Bad River Watershed Association

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Culvert Restoration Program

Making Our Roads Fish-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.

When roads were first built in the region, we focused on getting cars and trucks across the stream.  We didn't consider the potential negative effects that crossings can have on our streams and fish.  With over 1,000 road stream crossings in the Bad River Watershed, the effects of these crossings on our streams and fish can be significant.

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.

For more information on the Culvert Restoration Program please contact Tony Janisch, Executive Director, at 682-2003 or [email protected] // ]]>


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Threats To Water Poll

Please rank the questions below based on what you believe is the greater threat to water quality in the region. (5 being the highest, 1 being the lowest - use the "+" selector to vote. 5 votes for highest rank, 4 votes for second highest, etc.)

Large-scale agriculture
Failing septic/waste treatment systems
Stream sedimentation, washouts and erosion
Forest management practices
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15 Votes left
BRWAs Priorities Poll

Please rank the questions below based on how you believe BRWA should prioritize emerging water quality issues in the region. (5 being the highest, 1 being the lowest - use the "+" selector to vote. 5 votes for highest rank, 4 votes for second highest, etc.)

Establish baseline water quality conditions
Outreach and education
Restore problem erosional areas
Work with local authorities to address water quality issues
Protective waterway designations
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15 Votes left

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