EURO Excellence in Practice Award 2015
The winner of the 2015 EURO Excellence in Practice Award is:
Dr. Jesse O'Hanley, University of Kent, UK
Let a River Run through It: Optimising River Connectivity Restoration
River systems across the globe are heavily impacted by the presence of large numbers of in-stream structures, such as dams, weirs, culverts, and other river crossings. Such structures often form physical barriers that disrupt the natural connectivity of rivers, thus preventing fish and other aquatic organisms from accessing essential breeding and rearing habitats. In this talk, I will present a state-of-the-art optimisation-based methodology for prioritising river barrier repair and removal decisions. The methodology was originally developed through a collaborative project with the California Fish Passage Forum, a consortium of state and federal government agencies and nongovernmental organisations whose mandate is to improve river access for migratory fish throughout California. To help the Forum and other organisations run the optimisation model, a software tool called OptiPass was developed using open source COIN-OR callable libraries. The software, which comes replete with a graphical user interface, allows non-technical users to quickly and easily generate optimal barrier mitigation solutions. The optimisation model underpinning OptiPass represents a radical improvement over the ad-hoc methods commonly used in barrier prioritisation planning. The presentation will include an overview of the optimisation framework, which makes use of a sophisticated linearisation technique known as the “probability chain” method, as well as a small demonstration of the OptiPass software and a discussion about how the methodology has been used by the Forum to take a far more strategic approach to barrier mitigation planning.
The EEPA 2015 jury consisted of Luca Gambardella (chair), Ton G. de Kok, Ulrich Dorndorf, Marco Laumanns, and Sue Merchant.
The award was presented at the closing session of the EURO 2015 Conference in Glasgow (Scotland).