Crooked Pond Brook

Before replacement the two undersized culverts had a drop at their outlet and contained no natural streambed material. The crossing was rated as a moderate barrier to stream life was at higher risk of failure in a flood.

Tributary: Crooked Pond Brook

Approach: Culvert Replacement (Completed in 2013)

The Project

The removal and replacement of twin 36 inch culverts on Crooked Pond Brook in Boxford is part of a four-phase program to improve stream habitat and eventually restore this section of the Fish Brook/Crooked Pond Brook watershed to Cold Water Fishery status. These phases include improved fish passage on Longmeadow Brook (completed September 2011), streambed restoration at the headwaters of Crooked Pond Brook, and culvert replacement at Middleton Road.

The new crossing provides a stream bed that should serve as a naturally functioning migration corridor for a variety of animals. The single, large diameter structure will allow the stream to pass water and debris downstream during floods rather than washing out the culvert.
Photo: J. LeJeune

In November 2013, two perched, undersized culverts were replaced with a single, bridge-like arched culvert designed to meet engineering standards for fish and floods alike. The stream bed that runs through the upgraded structure now resembles the stream bed above and below the culvert as it should. This will greatly improve migration paths for fish and wildlife along the stream. It will also allow for natural downstream movement of water, debris and sediment during higher flows decreasing the chance of culvert failure in a flood.

Prior surveys of the local watershed have confirmed the presence of a foundation macroinvertebrate community as well as cold water and anadromous fishes including brook trout, fallfish, river herring and American eel. Upstream access would provide increased spawning habitat and refuge from warm water. This project removed a significant blockage to wildlife and river processes and is an excellent demonstration of the way more and more of the region’s road-stream crossings will need to look if we want to protect our river resources and reduce risk of culvert failure.

More on this Project


Project Team: Town of Boxford (owner), Town of Boxford Lakes, Ponds & Streams Committee (applicant), Ipswich River Watershed Association (representative), Trout Unlimited, Trout Unlimited Nor’East Chapter, O’Neill Associates (project engineer), Town of Boxford DPW (project contractor).

Funding Support: Trout Unlimited Embrace A Stream, Town of Boxford, Trout Unlimited Nor’East Chapter

Restoration Map (Interactive)

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