Minnesota Department of Transportation Research Services Section
In Minnesota there is not a standard culvert design used at road crossings to improve aquatic organism or fish
passage. The design process for fish passage in Minnesota is currently based on the knowledge and experience of
local county, state and DNR personnel. The design methodology attempts to maintain the natural stream
dimensions, pattern and profile through the culvert crossing. If designed properly aquatic organisms and fish that
can make it upstream to the culvert should be able to pass through the culvert. This research was conducted to
better understand the hydraulic conditions related to the practice of recessing culverts and other fish passage design
elements over a range of landscapes in Minnesota. The design elements analyzed included bankfull width, slope,
channel materials, side barrels and recessed culverts. Nineteen culvert sites were survey around the state. The main
criterion used to evaluate performance of the culverts was the presence or absence of adequate sediment in the
recessed culvert barrel. Six of the fourteen sites with recessed barrels had no sediment accumulation. A likely
reason that these culverts lack sediment was increased velocities due to improper sizing relative to bankfull channel
width and the accumulation of sediment in the side barrels. Wider Rosgen “C” type channels also correlated with
performance issues related to culvert design.
Minnesota Department of Transportation
Research Services Section
Hansen, Brad; Johnson, Sara; Nieber, John L.; Marr, Jeff.
Performance Assessment of Oversized Culverts to Accommodate Fish Passage.
Minnesota Department of Transportation Research Services Section.
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