AP won top honors at the American Council of Engineering Companies’ (ACEC) of Oregon’s 2019 Engineering Excellence Awards Gala in Portland on January 16. The La Grande Beaver Creek Fish Passage Project received a Grand Award – one of only 4 projects to receive the distinction from a pool of 27 contenders. Since 2004, AP has submitted 12 projects for consideration and has received eight Grand and one Project of the Year awards.
The City of La Grande hired Anderson Perry to design improvements to restore fish passage over the 30-foot high dam. Because of the remote location, fish passage needed to be maintenance-free and operational in a high mountain, deep snow, unattended environment. Also, the steep and confined ravine within which the creek lies limited the area in which to construct a fishway.
Working with the City and numerous fish and wildlife agencies, Anderson Perry designed a solution to allow unobstructed fish passage upstream and downstream of the dam. Due to the remote location, the design team devised a unique approach to having the major components of the fish ladder, 59 precast concrete vortex weirs, constructed off site. Similar to LEGOs®, the weirs were placed along the dam spillway for approximately 400 feet. Each weir weighed 27,000 pounds and had to be placed precisely horizontally and vertically. The weirs allow fish to ascend the nearly 10 percent steep grade from the natural channel below the dam to the reservoir above, and on to high mountain waters. The result of this project includes a significant increase of habitat for migratory fish and the potential resulting increase in fish reproduction.
The ACEC Engineering Excellence award program is an annual design competition that recognizes engineering achievements demonstrating the highest degree of merit, ingenuity, and creativity. Each year, dozens of firms from around the state submit projects that are judged on a rigorous set of criteria, which includes complexity, innovation, and value to society. These projects are judged by a panel of industry experts including government officials, ACEC leadership, educators from college and university engineering departments, and leadership from other organizations dedicated to the built environment.