Zahra Anwar: Graduating Researcher of the Hydro Research Foundation

Editor’s Note: This is the most recent in a series of profiles provided by the Hydro Research Foundation that highlight potential future members of the hydroelectric power industry and their accomplishments.

The Hydro Research Foundation is actively supporting graduate students to conduct research related to conventional and pumped storage hydropower.  These students are funded through the Department of Energy’s Water Power Program and industry partners through a four-year grant.

About Zahra

Zahra Anwar holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts and a B.A. in Physics from Mount Holyoke College, and is pursuing a M.S. in Water Resources Engineering with a Specialization in Fish Passage Engineering from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

This research aims to establish optimized designs for climbing substrates appropriate for upstream ramp pass designs for juvenile anguillid eels, and to identify appropriate prototypes and fabrication materials for generic, low cost substrates that can be commercially manufactured. The results will improve performance of existing eel ramp pass designs, assist in standardization of ramp pass design and operating criteria, and reduce the cost for installation and operation of eel ramp passes at hydropower projects.

Upstream passage of catadromous American eels (Anguilla rostrata) at dams and other migratory barriers is required to provide eels access to critical upstream habitat. Unlike most other fishes, eels possess the ability to climb rough, wetted surfaces in order to ascend natural barriers such as waterfalls, a behavior that has been capitalized on to develop specialized climbing ramp passes to facilitate upstream passage of eels at anthropogenic barriers.

Zahra is actively seeking work in the hydropower industry upon completion of her degree this summer. To connect with Zahra or learn more about the Research Awards Program please email or visit the website


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