Improving Colorado Mountain Highway Culvert Stream Crossings for Trout Passage

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Capstone Project

Degree Name

Master of Applied Science

Organizational Unit

University College, Environmental Policy and Management


Environmental Policy & Mgmt

First Advisor

William Robinson


CDOT, Colorado Department of Transportation, Culvert, Fish, Geomorphology, Habitat, Highway, Hydrology, Passage, Stream


Highways can be effective barriers to animal migration. Where highways cross over streams, a passageway, typically a culvert, not designed for fish access can cut off an organism from miles of habitat. Traditional methods of culvert design, to convey floodwaters, reduced access to aquatic and riparian range. The Colorado Department of Transportation likely has numerous culverts that restrict aquatic passage. This paper provides guidance to CDOT for assessment of stream geomorphic conditions affecting culvert performance for fish passage, understanding aquatic organism habitat requirements, and incorporating ecological parameters into culvert designs that benefit fish and other organisms. A case study illustrates culvert problems in a difficult geomorphic setting including a fish passage assessment to evaluate stream stability for long-term culvert reliability.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.

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