Fish-friendly roads?

YES, that’s a thing

We all benefit from fish getting where they need to go

 Invisible from the road, their presence only betrayed by the occasional frost heave, detour, or drowned trees upstream. Culverts- pretty unremarkable to the untrained eye

Roads cross streams. Fish-friendly crossings are gaining in popularity because they also perform better in floods. Here, sockeye salmon swim under a road in Alaska.

To get a wholly different perspective, step into any river or creek and take a closer look where it intersects our transportation network. Many culverts cause big problems for fish. Across the United States, migratory fish —like salmon, steelhead and river herring—are particularly hard hit by barriers across streams and rivers.

This culvert on Alaska’s Kodiak Island is a complete barrier to adult and baby salmon trying to migrate upstream.

THE PROBLEM For fish, survival and success hinges on being able to move freely to find food and good places to spawn; or to seek shelter from predators, high temperatures, or extreme flows. Too-small pipes also snag wood and debris moving downriver. Roads with clogged culverts turn into dams until they’re breached, or the clog is removed.

The majority of culverts is that they at not typically mindful of fish, flood, or the dynamism of rivers. It’s not uncommon for a 10 foot wide stream to be forced into a two foot diameter culvert.

THE SOLUTION Preventing barriers in the first place is the most cost-effective option long term. A natural bottom and wide enough to accommodate natural steam behavior and flows.

A fish-friendly culvert prior placement.

A fish-friendly culvert after placement.

To build quality transportation infrastructure that lasts we need to focus not only on water, but also fish—if they can move freely through road crossings to their preferred habitats we’re on the right track.

Fish passage engineer design fish-friendly road-steam crossings.

Antennas stretched across creeks in vicinity of culverts record tagged fish as they pass through.

BE A PART OF THE SOLUTION Share this message. Become a conservation partner. Attend a fish passage workshop. or Join and support your local fish habitat partnership.

We all benefit!!

#fish #biology #outdoors #wildlife #alaska #travel #job #adventure #science #culvert #road In Alaska we are shared stewards of world renowned natural resources and our nation’s last true wild places. Our hope is that each generation has the opportunity to live with, live from, discover and enjoy the wildness of this awe-inspiring land and the people who love and depend on it.

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  • USFWSAlaska

    Welcome. In working together; We all benefit from fish friendly roads.


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