Culverts/Fish Passage

EF walker getting bridge across (8)SFEG has helped a variety of landowners replace fish passage barriers with new structures that provide fish unimpeded access to upstream habitat.  Landowners we work with range from individual homeowners and farmers, to neighborhood associations, to small industrial forestland owners, to cities and counties.  We complete a site visit to evaluate the barrier, then work with the landowner to identify a funding program that best fits the situation.  Available funding sources include the Washington Department of Natural Resources Family Forest Fish Passage Program (FFFPP), local Conservation Districts or the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). In areas that are considered high priorities for Chinook salmon or steelhead trout, funds may be available from the Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board.  On simple projects we work with volunteer groups, private foundations or other sources to get work done.  To set up a site visit contact Kyle Koch, SFEG’s Habitat Restoration Coordinator, at 360-336-0172 ext. 307 or

Watch this video to learn more about how Washington State is solving fish passage issues:







To find out whether a stream on your property supports salmon or has a culvert known to be a passage barrier (not all sites have been mapped!) check out the online maps provided on WDFW’s Salmon Scape website


Links to Potential Funding Sources

Family Forest Fish Passage Program (FFFPP)

          See this video for more info on the FFFPP:







Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

Salmon Recovery Funding Board


Recent SFEG Fish Passage Projects

Parson Creek 

This FFFPP-funded project repaired a fish passage barrier on a logging road that crosses Parson Creek, a tributary to the Samish River. Parsons Creek contains Chinook, coho, chum, and pink salmon, as well as sea-run and resident populations of cutthroat, rainbow, steelhead, and Dolly Varden.   The culvert that was removed was an undersized 4-foot diameter corrugated metal pipe that was perched 3.5 feet above the stream bed.  Fixing this culvert was high priority for SFEG as Parson Creek has ideal substrate and woody debris that creates premium spawning areas for coho, steelhead, and cutthroat trout. Correcting the Parson Creek barrier restored access to nearly 1,000 meters of high quality spawning habitat and 0.75 miles of stream to anadromous fish.


BEFORE: (left) Parson Creek’s perched impassable culvert in 2001, and AFTER (right) with the new culvert installed


East Fork Walker Creek

SFEG worked with a private landowner and the Family Forest Fish Passage Program to improve access for coho, steelhead and potentially juvenile Chinook by replacing an undersized 4-foot diameter culvert with a 60-foot steel bridge. This project opened one mile of high quality habitat on the East Fork of Walker Creek in the Nookachamps watershed for salmon and steelhead migration. Volunteers and an EarthCorps crew revegetated 2.5 acres of habitat along the stream as well.

EF Walker

BEFORE (left): East Fork Walker Creek, with undersized culvert blocking fish access upstream and AFTER (right): new bridge restores the natural stream channel for fish access upstream.


Cascade River Tributary

In 2015, staff and volunteers from the Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group, Skagit Land Trust, and Wildcat Steelhead club removed a culvert from a tributary to the Cascade River.  The 36″ culvert was undersized and deteriorating, and served an access road that was no longer needed after the Land Trust purchased the property.  Amorterra Inc. donated time to work with students from the Bellingham Technical College to complete surveys and develop permit drawings. The Skagit Watershed Council and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account program provided funding to complete the work.  Removal of this culvert opened more than 1.1 miles of stream to coho salmon and steelhead trout.  Spawner surveys conducted at the site in 2016 documented 54 spawning coho salmon in the ½ mile survey reach upstream of the removed culvert.

Cascade Trib

BEFORE (left): Cascade tributary with fish passage barrier culvert; AFTER (right): summer stream channel without culvert

Video of Cascade River tributary culvert removal


To set up a site visit contact Kyle Koch, SFEG’s Habitat Restoration Coordinator, at 360-336-0172 ext. 307 or



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