Photos of Fish Passage

Diadromous Fish Passage: A Primer on Technology, Planning and Design for the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts

Diadromous fish, fish that migrate between fresh water and salt water, are important fishery resources along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts.  These species provide environmental and economic benefits as they travel great distances between the ocean and river basins throughout their ranges.  Since the 1700s, access to spawning sites have been blocked by a number of barriers such as dams, culverts and other diversions.

Recognizing the problems created by these barriers and the value of diadromous fish, NOAA Fisheries Service’s Northeast and Southeast regions developed the Diadromous Fish Passage: A Primer on Technology, Planning, and Design for the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts The Primer is an overview of existing fish passage technology and provides state and federal agencies, companies, conservation organizations, and the public with the information NOAA Fisheries Service uses to consider the design of safe, timely, and effective fish passage.  The U.S. Geological Survey, Silvio Conte Anadromous Fishery Research Laboratory, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Northeast Region Fish Passage Team, assisted NOAA Fisheries Service in creating this document.  The Primer is considered a living document and will be updated as fish passage technology advances.

Cover Fish Passage Primer


Preparation of this document was a collaborative effort initiated by the NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Southeast and Northeast Regions, in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Conte Anadromous Fish Research Center.

Lead editors and authors:


Reviews and important information were provided by John Johnson, Hydraulic Engineer retired from NMFS and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Northwest Region; Ben Rizzo, Dick Quinn, and Curt Orvis, Hydraulic Engineers with USFWS Fish Passage Team; Dr. Piotr Parasiewicz, Hydraulic Engineer with Rushing Rivers Institute; Jim Turek, NMFS Restoration Center; Pace Wilber, NMFS Habitat Conservation Division; Mike Mastry and Charles Lynch, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of General Counsel.

Valuable insight and review were provided by numerous NOAA staff from the Habitat Conservation Division, Protected Resources Division, and Habitat Restoration, including: Matt Bernier, Lou Chiarella, Kim Damon-Randall, Stephania Bolden, and Jeff Murphy.

Layout and design provided by Kris Gamble and Arminta McKinney.