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Berrien Springs Fish Ladder

Photo: aerial view of the Berrien Springs Fish Ladder

The Berrien Springs fish ladder is located approximately 23 miles upriver from Lake Michigan. It is the first ladder that fish need to negotiate to continue their upstream migration. American Electric Power produces electricity at this dam. Completed in 1975 at a cost of $692,500, it was the second major fish ladder constructed in the state after the completion of the 6th Street Dam fish ladder on the Grand River in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Photo of the entrance of the Berrien Springs fish ladder

The ladder design for Berrien Springs is called a "pool-weir". Fish enter the lower end of the ladder and ascend it by jumping over the weir walls. The pool-weir configuration was chosen for this site because it facilitates incorporation of a sea lamprey barrier. Because of the design, the public can view fish jumping the weir walls at the 90 degree turn in the ladder.

An underground viewing window coupled with a video surveillance system allows biologists to identify and count fish moving through this ladder. A live trap near the downstream end of the ladder facilitates collection of spawning fish (primarily steelhead) to supply eggs for the hatchery system.

Photo of the Berrien Springs fish ladder