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Collaboratively Increasing Resiliency and Improving Standards for Culverts and Road Stream Crossings to Prevent Future Floods While Restoring Aquatic Connectivity

Location: CT, DE, ME, MD, MA, NJ, NH, NY, PA, RI, VA, VT, WV

Project type: Resilience

Funding awarded: $1,270,000

Project Summary

This collaborative project through the North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative will implement a science- and partner-driven approach to identifying and prioritizing culvert and road stream crossing repair and replacements in the Hurricane Sandy area to increase the ability of the crossings to withstand future floods and to improve fish passage. Furthermore, a survey prioritization, data collection, maintenance and sharing infrastructure that can support the assessment protocol and scoring system, was created and can be found here:

Conservation Goals

  • Identify, survey, map and prioritize road crossing/culvert repair and replacement projects to maximize stream connectivity and post-flood resiliency in states impacted by Hurricane Sandy
  • Improve road crossing/culvert replacement standards to withstand future flood events, including predicted future storm discharges due to climate change
  • Improve fish passage in streams in the Hurricane Sandy affected area
  • Improve consistent understanding, knowledge, and support for culvert/road crossing replacement implementation that is designed to withstand floods and improve fish passage across the northeast

Project Benefits

  • Provides a consistent regional surveys and data of culverts and road stream crossings in the Northeast region based to guide decisions about flood protection and fish passage
  • Provides recommendations that can save municipal and taxpayer dollars on future road repairs
  • Provides recommendations that could protect human safety and benefit fish species

Project Partners

  • University of Massachusetts
  • Northeast Climate Science Center
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC)
  • U.S. Forest Service
  • Trout Unlimited
  • Northeast State biologists

Additional Details

Hurricane Sandy, along with other recent storms including Tropical Storm Irene, had major impacts on poorly-designed or undersized road stream crossings. Aquatic systems in the northeast are extremely fragmented as many of these crossings provide little or passage for fish and other aquatic organisms. The project will develop a database and maps of road stream crossings based on existing data and models, support additional surveys of road stream crossings, predict future storm discharge levels and develop models to prioritize crossing improvements and assess risk based on multiple ecological factors. The project will also include support for training and capacity to work with local and state users, be guided and supported by partners and users from the conservation, transportation and state and municipal planning sectors, universities, Non-governmental organizations and facilitated by the North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative, Northeast Climate Science Center and the Fisheries Program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with broad partner involvement and support.

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Last updated: April 11, 2018