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Energy and Environment Directorate

Gary Johnson

Gary Johnson

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Portland Office
Portland, OR 97204
(503) 417-7567


Mr. Johnson has over 25 years experience successfully managing research projects related to the environmental effects of hydroelectric energy production. Mr. Johnson was the technical manager for hydroacoustic monitoring and evaluation studies during the development of the surface flow bypass system at the Wells Dam from 1983 – 1992, which is arguably the most efficient smolt bypass in the Columbia basin. He served as manager of the Technical Services Division at BioSonics, Inc. before moving to the Bonneville Power Administration as a fisheries biologist. At BPA, Mr. Johnson worked to integrate needs for safe fish passage with the demand for hydroelectric generation. This led to Mr. Johnson being hired at PNNL to manage fish passage evaluations and bioengineering projects on the Snake River. He continued this type of work for BioAnalysts, Inc. before returning to PNNL to work on estuarine studies. Mr. Johnson currently manages projects related to research, monitoring, and evaluation in the lower Columbia River and estuary.

Research Interests

  • Environmental effects of hydropower
  • Bioengineering for fish protection at dams
  • Pacific Northwest estuarine and nearshore ocean ecology
  • Scientific Hydroacoustics
  • Design of research, monitoring and evaluation programs

Education and Credentials

  • 1981 M.S., Biological Oceanography, Oregon State University
  • 1976 B.A., Mathematics and Marine Biology, University of California at Berkeley

Affiliations and Professional Service

  • American Fisheries Society, member
  • AFS Bioengineering Chapter, member
  • Columbia Estuarine Research Conference, steering committee chair

Awards and Recognitions

  • 2011 Of The Year Award
  • 2010 Outstanding Performance Award for unparalleled levels of teamwork within various PNNL organizations - attention to detail and safety.
  • 1981 Outstanding graduate student publication, Oregon State University

PNNL Publications


  • Ebberts BD, BD Zelinsky, JP Karnezis, C Studebaker, S Lopez-Johnston, AM Creason, L Krasnow, GE Johnson, and RM Thom. 2018. "Estuary Ecosystem Restoration: Implementing and Institutionalizing Adaptive Management." Restoration Ecology 26(2):360-369.  doi:10.1111/rec.12562
  • Hou H, Z Deng, JJ Martinez, T Fu, JP Duncan, GE Johnson, J Lu, JR Skalski, R Townsend, and L Tan. 2018. "A Hydropower Biological Evaluation Toolset (HBET) for Characterizing Hydraulic Conditions and Impacts of Hydro-Structures on Fish." Energies 11(4):Article No. 990. 


  • Diefenderfer HL, GE Johnson, RM Thom, KE Buenau, LA Weitkamp, CM Woodley, AB Borde, and RK Kropp. 2016. "Evidence-based Evaluation of the Cumulative Effects of Ecosystem Restoration." Ecosphere 7(3):e01242.  doi:10.1002/ecs2.1242
  • Fu T, Z Deng, JP Duncan, D Zhou, TJ Carlson, GE Johnson, and H Hou. 2016. "Assessing Hydraulic Conditions through Francis turbines using an autonomous sensor device." Renewable Energy 99:1244-1252.  doi:10.1016/j.renene.2016.08.029
  • Deng Z, TJ Carlson, GR Ploskey, RS Brown, GE Johnson, and AHA Colotelo. 2016. "Experimental and numerical modeling tools for conventional hydropower systems." Chapter 44 in Alternative Energy and Shale Gas Encyclopedia, ed. JH Lehr, J Keeley and TB Kingery, pp. 448-464.  John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ.  doi:10.1002/9781119066354.ch44













  • Johnson GE, J Hedgepeth, JR Skalski, and AE Giorgi. 2004. "A Markov Chain Analysis of Fish Movements to Determine Entrainment Zones ." Fisheries Research 69(3):349-358. 
  • Johnson GE, J Hedgepeth, JR Skalski, and AE Giorgi. 2004. "A Markov chain analysis of fish movements to determine entrainment zones." Fisheries Research 69(3):349-358. 



  • Hedgepeth J, GE Johnson, JR Skalski, and J Burczynski. 2002. "Active Fish Tracking Sonar (AFTS) for Assessing Fish Behaviour." In European Conference on Underwater Acoustics, published in "Acta Acustica United with Acustica", vol. 88, no. 5, pp. 739-742.  S. Hirzel Verlag, Stuttgart, Germany. 


  • Adams N, GE Johnson, DW Rondorf, SM Anglea, and TO Wik. 2001. "Biological Evaluation of the Behavioral Guidance Structure at Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River, Washington in 1998." In Behavioral Technologies for Fish Guidance, American Fisheries Society Symposium, vol. 26, pp. 145-160.  American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD. 


  • Johnson GE, NS Adams, RL Johnson, DW Rondorf, DD Dauble, and TY Barila. 2000. "Evaluation of the Prototype Surface Bypass for Salmonid Smolts in Spring 1996 and 1997 at Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River, Washington." Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 129(2):381-397. 
  • Johnson RL, and GE Johnson. 2000. "Fish Behavior Relative to a Prototype Surface Bypass and Collector (SBC) at Lower Granite Dam Using Innovative Hydroacoustic Techniques." In Advances in Fish Passage Technology, ed. Mufeed Odeh, pp. 57-67.  American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD. 


  • Johnson RL, DS Daly, and GE Johnson. 1998. "Combining Hydroacoustics, Flow Models to Study Fish Behavior." Hydro Review XVII(7):40-56. 

Energy and Environment

Core Research Areas