The Challenge: Studies and netting surveys conducted by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC) revealed that 27 miles of the Cedar River between the Spalding and Ericson dams contained almost no channel catfish. Then they studied the channel again when the dam was offline for repairs, revealing numerous catfish in the same stretch of river where previously none were found. The NGPC completed additional sampling studies after the repairs, again showing almost no catfish in the river. The NGPC realized the Spalding dam was preventing the migration of fish along the Cedar River.
The Solution: Our Water Resources team helped the NGPC design and construct a fish passage, often called a fish ladder, around the dam allowing fish to navigate the river both upstream and downstream. By enabling fish to bypass the dam, fish ladders are especially useful in helping fish migrate upstream to feed and spawn. With a baffle-lined channel and carefully placed pools, fish have safe areas to rest along their journey. The Spalding fish ladder ensures the preservation of the natural environments and wildlife behavior.
Project Benefits: With the implementation of the ladder, fish are plentiful again in the Cedar River. People can fish and enjoy the natural wildlife whose future has been supported and sustained. Additionally, this project demonstrates the NGCP’s innovative desire to solve problems, as there are only two other fish passages in the State of Nebraska.