Analysis of projected replacement and costs for potential aquatic barriers maintained by MaineDOT.
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Analysis of projected replacement and costs for potential aquatic barriers maintained by MaineDOT.

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  • Abstract:
    Recent discussions around State and federal stream crossing regulations have focused on resolving existing barriers

    to fish movement created by pipe culverts associated with transportation infrastructure. Approximately 30% of

    Maine has been surveyed for stream barriers through the joint efforts of state and federal fisheries agencies and non-government organizations, which have mapped this data via GIS. These same entities are currently working toward

    prioritizing identified barriers according to potential habitat value and species status. The resulting database contains

    location information, but does not differentiate crossings for which the state is responsible from those under local or

    private responsibility. This lack of distinction makes it near to impossible to quantify specific future costs to

    MaineDOT other than on a crossing by crossing basis.

    The overall project was focused on continued development of the Maine Barrier Database, integrating MaineDOT

    crossings with that database, and supporting the development of

    the Maine Stream Habitat Viewer

    as a tool to be used by MaineDOT, municipalities and others for viewing aquatic habitat data in association with

    stream crossings. The final dataset developed for use by MaineDOT includes important attributes associated with

    fisheries habitat values, as well as cost estimates for evaluating addition of projects to work plans.

    There are two major outcomes from this work that are already benefitting MaineDOT.

    1) Completion of GIS aquatic barrier work that was started under other sponsorship: The results were

    delivered to MaineDOT as ArcMAP coverages and to the Maine Office of GIS for incorporation into the Maine

    Stream Habitat Viewer. MaineDOT has been using both products on a regular basis. The products have been of

    great value in enabling the Environmental Office staff to deliver quick preliminary assessments of aquatic habitat

    that might affect MaineDOT projects.

    2) Application of culvert replacement cost model for providing fish passage: Several years ago University of

    Southern Maine/Muskie School developed a cost model for culvert replacement. The focus was on replacement

    culverts that would be accepted as providing fish passage. This cost model was applied to data generated from his

    GIS data in (1) above. The results show order-of-magnitude implications for various replacement strategies.

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