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Fish Passage


State highways cross streams and rivers on bridges and culverts throughout Oregon, which can impede fish migration. The Oregon Department of Transportation continues to evaluate and implement ways to improve fish passage, to provide fish access to important habitat in order to help maintain healthy waterways and healthy fish populations.

Fish passage barriers are found statewide and include infrastructure such as:

  • culverts,
  • tide gates, and
  • bridges.

Removing a single migration barrier can deliver impressive benefits, improving access to fish habitat.

Incorporating fish passage options into road crossings of streams can improve access to vital habitats for adult and juvenile fish. Reconnecting stream habitat provide the access to habitats fish need to flourish. This is an important component of protecting and restoring fish populations, which can have multiple benefits -- including for commercial and recreational fishing industries.

Related Programs

Culvert Engineering

​ODOT and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife have partnered through a pilot project to improve fish passage, while make critical repairs to aging culverts in western Oregon.

The repairs do not meet full fish passage criteria, but passage is improved at each site. To offset the delay in providing full fish passage, ODOT paid into an ODFW-managed account that will help fund five of the highest priority fish passage projects in the state.


In 2016, ODOT repaired six culverts under the project at a cost of $737,862. Replacing these same culverts through traditional methods would have cost $36.45 million.

Next Steps

Based on the success of the pilot project, ODFW and ODOT are considering expanding the program once the pilot project is complete in 2018.

To maintain the safety of the state highway system, more than 10,000 culverts need repair or replacement, providing opportunity for potential fish passage improvements.

Additional Information

Culvert Repair Pilot Project Annual Report, 2016


Rob Trevis, PE - Culvert Engineering Program Lead

Phone: 503-986-3860

Contact the Geo-Environmental Section

4040 Fairview Industrial Drive SE, MS 6
Salem, Oregon 97302
Phone: 503-986-3252
Fax: 503-986-3249

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