Salmonid Restoration Federation

2011 Fish Passage Design & Engineering Workshop

Monday, May 16, 2011 to Wednesday, May 18, 2011

This hands-on workshop assisted engineers, hydrologists, biologists, and environmental planners who are involved in the design and implementation of fish passage projects. 

The cumulative effect of culverts, road crossings, and other structures up and down the coast has impaired fish passage greatly. The need exists to train county personnel, engineers, CalTrans, hydrologists, and fisheries biologists how to remove barriers, large and small, as an essential part of recovering coastal salmon and steelhead.

Fish passage improvement projects are often complicated by various site constraints and socioeconomic challenges, requiring creative approaches. Techniques for retrofitting existing structures are constantly evolving based on lessons learned from previous projects, such as the evolution of corner baffles. Innovative design methods, such as stream simulation and natural roughened channels, address the passage of both fish and other aquatic species. These techniques, however, require a more thorough understanding of stream morphology and sediment transport than the traditional stream crossing design. This workshop aims to provide an overall understanding of these constraints and the methodology to work toward successful restoration projects.

The workshop covered the design and implementation process, including:

  • Biological considerations
  • Site surveys and geomorphic assessment
  • State and federal fish passage design guidance
  • Stream simulation design
  • Grade control techniques
  • Retrofitting existing crossings
  • Contracting and implementation
  • Monitoring and adaptation

The intensive workshop included two days in the classroom, comprised of presentations, group exercises and local case studies. The third day featured field visits to local projects, and a specialized half-day workshop targeted specifically for engineers to explore in more detail the calculations used to develop successful designs. The agenda also highlighted the new “Fish Passage and Design Implementation” chapter of the California Salmonid Stream Habitat Restoration Manual that addresses fish passage at road-stream crossings, small dams, and other in-stream obstructions. It details contemporary design methods and provides guidance on implementation. 

Michael Love, Kosmo Bates, and Ross Taylor

Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center
921 Waterfront Drive
Eureka , CA

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