Culvert Assessment for Fish Passage

Aquatic Connectivity Assessment Training

Aquatic Habitat Connectivity is the degree to which the watercourse features facilitates organism movement and other ecological flows. Movement of both abiotic (sediment, water, nutrients) and biotic (anadromous and non-anadromous fish species, other aquatic organisms) is essential to aquatic ecosystems.

In Nova Scotia, there are over 30,000 water crossings where human development has necessitated the crossing of a watercourse using a culvert or a bridge. Most of these crossings are culverts. Surveys of culverts consistently and conservatively estimate that 60%-80% of these culverts are full or partial barriers to some or all Nova Scotia fish species. This is particularly problematic for diadromous species that need to reach upstream areas of their watersheds to spawn or feed. 

The NSLC Adopt a Stream Program has offered Aquatic Connectivity Assessment Training since 2010. This training enables watershed stewardship groups to plan, prioritize and complete surveys of water crossings in their local watersheds. 

This courses main focus is on culvert surveys. Culvert data collected using these protocols can be used to assess the degree of the barrier to fish passage and can also be modeled using Fishxing; freeware developed by the USFS to model fish passage through a culvert for a variety of fish species.

If you are interested in this training course, please contact us at fishpassage@adoptastream.ca for more information.