Spawning migration of Arctic grayling through Poplar Grove Creek culvert, Glennallen, Alaska, 1986
spawning, migration, grayling, design, design criteria, fish passage, transportation, water velocity, inlet, swimming, culverts, radio telemetry, telemetry, monitoring, fish movement, hydrology, hydraulics, water quality, swimming performance, velocity distribution, horizontal, Gradient
Final Report No. FHWA-AK-RD-88-09
Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities
Specification of appropriate culvert design criteria for fish passage has been a source of considerable, long-standing controversy within the State of Alaska. In an effort to resolve this issue, the Alaska Departments of Fish and Game and Transportation and Public Facilities chose the Poplar Grove Creek culvert crossing of the Richardson Highway located near Glennallen, Alaska, as a study site for a Joint interagency fish passage study. During May 1986, the migration of Arctic grayling (Thymallus arcticus) through the Poplar Grove Creek culvert was studied. The highway culvert Is 33.5 m (110 ft) long and 1.5 m (5 ft) In diameter. Under some flow conditions,the culvert's water velocities (particularly at the culvert inlet and outlet) have exceeded that reported as the sustained swimming speed of Arctic grayling. The purpose of the study was to document the conditions that permitted or prevented Arctic grayling passage through the culvert and to recommend guidelines for fish passage through this and other culverts.Successful fish passage through the culvert ranged from 12% to 79% at mean culvert outlet velocities of 1.94 m/s to 1.81 m/s (6.35 fps to 5.94 fps) and water temperatures of 2.4oC to 7.1oC,respectively. Weighted average water velocities for the entire length of the culvert barrel ranged from 0.91 m/s to 0.79 m/s (2.98 fps to 2.59 fps), respectively, during this period. Water velocities near the culvert wall (the area actually utilized by fish while ascending the culvert barrel) ranged from 0.77 m/s to 0.73 m/s (2.53 fps to 2.4 fps), respectively, during this period. Radio telemetry techniques for monitoring fish movements through culverts were assessed and proved useful. Stream hydrology, culvert hydraulics, water quality, and temperature and fish sexual maturity data were collected and related to observed swimming performance. Velocity distribution profiles were measured to further evaluate the ''V-occupied zone" concept (the zone used by fish during culvert passage). Previous fish passage studies have largely recognized only a fish's profile drag as a deterrent to its passage through a hydraulic structure. Accordingly, previous investigations have focused on the water velocities that fish may successfully ascend for fixed time periods. As a departure from most previous fish passage studies, this investigation considers the concept that fish may successfully ascend for fixed time periods. As a departure from most previous fish passage studies, this investigation considers the concept that fish may also have to contend with adverse horizontal pressure gradient and virtual mass forces. Such adverse forces at the culvert inlet to outlet may restrict or block fish passage, even in the presence of otherwise acceptable water velocities in the culvert barrel. This study thus recommends that future design criteria specifically consider and address the distinctly different power and energy requirements for fish in the culvert inlet, outlet, and barrel. A preliminary evaluation of the power and energy requirements for selected fish which successfully negotiated the Poplar Grove Creek culvert in 1986 is presented.