Restoring fish passage through culverts on Forest Service and BLM lands in Oregon and Washington could take decades
fish passage, culverts, monitoring
BLM and the Forest Service are faced with the daunting task of addressing a largebacklog of fish passage barrier culverts. Given the limited funding available for fish passageprojects and the various factors that affect the agencies' ability to complete projects quickly,eliminating barrier culverts will be a long, costly effort. While both agencies are already usingculvert assessment information to help them prioritize projects, that is just the beginning of thebarrier elimination process. Ultimately, the culvert projects selected for implementation—whetherretrofitting existing culverts, replacing culverts, or removing culverts—must achieve the objectiveof restoring fish passage. Systematic monitoring of completed projects would provide theagencies with information to help them identify which methods actually work best under variouscircumstances and evidence that their expenditures have actually improved fish passage.Although monitoring would divert funding and staff from the implementation of culvert passageimprovement projects, state monitoring programs have demonstrated the value of monitoring toassess the effectiveness of barrier culvert projects and to allow these entities to incorporate thisknowledge into future planning and implementation efforts.