DNR, landowners: Easing traffic jams for Washington fish

Before (left) and after photos show how a culvert replacement in Thurston County opened up this Black River tributary to more fish. Photo: DNR/DFW/RCO/Project Sponsors
Before (left) and after photos show how a culvert replacement in Thurston County opened up this Black River tributary to more fish. Photo: DNR/DFW/RCO/Project Sponsors

Think that holiday traffic is bad? Imagine trying to squeeze the family sedan through a crumpled circle of metal.

That’s the struggle many trout, salmon and other species of fish face as they make their way up Washington’s streams and rivers.

Since 2003, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has been working to clear aging structures that impede fish passage on private land with the Family Forest Fish Passage Program. Since its inception, the program, also known as FFFPP, has helped some 200 landowners replace more than 244 barriers that have opened up more than 524 miles of habitat to fish.

Blocked passages are replaced by bridges and bottomless culverts that provide fish an expressway through streams under roads on their way in and out of spawning grounds.

Because removing those blocked passages and building new, wider structures can be expensive, DNR is able to help small forest landowners foot the bill. A legislative appropriation for the FFFPP pays nearly all the costs of the replacement.

Watch our video about the Family Forest Fish Passage Program and learn how just applying to the program can help small forest landowners deal with regulatory burdens around the culvert removal requirements.
The program is administered by DNR’s Small Forest Landowner Office.

If you have a culvert on your property that may be impeding fish passage, you can apply online for funding help. By signing up for Family Forest Fish Passage Program (FFFPP) a landowner can have their culvert or other in-stream structure evaluated for eligibility.

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