State of Our
Watersheds: Culverts Blocking Fish Access in Kitsap
Culverts mess up
fish habitat. And Kitsap County is filled with them.
In fact, there are
enough culverts to partially or fully block salmon from accessing 78 miles of
habitat in East Kitsap County, according to the 2016 State of Our
Watersheds, recently released by the tribes of NWIFC.
percent of the drainage units are impacted by high road densities while 37
percent are negatively impacted by stream crossings.
densities require stream crossings, culverts and other structures that
constrain stream channels. The removal of fish passage restrictions in streams
that provide important salmon habitat was identified as high priority in the
East Kitsap Salmon Recovery Plan since they create physical obstructions that
impede access to spawning and rearing habitats.
mapping work in East Kitsap suggests that culverts and other man-made
obstructions block considerably more habitat than (the estimated 78 miles)
shows that almost every watershed in the East Kitsap Study area is impacted by
high road densities and a significant number are also impacted by stream
crossings. The proper function of salmon-bearing streams may be at risk when
road densities exceed 2 miles of road per square mile of area and cease to
function properly at densities over 3 miles/square mile. Streams have also been
shown to approach poor biological conditions when exceeding 3.2 crossings per
mile of stream length.
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