We are nearing the end of our two-year-long project to identify bridges and culverts that are barriers to wildlife and are not designed to handle floods. This winter we continue to work with our project team to develop preliminary designs for the replacement of the highest priority structures. The project will come to a close this spring and will serve as a very useful planning tool as we work with Towns and other partners to speed up replacement with structures better equipped to survive storms and reduce fish and wildlife impacts.
Over the past few years, our field crews have come to respect steep banks, hot waders and vigorous stands of poison ivy as they worked to visit and survey roughly 1,000 sites around the region. In December we added a new challenge to the list – brutal cold. Over a few days in December, including the coldest day of the year, we were out doing one last round of measurements and checks on about 100 sites around the study area. In addition to getting important data for the engineers to use for their design work, we were able to verify that survey rods freeze closed and pens stop writing very quickly on a windy, 1 degree day. We were very thankful for pencils and the car heater to help us through the day.
As this project draws to a close, we are looking forward to getting to work implementing upgrades at some of the bridges and culverts that will provide the biggest improvements for public safety and wildlife alike.