Our staff is proud of the work they're conducting.  We are currently or have recently assisted clients on the following projects.

  • Feasibility Studies
    It is important to know the technology you've chosen to conduct your research will aid you in meeting your study objectives.  Our staff carries expertise in a number of telemetry systems.  We've recently conducted feasibility testing on acoustic telemetry metrics used for survival and behavioral studies coast to coast and worldwide, including the Columbia and Cowlitz rivers in the Pacific Northwest to the Merrimack River in Massachusetts to the River Elbe in Germany.  Give us a call.  We'll share with you what we learned without bias.

  • Fish Collection, Sampling and Population Indexing
    White sturgeon is the largest freshwater fish in North America and efforts are underway to revitalize populations throughout their historic range. We're assisting Chelan County Public Utility District (Chelan PUD) in their goal to promote white sturgeon population growth in the Rocky Reach Reservoir of the mid-Columbia River. As part of their relicensing agreement, our biologists support brood collection efforts for Chelan PUD’s joint hatchery production program.  Our team also deployed state-of-the-art acoustic telemetry gear throughout the reservoir to monitor movements, habitat use, and survival. In conjunction with population indexing and mark-recapture techniques, data will inform fishery managers how to best achieve program goals. 
    Species of Interest: White sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus)

    Blue Leaf is collaborating with LGL Limited and Columbia Research Specialists.

  • Predator-Prey Interactions
    The survival of juvenile salmon emigrating through the mid-Columbia River corridor can be significantly reduced by predators, in particular piscivorous colonial waterbirds and resident fishes. Avian predators of growing concern on the Columbia River include Caspian terns, double-crested cormorants, American white pelicans, and California and ring-billed gulls. Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tags inserted into juvenile salmon and subsequently recovered on bird colonies are being analyzed at active breeding colony sites on the Columbia River Plateau.

    Resident piscivorous fish that are of concern include: northern pikeminnow, walleye, and smallmouth bass. With the use of acoustic telemetry systems, we tagged and tracked the movements of resident piscivorous fish on the mid-Columbia River. We mapped their swimming behavior in-river and at a large hydropower project to review spatial relationships that existed with those of tagged juvenile salmonids during the 2011 downstream migration. Predation events by northern pikeminnow on migrating smolts were measured, and in-river hot-spots of predation were identified.

    Modeling efforts conducted by Real Time Research of avian predation impacts, specifically impacts by Caspian terns nesting on the Columbia River Plateau, on juvenile steelhead migrating through the Priest Rapids Project area were supported by us. You can learn more about the technology, analysis, and regional predation impacts in Thompson et al. (2012), Evans et al. (2013), and at Bird Research Northwest.

    Species of Interest: Juvenile salmonids: steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss), sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka), and Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), along with fish predators northern pikeminnow (Ptychocheilus oregonensis), walleye (Sander vitreus), and smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) and avian predators: Caspian terns (Hydroprogne caspia), double-crested cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus), American white pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos), and California and ring-billed gulls (Larus californicus and L. delawarensis, respectively).

    Blue Leaf collaborated with LGL Limited, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Real Time Research.

  • Fish Salvage
    Biologists from Blue Leaf conducted fish salvage efforts for M.J. Construction at the Little Creek Bridge crossing site. Fish were collected by means of electrofishing from areas that were detached from the main creek channel due to construction. Captured fish were transferred downstream of the construction site in a lively state.
    Species of Interest: rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis), and sculpin

  • Acoustic Telemetry Training and Support
    Blue Leaf Environmental was contracted by the Okanogan Nation (ONA) to help build acoustic telemetry (JSATS) capacity within their staff. Blue Leaf hosted a two day training session for ONA staff in Ellensburg where they learned to operate Lotek Wireless JSATS WHS4000 loggers and did a mock deployment complete with simulated fish passage. Staff then reviewed data retrieval and analytical tools, GIS mapping of spatial detection data, and JSATS technology application questions pertinent to the ONA's project on sockeye salmon survival in the headwaters of the Columbia River. Blue Leaf remains involved in the project by providing equipment, database management, and spatial analysis support as the ONA undertake their first JSATS project.
    Species of Interest: sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka)

Downstream Fish Passage

  • Downstream Fish Passage Survival
    Blue Leaf has expertise in fish passage survival metrics and has conducted downstream fish passage survival studies of steelhead and sockeye salmon on the mid-Columbia River.  With the use of acoustic telemetry, we've assisted Grant PUD in making difficult resource decisions with concrete biological data.  Our staff has also worked with Grant PUD to analyze multi-year data sets and monitor the fish passage survival of other juvenile salmonids including yearling and subyearling Chinook. 
    Species of Interest: steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss), sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka), and Chinook (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)

    Blue Leaf collaborated with LGL Limited to conduct these multi-year studies.

  • Downstream Fish Passage Efficiency
    To increase fish passage efficiency into a SWW (Surface Water Withdrawal) facility at the Pelton Round-Butte Dam in Madras, Oregon, Blue Leaf will be undertaking a second year of acoustic telemetry studies to: 1) help understand migration timing and the 3-D migration paths of acoustic-tagged steelhead and Chinook salmon smolts in the zone that extends approximately 100 m upstream of the SWW;  2) calculate the proportion of fish that volitionally select the fish bypass; and 3) assess behavior of tagged bull trout in the zone upstream of the SWW.  In the first year of the study, Juvenile Salmonid Acoustic Telemetry System (JSATS) technology was used to address research objectives and track movements in 2-D space.  During the second year an HTI acoustic system will be used to determine fine-scale fish movements. 
    Species of Interest: steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss), Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), and bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus).

  • Downstream Fish Passage Design Alternatives
    There are several biological and engineering parameters affecting the selection, location, design, construction, and operation of a downstream fish bypass for fish.  Using biological expertise, Blue Leaf collaborated with hydraulic engineering and modeling experts from the United States and Canada to design a safer downstream fish passage alternative for juvenile salmon at Priest Rapids Dam.  Providing a safe and efficient fish passage alternative on the Columbia River is not easy when faced with multiple species, compounded by varied passage behavior.  Blue Leaf senior scientists have assisted this team of experts with the analysis of multi-year data sets of 3-D fine-scale behavior in conjunction with modeled numeric fish surrogate (NFS) behavior to design a safer and more efficient downstream bypass.  Construction of the fish bypass was initiated in 2011; project completion is estimated for spring of 2014. 

    Blue Leaf is collaborating with a team of experts from Oakwood Consulting, Inc., University of Iowa, Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research (IIHR) - Hydroscience & Engineering, Jacobs Engineering (Jacobs), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Portland District).

  • Gatewell Escapement
    Per the 2008 National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Biological Opinion and 2010 Supplemental Federal Columbia River Power System (FCRPS) Biological Opinion (NOAA 2008; 2010), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) are in the process of investigating reasonable and effective measures to reduce passage delay and increase survival of juvenile fish passing through the Corps owned dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers.  Lower Granite Lock and Dam, located on the Snake River and operated by the Corps, Walla Walla District, has a juvenile bypass system (JBS) that routes fish away from the turbine units.  This study commenced in the spring of 2013 and is intended to help improve fish survival and passage efficiency through the JBS which includes gatewells that are being retrofitted with prototype overflow weirs and enlarged orifices.  Through the use of PIT telemetry, DIDSON technology, and digital photography systems we will assess fish and debris passage, fish behavior, and the impacts to fish condition associated with the gatewell modifications.  The DIDSON will also be used to assess passage behavior of adult salmonids that volitionally enter the gatewells.  This information is critical for the implementation of future measures to reduce passage delay and increase survival at Lower Granite Dam.
    Species of Interest: Juvenile and adult salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.), steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss), and lamprey (Entosphenus tridentatus).

    For more information about this Lower Granite study, contact the Corps’ Walla Walla District Public Affairs Office at 509-527-7020 or  Blue Leaf is collaborating with University of California Davis Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Biomark, Real Time Research and HDR Engineering, Inc.

  • DIDSON Analysis of Fish Interactions at Turbine Intakes
    We recently studied the interaction of downstream migrant salmonids with prototype gatewell screens turbine intake using DIDSON (Dual Frequency Identification Sonar) at two hydroelectric dams on the mainstem of the Columbia River. We have also assessed intake screens for degradation with the use of the DIDSON at a coal-fired energy plant for Prairie State Energy Campus. Blue Leaf has staff with extensive know-how in DIDSON technology from installation and data collection to data analysis.  Blue Leaf owns this imaging equipment and can operate or lease to you.  Please contact us if you have a study where DIDSON technology may be required. Click Here for an example of DIDSON imaging data collected.

Upstream Fish Passage

  • Tracking Behavior and Movement at a Pump Station
    Approximately 34 km southeast of Hamburg, a pump storage hydropower station (PSH) is positioned on the River Elbe, near the village of Geesthacht, Germany. The PSH facility, which is owned and operated by Vattenfall, houses three Francis style turbines and after full discharge, water is pumped from the River Elbe up through three parallel pipelines to the reservoir; the reservoir can be refilled within nine hours. During the process of refilling the reservoir, it is unclear what the impacts are of the PSH to fishes that encounter the facility. The team at Blue Leaf provided training and expertise to Institut für angewandte Ökologie to conduct an acoustic telemetry project tracking the upstream movement and behavior of fishes at the PSH. We traveled to Germany and taught principles and procedures for the JSATS acoustic tracking system, specifically in the operation, deployment, data collection, and data analysis (including 2-D tracking). Fish were also monitored using the DIDSON. Continued project support was provided remotely throughout the data collection and processing time frame.
    Species of Interest: pike perch (Sander lucioperca), ide (Leuciscus idus), asp (Aspius aspius), burbot (Lota lota), bream (Abramis brama), and barbel (Barbus barbus); Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), houting (Coregonus oxyrhynchus), sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus), and river lamprey (Lampetra fluviatilis)

    Blue Leaf is collaborating with Institut für angewandte Ökologie to conduct this investigation.

  • Pacific Lamprey at Priest Rapids Dam
    As the Pacific Northwest population of Pacific lamprey decrease, concerns for upstream passage on the Columbia River have increased.  A team of unique expertise from LGL Limited, Blue Leaf, and HDR, Inc. has been formed and is currently collaborating to evaluate the upstream passage of Pacific lamprey at Wanapum and Priest Rapids dams on the mid-Columbia River.  Blue Leaf was involved in the design, installation, maintenance, and data retrieval and analysis of telemetry arrays in 2009-2012.  We will conduct acoustic and PIT telemetry monitoring operations, analyze PIT tag passage metrics, and evaluate structural and operational modifications of lamprey passage within the Priest Rapids Project in 2013-2015. In 2012, the team designed a study to assess the presence of juvenile lamprey in rearing habitat in the Project area. Efforts to determine the extent of rearing habitat used by juvenile lamprey are currently underway. Stay tuned for more project updates.
    Species of Interest: Pacific lamprey (Lampetra tridentate)

    Blue Leaf is collaborating with LGL Limited, and HDR, Inc. to fulfill study objectives. For more information on HDR's role with this project, contact HDR's Project Manager .

  • American Shad at Pawtucket Dam
    In large New England rivers, such as the Merrimack River, declining populations of American shad must utilize fish passage facilities at hydroelectric dams to reach spawning and nursery habitat.  Blue Leaf teamed with Alden in the spring of 2010 to monitor the fine-scale 3-D upstream movement and passage of American shad at Boott Hydroelectric Project on the Merrimack River in Connecticut.  Using HTI's Acoustic Tag Tracking System, behavioir of American shad entering and moving upstream in the tailrace of the dam was recorded and evaluated.  During this pilot study, our staff collaborated with Alden's experts in fish passage to provide on-site telemetry support for acoustic telemetry research and off-site support in data collection, analysis, and reporting.    
    Species of Interest: American shad (Alosa sapidissima)

    Blue Leaf collaborated with Alden and ASA to complete this study.

  • Radio-Tagging Adult Chinook
    As adult Chinook salmon move upstream in the Snake River to their natal spawning grounds, up to 300 fish will be collected and radio-tagged at Ice Harbor Lock and Dam, the first hydroelectric facility on the Snake River.  We are working closely with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla District, and the University of Idaho to operate a new adult fish trap at the Ice Harbor South Fishway, take biometrics on adult Chinook, tag (PIT and radio) and release fish during the course of the natural 2013 run.  Radio-tagged fish will be monitored for upstream passage metrics and survival in the Snake River basin hydrosystem.
    Species of Interest: Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha).

    For more information about this Ice Harbor study, contact the Corps’ Walla Walla District Public Affairs Office at 509-527-7020 or Blue Leaf is collaborating with University of Idaho Department of Fish and Wildlife Sciences and University of California Davis Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering.


Blue Leaf is always open to partner with other firms that complement our services and together provide solutions to clients with complex project requirements.  If you are interested in collaborating with us, please contact us.


We offer consultations, at no cost, to discuss your project and needs. We have technical expertise in nearly all facets of fisheries telemetry and are happy to share what we've learned over the years. We are not a manufacturing company and thus are not bound to a particular product or vendor. This allows us to have tremendous flexibility in project design and to implement technologies where appropriate. For example, in one study alone this season we are using equipment from Lotek, HTI, Biomark, Teknologic, and InterOcean Systems to provide answers to a very complex question on the Columbia River. We are a leading source of knowledge in the industry and we are always willing to share that knowledge. If you are considering a study please drop us an email or give us a call.

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