Assessing Culverts in Minnesota: Fish Passage and Storm Vulnerability

  • Successful culvert designs should resemble the characteristics of the waterway and support its natural flow.
  • Researchers gathered data from 50 culverts across the state to evaluate fish passage.
Status:  Complete
Report Date:  12/23/2021


In 2019, MnDOT produced a comprehensive and accessible culvert design guide to help Minnesota practitioners design culverts that support stream connectivity and the passage of aquatic organisms. In this study, researchers sought to ensure that culverts designed using the guidance would continue to work well in future high- and low-flow events brought on by climate change. The research team assessed 50 culverts across the state to identify current connectivity challenges and then used modeling software and historic data to simulate possible drought and flood scenarios. The results showed that culverts built according to the design guidance will likely continue to allow fish and other aquatic wildlife to pass through despite changing environmental conditions.

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