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Monday, March 21, 2011
Dustin Terpening, WSDOT Communications, 360-757-5997 (Burlington)
Chris Damitio, Project Engineer, 360-788-7403 (Bellingham)
BLAINE – When Terrell Creek is flowing swiftly, the undersized culvert beneath State Route 548 pumps water like a fire hose. And when the creek is calm, the culvert sits several feet out of the water. Either way, it blocks fish trying to reach spawning grounds.
This summer, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) will replace the 6-foot-wide, 132-foot-long, round culvert with a larger, fish-friendly box culvert. The new culvert will be 10 feet tall, 25 feet wide and 88 feet long, and the inside will mimic a natural streambed with rocks, gravel and sand.
Pictures of the Terrell Creek culvert: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wsdot/sets/72157626244887234/.
WSDOT recently hired KLB Construction Inc. for $672,000 to replace the culvert located about a half mile east of Kickerville Road. Construction will begin after July 4, and there will be an 18-day road closure during construction. Detour signs will keep traffic moving past the construction.
“Fish can’t get through the culvert,” said project engineer Chris Damitio. “We’re talking about a 2-foot drop in the summer, and in the winter the velocity of water pumping through the culvert is like a fire hose. But when we’re done, they’ll be able to reach their spawning grounds.”
In recent years, there has been a push by community groups, state agencies and local businesses to restore Terrell Creek and its surrounding watershed. For more information about project, visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR548/TerrellCreekFishPassage/.
Removing fish barriers is important to the restoration of fish habitats and salmon recovery efforts. WSDOT’s Fish Passage Barrier Removal Program began in 1991 to identify and remove barriers to fish passage caused by culverts under state highways. This is a cooperative effort with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). For more information on the program, visit http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Environment/Biology/FP/fishpassage.htm.
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