Once you have determined your priority projects, you will need to secure the funds for implementation. Detailed cost estimates are part of the project design process, but you may decide to secure funding before proceeding to the design phase (especially if the design work itself is part of a funding proposal). If you do not have detailed cost estimates, you can work with local, state, or federal fish and wildlife personnel or local transportation departments to estimate project costs for any funding proposals. You may be able to reduce overall project costs by working on a set of sites, rather than replacing crossings one at a time.
The costs of stream crossing replacement projects are significant. You can expect that a replacement will cost somewhere between $50,000 and $400,000, depending on the type of structure and its size, as well as local factors such as alignment, stream slope, road cover, and type of road.
By identifying projects that meet a variety of objectives – from ecological to resiliency – you may be able to access funding from multiple sources. Working with partners, you can identify possible sources of funding, including grants, loans, and in-kind contributions. State and federal grant funding sources typically require a match commitment from the applicant. The nature of partners’ contributions will depend upon their capacity as well as the importance of the project for their objectives. Here are some examples of partner contributions:
- The transportation department (town, county, or state) with jurisdiction over the road where the crossing is located is likely to contribute to a project by providing equipment, equipment operators, traffic control, and other labor. Traffic management (road closures and detours) are other likely contributions. Some transportation departments may have engineering capacity and/or cash to contribute.
- Conservation and watershed groups as well as soil and water conservation districts may be able to conduct the in-depth field work and site survey necessary for design. These partners may provide on-site coordination once projects are underway.
- State and federal natural resource agencies may have engineers on staff capable of designing the project.
The more contributions you can secure from project partners, the stronger your application for financial support will be.
Obtaining grant funding for stream crossing replacement projects can be challenging and competitive. Your projects will be more likely to be funded if they have emerged from a watershed scale prioritization or watershed management plan.
Each region has its own unique set of potential funding opportunities, which may include local, state, and federal transportation and natural resource agencies.
Some U.S. federal government grants for improvement of stream crossings include:
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Fish Passage Program
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Restoration Center
- National fish habitat partnership programs such as the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture
Other funding sources may include:
- Grant opportunities managed by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
- State-specific funding sources such as Maine’s Water Bond, California’s Fish Passage Project Funding, or New York’s Water Quality Improvement Project Grant Program
- Mitigation funding programs such as Oregon’s Fish Passage Mitigation Bank
- Regional basin funding such as the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund
- FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program to replace stream crossings that have sustained repetitive damages during federally declared disasters
- Wildlife Conservation Society’s Climate Adaptation Fund