In South America, one important symptom of the failure of fish passages to sustain fish migratory recruitment is the inability of eggs and larvae to reach the nurseries. This is especially so when the breeding areas are located upstream of a reservoir, and the floodplain is downstream of the dam. Therefore, the transport of fish larvae and eggs across reservoir barriers is a key factor in the development of effective conservation strategies. In this paper, we evaluate the potential for migratory fish larvae and egg transportation across a small size reservoir in eastern Brazil. We sampled fish daily between 15th October 2002 and 15th February 2003 (spawning period) in the Mucuri River, immediately upstream of the reservoir and downstream of the Santa Clara Power Plant dam. Our study was the first to indicate the possibility of successful larval passage through the reservoir of a hydroelectric reservoir and dam in South America, and showed that the passage of migratory fish larvae was associated significantly with residence time of water in the reservoir. The relatively short water residence time and elevated turbidity of the Santa Clara's reservoir waters during the rainy season certainly contributed to the successful passage, and can be considered as key factors for a priori evaluations of the feasibility of a downstream larval passage
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