Knowledge CentreTechnical Resources SearchConference PapersRestoring Fish Passage to a Tributary of the Saugeen River

Restoring Fish Passage to a Tributary of the Saugeen River


A concrete open footing culvert located on Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) Highway 21 near Southampton, Ontario, and within the Saugeen First Nation Reserve #29 (see Appendix A), had reached the end of its service life and was in need of replacement. This culvert was perched above the streambed and restricted any upstream fish migration – this has likely been the case since the highway and the culvert were constructed over seventy-five years ago (see Appendix B for pictures of the original culvert). This tributary to the Saugeen River supports a diverse range of coldwater fish species such as Rainbow Trout, and is culturally significant to the community as it is a popular area for fishing. Restoring fish passage upstream of the culvert location was a key objective of this project.
The project team evaluated a number of alternative methods of replacing the culvert. One of the alternatives evaluated required a full closure of the highway to remove the original culvert and place a new culvert in the same location. Closing the two-lane section of road and detouring highway traffic would have had significant negative socio-economic impacts on the First Nation community that relies on Highway 21 as the main road into and out of the Reserve. Through the environmental assessment process it was decided that the original culvert would be left in place, filled in with concrete and capped at both ends. A new culvert would be installed using a ‘jack and bore’ trenchless technology, slightly to the east of the original culvert, allowing the highway above to remain open.
Construction of the new culvert began in summer 2015 and was completed in late fall 2015. A steel pipe culvert was installed beneath the highway, and then a liner with attached fish baffles was slipped inside the pipe. Because the location of the new culvert was shifted slightly to the east of the original culvert, the watercourse at the inlet and outlet of the new culvert required a small shift in alignment. Fish habitat features were then incorporated into the new channel at the inlet and outlet.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
2017 Environmental Achievement Award Nominations
Houston, K.
Environmental issues, Environmental legislation