North Atlantic Aquatic Connectivity Collaborative

Assessing Fish Passage

The objective of most road-stream crossing assessments is primarily to identify stream crossings that are problematic from a fish passage perspective. Some assessments can help identify structures that are vulnerable to flooding or failure; these are described in assessing vulnerability section of the toolkit. Field assessments are not decision-making tools; they are means for collecting initial information about conditions at road-stream crossing sites.

Various regional field assessment protocols have been developed and revised over the years. Using an existing regional protocol has many advantages, including access to regional databases that are already created and maintained, contributing to larger scale prioritization, and saving time and resources.

If the forms and questions do not fit your needs exactly, we recommend that you follow the relevant regional protocol and add a separate data sheet to answer additional questions of importance. This will allow your data to still fit into one of the existing regional databases.

Photo: Erika Bailey, TNC

Regional Stream Crossing Assessment Protocols

Northeastern U.S.:  The North Atlantic Aquatic Connectivity Collaborative (NAACC) is a network of individuals from universities, conservation organizations, and state and federal natural resource and transportation departments focused on improving aquatic connectivity across a thirteen-state region, from Maine to West Virginia. The NAACC has developed common protocols and training for assessing road-stream crossings for aquatic organism passage and developed a regional database to store and organize this field data.

NAACC Stream Crossing Survey Instruction Guide
NAACC Stream Crossing Survey Data Form
NAACC Stream Crossing Database

Great Lakes Region: The road-stream crossing survey protocol for the Great Lakes region is a screening-level assessment tool developed by state and federal agencies in Wisconsin and Michigan and several conservation organizations. Information collected at each site provides an estimate of passability by fish, and an estimate of the cost of replacing the existing structure with a fully passable structure.

Great Lakes Road Stream Crossing Inventory Instructions
Great Lakes Road Stream Crossing Inventory Data Sheet
Database template for organizing survey data and scoring passability

State and Agency-Specific Assessment Protocols

California Fish Passage Forum:  

Fish Passage Evaluation at Stream Crossings
Passage Assessment Database (PAD)

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife:

Assessment of Road Culverts for Fish Passage Problems
Statewide Culvert Inventory

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife:

Fish Passage Barrier and Surface Water Diversion Screening Assessment and Prioritization Manual
Fish Passage Program Data and Maps

Alaska Department of Fish and Game:

Culvert Inventory and Assessment for Fish Passage in the State of Alaska
Fish Passage Inventory Database

U.S. Forest Service:

National Inventory and Assessment Procedure for Identifying Barriers to Aquatic Organism Passage at Road-Stream Crossings  
FishXing software tool

Additional Resources

Scientific Basis of Road-Stream Crossing Assessments in the Ashuelot River Watershed


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