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Fish passageways allow American shad and other migratory fish to pass over dams and reach their upstream spawning grounds. There are five major fish passageway designs used in the Chesapeake Bay watershed: denil, steeppass, vertical slot, pool and weir, and fish lifts.
Dams can block American shad and other migratory fish from reaching their upstream spawning grounds. Dams can also affect the natural flow of rivers and streams.
Fish passage is the ability of fish to migrate up rivers, streams and other waterways, often to access spawning or rearing ground. Barriers to fish passage (which include road culverts, dams, dikes and other obstructions) can reduce the distribution and habitat available to American shad and other migratory fish and, in some cases, eliminate fish populations altogether.