Evaluating Culverts in the High Ridge Region

On October 30, SVT’s Dan Stimson and Matt Morris invited several of our partners in the High Ridge Initiative to attend a training session on culvert assessment. Participants learned how to study culverts and other road-stream crossings to determine whether wildlife can pass through them easily.

One goal of the High Ridge Initiative is to create long corridors of conserved lands where wild animals can search for food and nesting spots. When conserved lands are intersected by roadways, then coyotes, fox, deer, and other animals must cross through traffic as they roam the landscape.

We attended the training to learn how to evaluate existing culverts in the High Ridge area and to consider the use of culverts in creating wildlife corridors on conservation lands.

Culverts can make it easy for cars to cross over a stream, but they often do not provide safe passage to aquatic creatures and other wildlife. Culverts that sit below water level on one side of a road but sit above water level on the other side prevent fish from swimming upstream. Culverts that are only as wide as a stream and do not encompass any of the adjacent stream bank offer no help to small animals that need to cross under a roadway.

The training session was coordinated by the North Atlantic Aquatic Connectivity Collaborative. It was led by Jake Lehan, Stream Crossing Assessment Coordinator for Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration.

High Ridge partners who attended were Dan Stimson and Matt Morris (SVT), Marc Sevigny (Harvard Conservation Trust), Lisa St. Amand (Boxborough Conservation Trust), Amy Green (Littleton Conservation Commission), and Don MacIver and Rick Findlay (Littleton Conservation Trust).

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