Making Our Roads Friendly through Culvert Replacement
The Bad River watershed is the largest basin on the south shore of Lake Superior. Fish passage and sedimentation at road stream crossings have been identified as major concerns in the watershed. To address this concern, the Bad River Watershed Association (BRWA) initiated the Culvert Restoration Program to conduct a watershed wide, quantitative road-stream crossing inventory and identify specific sites that are priorities for remediation.
Culverts act as barriers to fish by blocking access to quality habitat upstream. For instance, there may be a drop at the outlet that prevents fish from getting into the pipe, or the water may be flowing too fast for fish, especially smaller ones, to make it all the way through a pipe. Road crossings can also have a negative effect by adding sediments into our stream channels when there is a road failure or a regular eroded stream crossing. The extra sediments can cover the stream bottom, smother insects which are the food for fish, and limit spawning success.
BRWA's Culvert Restoration Program aims to:
a. Educate citizens about the environmental and fiscal costs of improperly designed and/or installed culverts
b. Identify and inventory all road/stream crossings in the Bad River Watershed
c. Prioritize crossings in need of repair with respect to fish passage barriers and sedimentation
d. Search for funding to help pay for new installations
The Culvert Restoration Program is successful due to a collaborative partnership of local governments and agencies. Key partners of the program in addition to BRWA are the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Wisconsin DNR, Ashland County, Iron County, Bayfield County, local town officials and road crews, and streamside landowners.