Foothills Fisheries Lab

Laboratory Concept:

The Colorado State University Foothills Fisheries Laboratory is designed to be a state-of-the-art multi-use fisheries research and teaching facility.

The facility’s primary mission is to provide faculty and students in the Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology with the ability to conduct laboratory research projects in fish physiology, fish culture, or fish ecology. In order to meet the wide-ranging demands of this mission, the facility was designed to provide the infrastructure necessary for the simultaneous execution of multiple research projects while maintaining the flexibility to allow rapid reconfiguration of fish holding and experimental systems to meet the needs of new projects.

The secondary mission of the FFL is to provide students enrolled in Fishery Biology courses (notably FW204, FW402, and FW405/605) with hands-on experiences through experiments and (for FW402) through the student-led design, assembly, and testing of a fish culture system. Students may also receive hands-on experience through work as interns or volunteers on their own research projects or those of faculty and graduate students.

Laboratory Capabilities:

The FFL is designed to provide researchers with infrastructure necessary to carry out complex experiments in fish physiology, fish culture, or fish ecology, without the need for lots of additional equipment. Key facility features include:

  • Dual water supplies that can deliver up to 200 gallons per minute of filtered, aerated water.
  • Built-in water heating and chilling systems capable of delivering 25 gpm of 100F or 40F, water, respectively.
  • A water treatment system that mechanically filters and disinfects (ozone and UV) water entering the facility, and mechanically filters and disinfects (ozone) all water leaving the facility.
  • A 4000 square foot wet lab with an open floor plan that allows investigators to configure sections of lab as necessary for their studies.
  • Dual alarm and monitoring systems that notify the facility manager and investigators of potentially serious changes to system status and equipment failures.
  • Daily monitoring of all mechanical systems and fish-holding tanks by facility staff.
  • Comprehensive fish passage and fish swimming measuring equipment.
  • Meets or exceeds the requirements of a CSU animal research laboratory as determined by the CSU Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

Fish Passage Facilities and Equipment:

The FFL provides researchers with facilities and equipment for conducting research on fish passage and barrier designs. Key facility features in this area include:

  • A variable-geometry 10-m long flume designed by T. Swarr that can deliver flows of up to 0.082 m3/s of 9 – 25°C water.
    • The flume can be adjusted to slopes of 0 – 10%.
    • The interior of the flume can be modified to include a variety of fishway types, including rock-ramp fishways.
    • Click here for a parts list for the flume.
  • Multiple Loligo recirculating swimming respirometers, with capacities of 32, 90, and 200 liters for measuring swimming ability, endurance, and energetics.
  • Multiple Kondratieff-type artificial waterfalls for measuring fish jumping performance.