Students at Work!

We worked with the City of Surrey, B.C. and students with the Salmon Habitat Restoration Program (SHaRP) to implement the largest culvert rehabilitation project in North America. A large concrete flume on the Bon Accord Creek, a tributary of the lower Fraser River, has blocked salmon from accessing important salmon spawning habitat for many decades. We worked with City staff to develop a Flexi Baffle installation plan to increase water depth and slow water velocity to create conditions much more conducive to salmon passage.

Flexi Baffles
Bon Accord Creek before Flexi Baffle Installation

SSA Environmental staff then worked to train SHaRP students and project managers to install Flexi Baffles at predetermined intervals through the flume. Students isolated the project area with barrier nets. They then installed Flexi Baffles using concrete drills and wedge anchors.

Students encountered masses of blackberry briars and tough access conditions, but they persevered. And the results speak for themselves!

Students will now monitor fish passage this fall as salmon begin their spawning migration.

Flexi Baffle Installation in Washington State

Flexi Baffle Installation in Terrell Creek

The Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association (NSEA) is a community-based, non-profit organization focused on reversing the trend of declining salmon runs in Whatcom County in Washington State. The NSEA works to enhance river and riparian habitat to support salmon recovery. They also work to educate people of all ages on how to provide Pacific salmon and steelhead with the best chance at survival.

We were contacted by the NSEA to develop a Flexi Baffle installation in a large box culvert on Terrell Creek, a tributary to Birch Bay on the Northern Puget Sound. The purpose of the project was to improve passage conditions for Pacific salmon migrating to their spawning grounds. This video documents the installation of the Flexi Baffles by NSEA staff.

Exciting Development in the Science of Improving Fish Passage Through Culverts

The Fish Passage Action Team is an international coalition of people working to improve fish passage through road culverts and other conveyances. We have developed a variety of systems to improve the hydraulics in culverts and other conveyances to create better passage conditions for a variety of fishes and other aquatic organisms.

We recently began developing Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) models to demonstrate the effects if the Flexi Baffle on hydrology of a culvert. We have developed baseline CFD models to assess the spacing and configuration of Flexi Baffles to create the conditions to meet various fish passage standards such as water depth and velocity.

We can now also provide an interested party an evaluation of your specific project site. We can use the actual dimensions, configuration and expected flows through your culvert, and we can develop a recommended Flexi Baffle installation. We can also provide the CFD modeling results that demonstrate that your Flexi Baffle installation is meeting the intended fish passage conditions. The link below is a Fish Passage Action Team newsletter on the first CFD model outputs.

Researchers Evaluate the Flexi Baffle to Improve Fish Passage through a Culvert in New York State

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is working in cooperation with Trout Unlimited to study fish passage through a perched culvert within the Beaver Kill drainage in Delaware County. DEC staff installed Flexi Baffles in a culvert to improve fish passage.

They are now using RFID fish tag technology to evaluate the passage of three trout species through the culvert outfit with Flexi Baffles. The DEC created a great video explaining this project. We look forward to working with these groups on future successful fish passage projects. Please contact us if you need information on the #flexibaffle. #TU #fishpassage #culvert #conservation

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game Used Culvert Baffles to Expand Steelhead Habitat

The IDFG used genetic testing to evaluate the sucess of installing baffles in a culvert on the Potlatch River in the Clearwater Basin. The state installed baffles in a culvert in an effort to help anadromous steelhead access historic spawning habitat. Researchers used genetic monitoring to observe how in just two years the composition of salmonids above the culvert was moving from the resident rainbow trout to the ocean-going life history of steelhead. Steelhead were again able to access historic spawning habitat.

Excellent Drawings Clearly Show Fish Passage Remediation Techniques

Our friends in New Zealand have developed some pen and ink illustrations of the Flexi Baffle installed in a culvert to improve fish passage. There is also an illustration of a modified Flexi Baffle installation equipped with spat rope. This type of application is intended for passage of weak swimming species such as eels.

The First Flexi Baffle Installation in North America

The Johnson Creek Watershed Council (JCWC) is a successful watershed restoration group focusing on Johnson Creek, a tributary to the Willamette River near Portland Oregon. Led by Executive Director Daniel Newberry, the JCWC work with the community to plan and implement a variety of volunteer and restoration actives in the Johnson Creek Basin. We worked with Restoration Project Manager Chuck Lobdell to complete the first Flexi Baffle installation in North America.

The JCWC wanted to improve fish passage through a 40-foot-long concrete culvert in the North Fork Johnson Creek Watershed. They found that coho salmon would exploit available habitat above the culvert of passage conditions were improved.

The video below demonstrated the results of the Flexi Baffle installation. The JCWC staff demonstrates how the flexible baffles interrupt laminar flow through the culvert and created resting pools which would allow fish to more easily pass through the culvert.

The JCWC installed Flexi Baffles in another culvert just upstream of that site. We will keep you posted on how it worked when we go out and inspect this summer. Stay tuned!

How to Maintain Hydraulic Capacity of Culverts & Protect the Fish with Shane Scott

I talked with Cassie Jordan about culverts and fish passage. This was my first podcast and it was a lot of fun!

Here is how Cassie introduced the podcast.

Join Cassie Jordan and Shane Scott, owner of SSA Environmental LLC, to learn how installing flexible culvert baffles is an easy and inexpensive method to improve fish passage through culverts. Salmon, trout, and other fish and aquatic species are often blocked from their habitat by poorly designed or constructed culverts. Repairing or removing culverts is costly and requires considerable time and resources. SSA has developed culvert baffles that improves fish passage in an effective and economic manner.

About Shane Scott: Shane has over 30 years’ experience working with fish passage and water quality issues. He works with utilities and other industries in minimizing adverse effects of developments on fish and wildlife resources in a cost-effective manner. Shane has worked with Clients to development and implement a variety of fish and wildlife mitigation measures that are both biologically effective and cost efficient. He has also worked on some of the largest and most complex fish passage projects in North America.

Improve fish passage with the Flexi Baffle

Check out this video of several Flexi Baffles in culverts throughout North America. The Flexi Baffle creates hydraulic conditions to improve the passage of fish and eels and other aquatic organisms. The flexible baffle material allows rocks, logs and other debris to pass through the culvert which eliminates expensive and dangerous maintenance required to remove the material. Also, the flexible baffles bend lay flat at high water, so they have minimal effect on culvert capacity.