selection of Ivoz-Ramet also takes into account the various planned improvements for the Monsin site (replacing turbines, renovating the dam) that could skew the measurement campaigns at that site.

Behavioral barrier

Based on the extensive experimental findings available in the scientific literature and operational testing in the field and in the lab, the solution chosen for the LIFE4FISH project is a bubble curtain.

Submerged air bubble curtains form a linear barrier that not only reduces sound but can also be used to control the movements of fish and direct them away from pilings, water intakes, hydropower dams or contaminated areas. The barrier comprises a PVC pipe pierced with holes and positioned on the bottom of the channel. Compressed air is forced into the pipe, creating a bubble curtain that discourages fish from crossing. By installing the bubble curtain in a strategic location at dams, water intakes or other engineered structures, it is possible to redirect the fish to a specially designed ladder. Strobe lights and low-frequency sounds can be integrated into the system to redirect the fish to safe locations or prevent them from entering water intake channels.

Experiments conducted in the lab at COB-Brest demonstrated the effectiveness of the method when combined with an element of surprise (alternating between off and on). The system helps reduce the pass rate in an aquarium by around 99% (from 120 passes/min without a barrier to less than 1 pass/min after several hours of habituation with a bubble curtain). The most conclusive results were obtained using a pipe pierced with holes measuring 0.5 mm in diameter. These were positioned every 15 cm and combined with air pressure in excess of 2 bars. These experiments also show that a 'no man's land' is created near the curtain (approximately 50 cm).

The effectiveness of this technology, if demonstrated at the Meuse pilot site, could be harnessed for diverting animals from the water intake channels at hydropower plants and any other waterways that have an impact on the migratory movements of the species in question (canals, industrial water intake channels, etc.).

The proposed barrier will comprise a PVC pipe pierced with holes measuring 0.5 mm in diameter and placed every 15 cm. The pipe will be positioned near the area that we hope to render inaccessible to the species. Air will be intermittently injected using a compressor with a pressure ranging from 1.5 to 2.5 bars so as to limit acclimatization. The characteristics of these pulses (amplitude, frequency, duration, etc.) may be adjusted to local conditions. As the repulsion is both visual and acoustic, the fish does not feel a shock and there is no adverse impact on its ability to swim. No moving or electrical mechanical part will be located in the water. The barrier does not negatively impact the environment or plant life. As the pressure prevents clogging, the pipe requires minimal maintenance.

In order to adapt the barrier to the environment in which it will be used, we must include a calibration phase that will determine the optimal level of effectiveness in terms of the adjustable parameters (amplitude, frequency, duration, etc.).

The behavioral barrier will be placed upstream of the power plant at the entrance to the water supply channel in order to divert the fish toward a properly calibrated pass.

The EDF Luminus technical teams will be in charge of positioning the barrier. The manufacturer will help optimize the functioning of the barrier. With its easy installation, this system limits the risks associated with operations and maintenance, as it uses very little power and requires only light maintenance.

Downstream fish pass

The barrier will be coupled with a downstream fish pass located at the dam. The escapement opening will be created in the waterway that is closest to the hydropower plant, reducing the distance that must be travelled between the electric barrier and the pass. The latter will be altered following the same recommendations and uses as described in action C1.

The modification to the waterway must be completed during the low water period, the time of year when the level of the waterway is at the lowest point for the stretch. After the opening has been created, actuating cylinders must be installed. These will be used to adjust the height of the pass opening. The work on the valve will require heavy equipment, such as cranes weighing several tons, in order to handle the equipment. Securing the work area, which is located near a river, will involve installing adequate life-lines and scaffolding.

Engineering expertise will be needed to complete this pass: civil engineering for making modifications to the waterway, hydraulics for studying the water flow, mechanics for installing the valves and automation for adjusting the valve controls. EDF Luminus will draw on the expertise developed by the EDF Group at the hydraulic engineering center (CIH) and the R&D department to build and size this structure.

As part of the procurement process, EDF Luminus will issue a call for tenders for the study and completion of the downstream fish pass.

Schedule

The work on pilot site 2 is planned for the low water period of 2018, so that it will be operational as from early 2019, ensuring that the monitoring studies listed in action D2 can be performed. The definitive choice of the work to be completed will be approved by the STEERCO at the start of 2018.

In order to optimize the results, Luminus and EDF R&D are studying a predictive model for downstream migration peaks. With this system, the installations will be controlled remotely in order to stop it to reduce the impact on the populations.

Actions C1 and C2 make it possible to implement and utilize fish-friendly water intake channels comprising a fish deterrent, guidance to a transfer system and transport downstream of the structure. Even at maximum efficiency, these types of devices will not entirely prevent individuals from passing into the turbines of the power plants.

Thus, in combination with the solutions listed above, the project will implement a third solution whose purpose is to predict the peak downstream migration periods and reduce mortality rates for fish passing through the hydropower turbines. This solution consists of determining when the operation of turbines must be adjusted or stopped, based on the intensity of the downstream migration events or peaks.

As explained in Action A4, there is currently only one model for predicting the downstream migration periods that can be used for operational management purposes. This model was developed as part of the work conducted in France by the Museum d’Histoire Naturelle (research and educational center for coastal systems – CRESCO) and EDF R&D related to predicting downstream migration periods for silver eels, and applied experimentally on the Loire. The experimental results demonstrate that more than 80% of the downstream migration peaks are effectively predicted by the model.

Based on these experience and on historical data on the Meuse river, a Meuse model will be developed during the first year of the project. It will be tested (in operational conditions) during the first telemetry survey (2019). Including this new telemetry data, the model will be further optimized in 2020. We plan to include a turbine management parameter to increase the escapement. During the second telemetry campaign (2021), the model will be tested in real time. In 2021, an in-depth assessment of the model’s efficiency will be conducted.

This type of system employs a model that uses experimental and temporal variables: flow rate, daily variability of the flow rate, turbidity or light values, as described in Action A4. The two most influential attributes are the light values and the daily variability of the flow rate.

The model will be adjusted according to the results of the fishing performed in action A2 in order to identify certain parameters and compare the modelling results with the experimental results. Post-adjustment analyses will be used to assess the quality of the model.

Based on the value of the environmental variables for day X, the model will estimate the variation in the density of migrating eels for day X+1. If turbine operators take this information into account, they can manage electricity production to account for the migration activities of the animals. Different threshold values after which turbine activities must be reduced will be tested. These thresholds should not be too low, as this would result in an excessive drop in electricity production, nor too high, as this would lead to unacceptably low survival rates.

An automated system for predicting downstream migration peaks will be created and implemented to aid in the decision-making process. This automated system will comprise, in addition to the model described above, a bank of historical data on environmental conditions and the results of fishing campaigns, providing operators with access to individual threshold estimates for migrating species. With access to a prediction covering the next 24 hours, operators can make informed decisions and they will have time to perform the required actions. It should be noted that a training period is needed for operators to familiarize themselves with this new aspect of managing the plant so that they can access the recorded values going forward. Based on the only ongoing experiment in France, it is estimated that it will take the operators a few months to integrate this type of tool for predicting downstream migration peaks into their operating strategies.

The number of hours that the turbines are stopped will be subject to monitoring in action D3.

This action will lead to the implementation of an automated system for predicting migration periods that will be activated at critical times, from early March to late May for salmonids and early September to late February for eels. The main objective is to create operational rules for the turbine management according to the forecast model of migration peaks. The aim of this operational management is to increase the escapement by adjusting the turbine discharge and by increasing the barrier efficiency. Based on our experience, the operational model will mainly be based on the gradient of the river discharge (temporal series) and the ratio between the turbine and the rivers discharges. From the river discharge forecast and measurements, the model will produce turbine operation rules.

EDF manages a more simplistic model on the Dordogne River. Based on a dedicated fishery result and telemetry survey, a forecast model has been developed. Today, the model is operational and the turbines are shutdown if the model forecasts a migration peak. The new model for the Meuse River will integrate much more parameters (fish activities, telemetry, water levels, the turbidity, luminosity and temperature) and will allow for a gradient reduction of turbine rotation as well as an increase of the fish outlets and behavioural barriers use. In a first stage, the system will provide guidance to the human operator of the hydroelectric plant, but not override his decisions because of safety obligations (flooding, water traffic). An automatization may be installed further if all security issues could be managed.

A report will be written after each migration period in order to estimate the number of hours the turbines were actually stopped and the CO2 emissions levels. The impact on the mortality rate and on downstream migration behavior more broadly will be assessed as well.

The creation and installation of the automated systems will be outsourced to subcontractors through open calls for tender. The specifications for the systems will be written using expertise from EDF R&D, which developed the downstream migration model. The automated system will be installed in the unique plant control room that controls all the 6 hydropower plants. Operators will attend a two-day training session led by EDF R&D where they will learn to use the system.

Lastly, this action will be used to demonstrate the in situ performance of the system, help articulate the strategy for extracting value from the innovation and work toward a broader dissemination of this solution.

This action consists of supplying, installing, implementing, and maintaining a comprehensive solution of bypass systems to achieve downstream migration goals for silver eels and salmon smolts on the Lower Meuse.

Selection process for implemented solutions

The bypass methods will be selected for each of the 6 sites on the Lower Meuse. The methods will be chosen from various types of behavioral barriers, downstream fish passes and use of the predictive automated system tested during the pilot tests described in actions C1 to C3. The downstream migration behavior measured in action D2 will be considered, along with the results of the tests on mortality caused by passing through the turbines at different sites conducted prior to the project.

Prioritization of the sites

Not all of the solutions will be implemented at each site. The deployment in this action focuses on overall goals for the Lower Meuse, both in terms of mortality rates and of productivity losses at the plants. Based on these goals and the available budget, the most extensively modified sites will be prioritized according to:

  • The position of the site along the downstream migration route: The solutions to be applied and the sites will be selected to maintain the continuity of the downstream migration. We will avoid having an insurmountable barrier in the middle of the main downstream migration routes identified in the actions conducted prior to the project.
  • The number of fish passing through the site: The sites located downstream of the main tributaries will be given precedence due to the number of fish that cross the structures. The main tributaries will be determined based on the stocks study performed in action D1 and the most recent data on the extent of the fish restocking activities carried out by the SPW.
  • The relative influence of the solutions applied at the site on the overall mortality rates for the Lower Meuse: Significantly reducing the impact at one site does not necessarily reduce the impact on the Lower Meuse as a whole. The influence of local solutions on overall mortality will be subject of simulations. These simulations will incorporate all of the data produced by the pilot site tests (action D1) as well as the descriptive actions conducted prior to the project. The numerical model developed in A3 will also be used to extrapolate the results of the pilot sites to the hydrodynamic conditions of the other sites.
  • The site production capacity: The decision on which bypass solutions to apply will take into account their impact on overall productivity loss. Solutions that result in smaller losses will be used at highly productive sites and solutions that result in more significant losses will be used at less productive sites.
  • The direct mortality rate for the hydropower plant: The selection of bypass solutions will depend on the mortality rate for each site prior to the implementation of the solutions. More intensive bypass solutions will be used at sites with the highest direct mortality rates. This decision will also take into account any ongoing plans to replace normal turbines with fish-friendly turbines. These turbines may reduce the need for escapement at these sites.
  • The ease and efficiency of the implementation of the chosen solutions: When selecting solutions, the technical constraints for each site must be considered. The pilot solutions may be adapted to conform to these local constraints. The numerical model developed in action A3 could be used to evaluate the impact of these modifications on the effectiveness of the solution.

Prior assessment of the solutions to be implemented

At the time of submission, the direct mortality rates for each site, assessed using the Larinier formulae, and the escapement rate, calculated using the distribution of flow rates among the structures, were used to estimate the mortality rates for each site. Comparing these data with estimates of migrating stocks (quantity and distribution), the overall mortality rates along the Lower Meuse are found to be 9% of the salmon smolts stock and 67% of the silver eels stock. The solutions must primarily benefit the latter species, though they will improve the situation for both species.

Based on prior testing and the literature on the topic,

  • the effect of a behavioral barrier alone is estimated to be a 10% increase in bypassing with no loss of productivity
  • the effect of a downstream fish pass alone is estimated to be a 15% increase in bypassing with a 5% loss of productivity
  • the effect of a behavioral barrier combined with a downstream fish pass is estimated to be a 20% increase in bypassing with a 5% loss of productivity
  • the effect of using a predictive automated system to stop the turbines is estimated to be an 80% increase in bypassing with a 15% loss of productivity
  • the effect of a fish-friendly turbine is estimated to be a direct mortality rate of 10% for silver eels and 5% for salmon smolts.

Based on these findings, planned modifications include:

  • installing a behavioral barrier combined with a downstream fish pass at the Grands-Malades and Andenne sites
  • installing a behavioral barrier at the Ampsin-Neuville and Monsin sites
  • applying the predictive automated system at the Ampsin-Neuville, Ivoz-Ramet, Monsin and Lixhe sites management
  • implementing fish-friendly turbines at the Ivoz-Ramet and Monsin sites

All these actions will make it possible to achieve the desired goals. The above listed modifications were used to calculate the budget for this action, according to the reuse of the equipment put in place during actions C1 and C2. The fish-friendly turbines implementation is realized outside the scope of the LIFE programme, as explained in B3.

The EDF Luminus technical team will be in charge of positioning the barriers. The manufacturer will help optimize the functioning of the barriers. With its easy installation, this system limits the risks associated with operation and maintenance, as it uses very little power and requires only light maintenance.

Strong engineering expertise is needed to define the passes: civil engineering for modifications to the chute, hydraulics for the water flow, mechanics for the valves and related automation. EDF Luminus will draw on the expertise developed by the EDF Group at the hydraulic engineering center (CIH) and the R&D department to build and size these structures.

Schedule

The work on the sites is planned for the low water period of 2020 so that they will be operational from early 2021 on, ensuring that the monitoring studies listed in action D2 can be performed.

Monitoring

The goal of this action is to track the indicators and assess the impact of the LIFE4FISH project. The results obtained will be used in the actions involving the dissemination of the results and their replicability and transferability. The indicator values will be compiled and consolidated.

The goal of this action is to track the indicators and assess the impact of the LIFE4FISH project. The results obtained will be used in the actions involving the dissemination of the results and their replicability/transferability (actions E1 and E2). The indicator values will be compiled and consolidated in action F2.

The following indicators will be monitored throughout the project and for five years afterwards:

Indicator 1: Mortality rate for silver eels throughout the Belgian Lower Meuse

  • Goal for the end of the project: 20%
  • Monitoring method: The estimate will utilize the measurements from individuals equipped with radio transmitters (action D2), as well as the downstream migration (action A4) and mortality models (created independently of the LIFE Program) approved for the Meuse.

Indicator 2: Mortality rate for salmon smolts throughout the Belgian Lower Meuse

  • - Goal for the end of the project: 10%
  • - Monitoring method: The estimate will utilize the measurements from individuals equipped with radio transmitters (action D2), as well as the downstream migration (action A4) and mortality models (created independently of the LIFE Program) approved for the Meuse.

Indicator 3: Tons of CO2, NOx and SOx emissions prevented by maintaining renewable energy production on the Belgian Lower Meuse.

  • Goal for the end of the project: 237,5 GWh produced annually for all sites, preventing 71,041 tons of CO2, 93 tons of NOx and 178 tons of SOx from being emitted each year. Baseline adopted according to Eurelectric (2012), the average European kWh results in the following emissions: 359.7 g CO2/kWh, 0.47 g NOx/kWh, 0.9 g SOx/kWh.
  • Monitoring method: Production data provided by the power plant control systems

Indicator 4: Number of hours per year that turbines are expected to be stopped, cumulated over all sites

  • Goal for the end of the project: 900 hours per year accounting for all the 6 sites.
  • Monitoring method: Production data provided by the power plant control systems

For this indicator, the reference value selected is the number of hours corresponding to the downstream migration period for eels (4,300 hours/site).

Indicator 5: Number of hydropower production sites using the automated system for predicting downstream migration

  • Goal for the end of the project: 6 sites using the automated system.
  • Monitoring method: Number of sites equipped with the system and/or operating licenses sold

Indicator 6: Number of jobs created

  • Goal for the end of the project: 2 FTE.
  • Monitoring method: Personal affected to the project in each entity.

Indicator 7: Communication

  • Goal for the end of the project: 30 entities reached.
  • Monitoring method: Number of article published or presented in a congress related to the audience, number of visit on the website.

It should be noted that downstream migration routes will also be tracked for individuals with tags or radio transmitters that do not cross the hydropower facilities. This will be performed using the network of markers deployed in actions D1 and D2. This will yield more information about the migration movements and rhythms for the two species on the Lower Meuse.

Lastly, the indicators relating to the communication, dissemination and replication of the results will be tracked during and after the LIFE project, along with the previously mentioned indicators. These indicators are listed in the table labelled 'Performance Indicators' and annexed to this document.

Partner University of Namur is working regularly on behalf of the Walloon Region authority responsible for fishing, fish species and protecting the environment. As a result, the LIFE4FISH project employs approved protocols when it comes to monitoring the fish population, fishing techniques, habitats, capture sites, tagging individuals, sampling and release. EDF R&D and ProFish also have extensive experience with the techniques involved in estimating survival rates for fish passing through hydropower facilities.

As mentioned in action A2, monitoring the populations will require a variety of fishing techniques (electrical, gill nets, fine nets) and communications technologies (transmitters/receivers).

A total of 4 fisheries per year for eel capture during 3 years are planned as part of this project, some fisheries need to go twice on the same site (with 24 to 48 hours interval between samples) to ensure the installation and the statement of fyke nets, based on a team of 4 people / fishing.

An average of 3 surveys per year at the Mery trap are planned during the spring downstream migration period of smolts, to collect salmon and ensure in situ blood and organs samples for biological analyses. Added to this are 2 / year sampling campaigns on the Ourthe itself.

Indicator number 4 has to do with the effectiveness of the automated system for predicting downstream migrations installed in action C3. It is important to monitor the performance and impact of this innovation with regard to electricity production. The project partners wish to improve the recommendations for hydropower operators and find a way to adapt them to local factors such as the configuration of the site in question and the existence of fisheries.

The monitoring method consists in comparing behaviours and passing patterns without preliminary study and with the solutions in place, to quantify the effectiveness of solutions compared to a baseline case.

Technical description of acoustic telemetry

Fishes will be monitored using acoustic telemetry, signals being produced by transmitters and detected by submerged hydrophones. This methodology is well-suited to large waterways. Furthermore, hydrophones do not require external power sources (battery life ≈ 1 year) and require very little maintenance.

Acoustic telemetry can be used for:

  • Monitoring at a large spatial scale using 'isolated' receivers: detecting only the presence of fish within the detection radius of the receiver (200 m on average);
  • Monitoring at a precise spatial scale: recent improvements in positioning algorithms make it possible to locate individuals with high accuracy in an area equipped with at least three hydrophones (Figure 1). Triangulation algorithms are used to calculate the positions of individuals at a high time-frequency (up to every second) and a precise spatial scale (≈ 1m) in an equipped area (including riverbanks). The positioning system relies on the principle of hyperbolic positioning, known as positioning using the time difference of arrival (TDOA). It involves converting the TDOA for three hydrophones into differences of distance, while accounting for the speed of sound in the water.

Equipment

PROFISH will use JSATS technology developing by Lotek (Figure 2 and Table 1):

  • WHS 4250L 69 KHz receivers. The hydrophone is compact, easy-to-use, flexible and boasts a battery life of ≈ 15 months.

The chosen transmitters, L‐AMT‐8.2 and L‐AMT‐1.421B ranges for silver eels and salmon smolts respectively (Figure 3 and Table II), are coded and therefore have a unique ID. The ratio of the in-air weight of the transmitters to the weight of the fish is well under the 2.5% recommended limit.

The monitoring time interval of 3 s enable to maximize the chances of finding the fish upstream of the structures, also consistent with the density of the transmitters (including synctags) and the battery life (Table II).

Site selection and implementation

The Grands Malades and Ivoz Ramet sites have been selected as the pilot sites for this phase.

At each site, three important parameters will be quantified:

  • Hydrophone detection radius;
  • Positioning error;
  • Positioning rate.

It should be noted that the acoustic telemetry performance is highly dependent on local environmental characteristics (depth, conductivity, ambient noise, etc.).

The receivers are deployed so as to cover the area located upstream of the dam and all the routes the fish use to pass it. For the Grands Malades site, 12 to 15 receivers will be used. For the Ivoz-Ramet site, 18 to 20 receivers will be needed. All other sites will be equipped each with around 10-12 receivers each, as fish passage (turbine vs spillways) must also be known at these sites to determine the efficiency of the solutions tested at the global stage. A total of 85 acoustic receivers are planned at this stage.

The hydrophones will be attached to fixed moorings and regularly brought up to the surface with appropriate lift systems to download the data.

Biological equipment and fish tagging

The fish used for the studies will come from the Meuse or its tributaries, as described in action A2.

A total of 21 fisheries per year for eel capture during 3 years are planned, some fisheries needing to go twice at the same site (with 24 to 48 hours interval between samples) to ensure the installation and the statement of nets, based on a team of 4 people / fishing.

An average of 7 surveys per year at the Mery trap are planned during the spring downstream migration period of smolts, to collect salmon and ensure in situ blood and organs samples for biological analyses. In addition, 3 / year sampling campaigns on the Ourthe are planned.

The fish will be confined at the site for 24 hours before being tagged with a surgical implant in the peritoneal cavity while under anesthesia. The operators responsible for these procedures are very well trained and extremely experienced, having already tagged hundreds of fishes. A stock of at least 50 fish of each species at each site will be established.

Fish capture in the fish passes

ProFish will also conduct campaigns for capturing fish in the passes, to obtain a larger sample used to quantify the effect of these passes on the target species. Beside catching, automatic detection by RFID will be used in the bypass, as all fish used in the telemetry study will be tagged with PIT-Tags (Passive Integrated Transponders) for identification. This will allow to confirm passage of the fishes in the bypass, as the acoustic telemetry will not be able to validate the passage in bypass due to the delay between pulse durations (45 sec) that is longer than the expected transition time in the bypass. Captured fishes will be measured and weighed. Physiological analyses will be performed to determine whether fishes are still capable of swimming after traversing the passes and whether they have the same chance of success when continuing their migration as they would for a natural migration (see action A2).

The goal of this action is to estimate the socio-economic impact of the solutions put in place to facilitate the passage of the two species considered in the LIFE4FISH project through the hydropower facilities during their downstream migrations.

First, we will study the impact on education and the development of skills that will be important to the future of the region. The Universities of Namur and Liège are partners of the LIFE4FISH project. The unprecedented scope and ambition of the project will result in the development of further studies and research at these institutions, which will have access to the entire data set for the project. The impact of the project on technical skills relating to these fish species and their management will be qualified and quantified.

In terms of direct job creation, current estimates indicate that three or four full-time jobs will be created during the project, mainly in the area of fish resource management along with one project management position.

One particular focus will be assessing the socio-economic impact of the method for extracting value from the automated downstream migration system described in action C3. Indeed, through the selected value creation strategy, a structure for valorizing/disseminating/distributing the solution could be created.

It is also important to emphasize that the LIFE4FISH project will contribute to the sustainable use of hydraulic resources to produce renewable, low-carbon energy. As such, it will contribute to long-term job security at the branch.

Secondly, besides the direct economic consequences relating to electricity production, there is a plan to adopt a two-stage approach to assess and promote the socio-economic benefits resulting from the project and its contribution to the conservation of salmon and eel populations:

  1. a regional economic analysis, aiming to identify the net value created through the introduction of the chosen technical solutions: The result is an array of indicators measuring the value of the different benefits that were identified.
  2. an economic analysis applied to the environment and ecology, aiming to identify the economic, and likely monetary, value of these benefits: The results are presented in the form of a select group of aggregated values summarizing all the previously identified values.

A subcontractor will be chosen based on proposals submitted as part of a competitive bidding process. They will implement the two-stage approach to assessing the socio-economic impact of the project, with the goal of comparing the financial costs for the technical solutions put in place to facilitate the downstream migration of the targeted species (these costs are calculated in the technical studies conducted during the preparatory actions) with the resulting socio-economic benefits. This sort of approach delivers a more balanced view of the costs and benefits of the project. It is also necessary, as the issues involved in protecting the species that are the focus of the project have both an ecological and socio-economic component. Protecting biodiversity affects how populations use this biodiversity (use values) and the values attributed to it by the population, independent of use (option values and heritage values associated with these species).

More specifically, these two stages utilize two different methods:

  1. The 'Creating value from hydropower structures' method developed by EDF, EIFER and the ACTéon design office. In the first place, this method aims to explain the relationship between the hydropower structure and the surrounding area. In the second place, it aims to quantify the positive and negative impacts of the structures, assessing them with an array of indicators and related methods. We propose to adapt this method in order to concentrate on assessing the impact of the technical solution being used to protect the eel and salmon populations.
  2. The group deliberation process, which consists of holding workshops with stakeholders. This method aims to bring the stakeholders together in order to make group decisions about the top priority for value creation and, if possible, about the overall monetary value of the socio-economic impact created by the project. The advantage of this method is that it can be used to obtain information about well-being, in accordance with the dominant neo-classical theory, while also incorporating innovative aspects drawn from behavioral economics and behavioral science with regard to how preferences are formed and the specifics of group preferences.

For the first method, the process for this type of study will include the following steps:

  • Collecting preliminary data
  • Drafting a questionnaire
  • Conducting interviews and performing analyses
  • Calculating indicators
  • Creating a summary report

The group deliberation process primarily consists of identifying group preferences, in accordance with the following process:

  • Describing the experimental method
  • Identifying target groups of stakeholders
  • Preparing the workshops and related materials
  • Holding the workshops
  • Analysing the results

The goal of this action is to estimate the ecosystem impact of the solutions put in place in the LIFE4FISH project. This will be mainly carried out by a sub-contractor specialized in environmental impact studies, under the supervision of UNamur and Luminus.

The goal of this action is to estimate the ecosystem impact of the solutions put in place in the LIFE4FISH project. This will be mainly carried out by a sub-contractor specialized in environmental impact studies, under the supervision of UNamur and EDFL.

Contents of the impact study

The sub-contractor will visit the 6 impacted sites with the project manager. During the visit, pictures will be taken with a special focus on the receivers (housing, outstanding hedges, etc.) nearby the implanted equipment. These photos will be included in the report.

Following the sites visit, measures to reduce project impacts may be offered. The report will be prepared for the optimized project configuration (including the final solutions implemented).

The impact study will be carried out through an analysis of the project causal relationship to its environment presented in matrix form. This analysis will identify environmental compartments likely to be impacted by the project and which will require a more detailed analysis.

The study will develop the following themes:

  • Surface water

The project's impact on surface waters will be presented. The focus will be on the improvement made by the project in quantity and quality. Recommendations will be made eventually.

  • Soil and groundwater

The expected impact on the ground mainly concern the risk of pollution of soil and water during operation and work phases.

  • Air and Energy

Regarding climate and air quality, the expected impact mainly concern energy consumption related to the operation of the project and green energy production capacity. Particular attention will be paid to the description of the measures implemented to reduce impacts to the energy level.

Based on the results of the analysis of ways to improve energy efficiency (at technical and behavioral levels) are determined, and possible quantitative investment budget viewpoints (including expected grants and subsidies), financial gain, financial profitability, energy and CO2 gains.

  • Flora and fauna

The outskirts of the sites are in large part built, and the situation of the fauna and flora in the vicinity of the sites is quite poor. Impacts on flora and fauna will be assessed throughout the basin of the Lower Belgian Meuse. Recommendations will be made regarding in particular the optimization of the operation management of the various equipment used.

  • Landscape and heritage

The current landscape context is described by including a photo report. The analysis of the integration will be achieved by implementing specific photomontages. The quality of assets (all properties but also hedges and remarkable trees) which protection is justified because of their historical, archaeological, scientific, artistic, social, technical and landscaping will be listed.

  • Health and safety

The implications in terms of health and safety of the different elements highlighted before will be evaluated. There may be risk of injury to workers and the public during operations. The measures taken by EDF Luminus to manage the security of the sites will be presented (contingency plan, procedures for accidents, etc.)

  • Noise and vibration

The description of the current situation in terms of noise and vibration includes the description of generative activities and is based on existing data.

A qualitative description of noise in existing situation (related for example to the site handling activities) will be made. At this stage, it is not intended to perform measurements on site.

To determine the acoustic impact of the project, a qualitative estimation of the nuisance caused by the project will be realized. These nuisances are primarily related to technical installations (outlets and behavioral barriers) in operation.

  • Waste and public infrastructure

The existing public infrastructure for energy, transport and telecommunications will be evaluated. The impact of the project will be analyzed by detailing waste generated by the project and waste management that will be implemented.

Increase the readability of the study to make it accessible to all age groups

The translation of the conclusions of the study in a clear and understandable language requires special attention. A not thoroughly prepared technical summary represents one of the possibilities.

A clear structure is imparted to the paper and reading assistance will be provided at the beginning. Both solutions allow citizens to quickly find the information they consider relevant.

Much attention will be paid to a clearly readable mapping to visualize maximum impact, their impact distance and the planned mitigation measures.

Addressing the concerns of local residents and stakeholders

While conducting the study process, the concerns of local residents and stakeholders, who require extra attention in the environmental study, are likely to be highlighted.

In order to address the concerns of local residents, complementary actions will be performed:

  • photomontage to illustrate the differences at the landscape level between the existing and the proposed location;
  • detailed noise study with on-site measurements and modeling;
  • inventorying the field (biotopes, small landscape elements);

The sub-contractor will be able to provide such information at the request of the project manager.

Communication and dissemination

This action consists of implementing a communication and results dissemination plan. It lists the goals, targeted groups, actions and documents and tools. This communication will be done with the participation of all partners.

Action E will be implemented based on a Dissemination and Communication Plan created during the first three months of the project and updated on an annual basis. It lists the goals, targeted groups, actions and documents/tools. The communications officer for EDF Luminus will be in charge of implementation, in collaboration with the other partners. All communication about the project will comply with the rules set out by the European Commission.

Stakeholder engagement and dissemination

The plan will include a 'stakeholder' component focusing on:

  • Members of the Dissemination Committee (DISCO)

The Committee plays a key role (see action F). At the time the project was submitted, 7 stakeholders had already expressed interest in participating. The first task will be to organize this group (decision-makers, industrial players, associations, etc.) to boost dissemination and act as a catalyst for the large-scale replication of the operation. The group will evolve and grow as progress is made on the project.

  • Members of the territorial liaison committee (TELICO)

Hydropower plants are located near 11 cities and towns. Like the various territorial oversight bodies, they play an invaluable role when it comes to disseminating the results. To keep all public officials (75 Members of the Walloon Parliament) informed, the partners will present the main achievements for the project in the committee meetings.

  • Electricity producers

The EDF Group operates more than 450 hydropower plants in Europe. Dedicated communication of the results to these operators will certainly contribute to the replicability/transferability of the project. The methodology and results will also be presented in professional contexts throughout the project.

The Dissemination and Communication Plan will include several actions:

  • Policy brief

Memos, available in three languages (French, English and Dutch), will be sent to decision-makers at the regional and European level (MEPs) at regular intervals. This document will facilitate contact with European institutions, particularly the European Parliament through the ENVI, REGI and PECH Committees. The 285 MEPs (Members and Substitutes) from these Committees will be invited to take part to the Territorial Liaison Committee (TELICO).

  • Communication with electricity producers and press releases

Regular updates on the progress made on the project will be sent to professional networks. EDF Luminus will avail itself of the EDF Group Communication Department (160,000 employees, 37.6 million clients worldwide) to expand the scope of the dissemination. EURELECTRIC also expressed its willingness to attend project’s results presentations and support the dissemination. EDF Luminus (1,500 employees, 1.8 million clients worldwide) will also make its usual communication channels available (social media, corporate website, management tool for press releases, site visits).

  • Exchanges of best practices

An event will be organized at project’s mid-term in Brussels to gather consortia of European projects (see action of Networking)

  • Presentations

Given during meetings of professional networks in Europe, as for example:

  • two presentations at Infratech (Water sector) in Rotterdam
  • one presentation at the yearly meeting of France Hydro Electricité, in France
  • one presentation at the International Conference on hydro-electricity and dams, in Switzerland

Other presentations at scientific and professional fairs will be made.

  • Compiling data on transferability

Communication to the general public

The Communication Plan includes a chapter dedicated to the general public and covers the following actions:

  • 6 informational signs

These signs, featuring information on the overall goals of the operation and the financial support from the LIFE Program, will be placed at each site.

  • 3 press releases (minimum)

Intended for the local press, these will provide a description of the project and the main achievements at key moments for the project with at least one campaign per year.

  • Social media

EDF Luminus will use its Facebook and Twitter accounts to provide continuous updates on the project, as these are valuable tools for reaching the general public.

  • Dedicated project website

To be launched in January 2018, the website will be newly created and available in English, Dutch and French. The technical content will be adapted to a non-expert audience. The website will have a forum area so that visitors could raise questions. A communication officer from EDF Luminus will be responsible for its creation and operation. 15,000 visits are targeted.

  • Layman’s report

It will present the project methodology, actions and results. Available in three languages, it will help disseminate and share the results with key stakeholders and the general public in Europe.

  • Events

Launch event

The purpose is to officially notify the launch and promote the ambition and schedule of the project. Held at one of the EDF Luminus production sites, it will bring together public and private stakeholders linking with the general public during a full day. It will be the occasion to present the project and to visit some of the sites were the project will be implemented. The main messages associated to this initial conference is to present the project objectives and commitment of partners, introduce a project planning and execution timeline, share with and listen to local stakeholders points of view as well as identify competencies and skills the project could benefit from, show the benefit of public support and engage into a win-win process with all stakeholders, including public authorities. 90 people are expected.

Final conference

The main project results will be presented, as well as future opportunities for the post-LIFE period. The event will include a 'stakeholder' session focusing on technical information and a 'general public' session focused on informing citizens through appropriate materials. It will be a 2.5 days visit, including one day of presentations from the different partners, one day of presentations from external stakeholders and a half-day of on-site visits. The main messages associated to this final conference is to present the project outcomes, communicate and disseminate the results (solutions and best practices), identify new replication sites / opportunities, show to suppliers of solutions the opportunities and market development trends, engage with stakeholders on longer term collaborations and vision. 160 people are expected.

Active contribution to the 'Clean Rivers' effort during the annual Walloon Water Day

The Contrat de Rivière Meuse Aval et Affluents organization and the partner communities sponsor this initiative for cleaning rivers and their banks each year. EDF Luminus will raise awareness through its employees about this initiative. An internal and external communication campaign is planned. A visit to the project site will be offered to any volunteers of the initiative.

This action, which aims to ensure the replicability and transferability of the project results. It allows wide distribution inside and outside the structures of the partners.

The suitability for transfer and replication of project results will be analysed from a environmental, technical, technological and economic perspective. This will be first achieved through the reconciliation of studies, measurements and results obtained in real life conditions. The goal is to share possible methods for implementing the solutions with professionals in the sector, so as to determine the potential for mainstreaming of the findings.

We have identified two working groups that will be the cornerstone of Action E.2.:

Group 1: This group will be mainly focused on the assets that are in the same range of river flow and drop height, and that are suitable for an easier application of the solution with a direct uptake of the solution developed during LIFE4FISH. A mapping of all European rivers with the same range of river module (river flow and river height) will be performed. It will allow us to target the right users. Contacts will be mainly taken by Profish, EDF R&D and EDF Luminus. The result will be presented to potential clients with possible visits on the pilot site. This process will ensure transferability and replicability of LIFE4FISH by outlining the three main systems used in the project:

The predictive model and its main parameters (water temperature, turbidity, flow, chemical composition…) to be used in order to obtain the most effective results will be explained. The effects of the predictive software will be shown since production can be reduced in order to allow the migration. The sub-action leader for this will be EDF R&D.

The behavioral barrier (bubble barrier or electrical barrier) must be explained through the positioning (localization of the tube in front of the turbine gate) and the exploitation parameters (for the bubble barriers: the frequency and the diameter of the bubble, the air pressure flow; for the electrical barrier: the tension, the frequency). The sub-action leader for this will be Profish.

The fish path design is key in order to allow the suggested way for the fish. The flow, the diameter, the inlet positioning are key to offer a proper migration path. It must be also adequately designed to avoid waste deposits. The sub-action leader for this will be EDF Luminus.

Group 2: This group will be mainly focused on assets with a different range of river flow and drop height where a direct uptake is not fully feasible. We will therefore focus more on the methodology in order to ensure the adequate transfer of information. The focus will be done also upon the same 3 items of Group 1. For those 3 items, we will present more the design methodology used in order to obtain the results described in Group 1. For example, the fish path flow is intimately linked to the turbine flow.

As EDF Luminus is part of the EDF Group, we will first run a test of transferability and replicability on two pilot sites: one site with characteristics close to the sites of the LIFE4FISH project and another site with different characteristics will be selected as “Beta-users”. It will allow to fine-tune the message that will be delivered to potential users.

In addition to this live test inside the EDF Group, the project methodology itself will also be analyzed, and the concrete steps taken will be detailed in a report outlining the rationale and options chosen, so as to facilitate transfers and replications. A summary note describing the main parameters of the solutions as well as operational experience will also be detailed.

The public-private partnership between EDF Luminus, EDF R&D and Profish on one hand and universities in the other are another success factor for the visibility, success and outreach of this initiative.

The goal is to achieve a concrete vision of the various models that might be effective given the characteristics of the region, the waterway and the infrastructure affecting the two targeted species.

The transferability and replicability actions targeting two distinct groups will allow the development of business solution related to fish protection. As agreed between the partners, the Profish SME will develop and commercialize the solution elaborated during the project, while additional potentials will derive from the wider project results.

Finally, the LIFE4FISH project will ensure transfers of the technology developed and foster commercial operations for the application of such technology.

This sub-action aims to establish strong and productive relationships with other EU projects (LIFE, Horizon2020, European Fisheries Fund, etc.), completed, currently being implemented or about to be implemented.

The consortium has already identified completed and currently implemented EU projects (see “uptake”) applying solutions to remove obstacles in rivers for fish migration. The networking with the coordinators and partners of these projects will be facilitated by the University of Liège’s involvement in a previous LIFE project and in a project coordinated by the Service Public de Wallonie (SPW), with whom EDF Luminus has close links.

Regular contacts will be established with the coordinators in order to compare the performance and sustainability of the demonstrated solutions. Exchanges of good practices and site visits will be organised by EDF Luminus during the project duration, free of charge for the visitors. The consortium will also visit similar initiatives during the project lifetime.

EU projects already identified are as follows:

Among previous LIFE projects, there is LIFE MIGRATOEBRE (LIFE+, duration of project: 2014-2018) in Spain, which aimed at adapting all the obstacles along the final stretch of the Ebre River to allow upstream and downstream fish migration. It is a project that shares the same goal, namely to ensure an unbroken route for fish by adapting dams and weirs. The methods, means and results are of high interest for us. Furthermore, the WALPHY project (LIFE+, 2009-2013) is also of great interest because it targeted hydromorphologic quality to remove obstacles altering water flow. The University of Liège was an associated beneficiary, as in the case for our project, so the transmission of results should not be an issue. These completed projects can bring lessons learnt for actions undertaken under the same programme and with related objectives.

Furthermore, our LIFE4FISH project plans to conduct networking actions with the LIFE Belgian Nature Integrated Project (LIFE14 IPE/BE/000002 BNIP – 2015-2021), coordinated by the Service Public de Wallonie (SPW). Actions for species conservation in Wallonia are planned as part of this Integrated LIFE Project. EDF Luminus is in regular contact with the SPW department (DGO3) that manages the project; it will therefore be easy enough to communicate, exchange good practices, visit sites, etc. for mutual learning purposes.

Concerning Horizon 2020, one research project of high interest is EELIAD - European Eels in the Atlantic - Assessment of their Decline (FP7-ENVIRONMENT; 2008-2012; project reference 212133). This project examined the eel’s behaviour at sea to determine their migration routes, enabling better understanding of the decrease in the population in order to halt the decline. As the Museum d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris was a partner in this H2020 project and is a member of our Dissemination Committee, networking should be facilitated.

Finally, a project financed by the European Fisheries Funds has been identified in Belgium. This consists of a study monitoring the eel population in the Belgian Meuse and was conducted in November 2015. Michaël Ovidio, co-author of this study, is a member of our Scientific Committee.

New projects will also be targeted along the way. Contacts with the European Commission will facilitate the identification of relevant projects. Initiatives outside the scope of the LIFE programmed led by the different partners and the DISCO will help expand this network. For example, the Bailleul National Botanical Conservatory has already expressed interest in the project’s results on aquatic vegetation.

Management

This action aims at ensuring an effective management of the project in accordance with the rules of the Grant Agreement (GA). It consists in coordination of all actions, supervision of tasks, quality, costs, and deadlines fulfilment. The project management provides sound financial management and draft the technical and financial management reports.

Project management

To ensure the successful completion of the project, a governance structured has been designed, comprising four committees with clearly distinct defined roles:

  • 1 decision-making Committee > the Steering Committee (STEERCO)
  • 3 consulting committees > the Scientific Committee (SCICO); the Dissemination Committee (DISCO); and the Territorial Liaison Committee (TELICO)

The Project Manager, Pierre Theunissen, Senior Project Manager at EDF Luminus, is in charge of the overall coordination for the project, including technical, administrative and financial aspects. He implements the decisions made by the STEERCO and provides daily management and oversight for the project. He works with an external expert appointed for the project and the EDF Luminus Finance department.

Pierre Theunissen has over 20 years of experience and the adequate skills: managing teams, managing projects, maintaining, operating and modifying an energy production unit, providing budgetary oversight for entities. His past successes in managing teams and complex projects act as a guarantee for the implementation of the LIFE4FISH project.

EDF Luminus will be technically supported by an external expert contracted as in-house consultant for fish protection issues in hydropower contexts. The consultant will support the project manager on all the technical aspects including the definition of the strategy and the technical management plan (Monitoring execution and technical progress of the project – 30%, Management of technical committees – 20%, overseeing the deliverables, developing risk management plans and validating the reports – 20%, Technical advice and guidance – 30%)

Steering Committee – STEERCO

To ensure the successful completion of the project, a steering committee has been formed, made up of one representative from each of the associated partners. This decision-making body meets at least every two months at EDFL's premises (2 out 3 meetings via audio- or/and videoconferences), for the purposes of:

  • Monitoring project execution and progress. The committee ensures that deadlines set in the GA are met and decides how to solve problems encountered during the project on the basis of suggestions from the project manager or one of the associated partners.
  • Making decisions for approval from the European Commission (EC) on all major modifications as specified in the GA.
  • Ensuring cooperation among the partners and communicating information or any problems that might present an obstacle to the successful completion of the project.
  • Overseeing deliverables, developing risk management plans, and drafting the reports required by the EC.

The STEERCO is coordinated by the project manager acting in agreement with the GA provisions. The project manager will be aided by a financial assistant, whose duties include:

  • issuing requests for payment to the EC and transferring the money to the associated partners within 30 days of receiving the transfer from the EC.
  • informing associated partners of the rules governing cost eligibility, consulting with the EC if necessary to prevent expenses from being rejected.
  • overseeing the implementation of the overall budget and the status of expenses.
  • coordinating receipt of financial reports from associated partners.

Scientific committee – SCICO

The technical and scientific experts that make up the SCICO draw on their experience to provide recommendations and scientific or technical advice. These experts advise the STEERCO on the overall direction of the project. The members are appointed by the STEERCO. They may join the committee at any time during the project. The aforementioned experts are involved only as experts after having signed a non-disclosure agreement. The members of the Scientific Committee are:

Alain Gillet and Xavier Rollin (Experts in fish fauna in the Walloon Regional Administration),

Michaël Ovidio (Doctor in behavioral biology),

Eric Feunteun (Professor in living being biology and aquatic ecosystems),

Johan Coeck (President of the ecology group of the Meuse International Committee),

Cédric Briand (Doctor in fishery species),

Harriet Bakker (Advisor in water management at the Rijkswaterstaat)

Jason Foust (Hydraulic Engineering Manager at Voith Hydro).

Dissemination Committee – DISCO

The DISCO ensures that the results of the project are disseminated to a wide audience and that the project fully exploits its potential for replicability. It will be made up of the main European bodies invested in the themes covered by the project. New members might join throughout the project based on suggestions from the associated partners. The DISCO is coordinated by the project manager. Members of the DISCO work on issues related to dissemination, replicability of the project results and After-LIFE Plan. The members of the Dissemination Committee are: Eurelectric, Edora, Commission Internationale de la Meuse, Rijkswaterstaat, Comité de bassin Rhin-Meuse, and the AMI Hydropower Foundation.

Territorial Liaison Committee – TELICO

The TELICO brings together all the stakeholders in the LIFE4FISH project from the Lower Belgian Meuse. The role of the TELICO is to provide ties to local communities, coordinate between the various initiatives in the targeted regions and facilitate the actions. It will inform public authorities about the progress of the work, issue informed opinions and provide support for the project by helping to coordinate the initiatives and look for solutions that are appropriate for the local context. The members of the Territorial Liaison Committee were: the cabinets of Minister Furlan and Minister Collin, SPW, INBO, the cities.

Frequency of management meetings for the LIFE4FISH project

STEERCO: bimonthly meeting

SCICO: At least 2 times/year

DISCO: At least 1 time/year

TELICO: At least 1 time/year

After-LIFE plan

The After-LIFE Plan is an important part of the LIFE4FISH project. The purpose of this plan is to identify the sustainability and implementation conditions for the project. Special attention will be paid when compiling the various performance indicators mentioned in action D1.

Communicating the After-LIFE Plan is part of action E. To properly carry out this action, the project manager will call on the members of the dissemination committee, who will issue recommendations and contribute to the broader communication of the project and its results.

The Plan consists of 3 sections:

  • The action plan for the post-project period (in the next three years).
  • Identifying responsibilities and players
  • The After-LIFE Communication plan (created as part of Action E)

The conditions that will influence the Plan are listed in Form B6.