Land Management Agencies: Restoring Fish Passage Through Culverts on Forest Service and BLM Lands in Oregon and Washington Could Take Decades

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A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service manage more than 41 million acres of federal lands in Oregon and Washington, including 122,000 miles of roads that use culverts--pipes or arches that allow water to flow from one side of the road to the other. Many of the streams that pass through these culverts are essential habitat for fish and other aquatic species. More than 10,000 culverts exist on fish-bearing streams in Oregon and Washington, but the number that impede fish passage is unknown. Ongoing ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. November 23, 2001.

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Description

A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service manage more than 41 million acres of federal lands in Oregon and Washington, including 122,000 miles of roads that use culverts--pipes or arches that allow water to flow from one side of the road to the other. Many of the streams that pass through these culverts are essential habitat for fish and other aquatic species. More than 10,000 culverts exist on fish-bearing streams in Oregon and Washington, but the number that impede fish passage is unknown. Ongoing agency inventory and assessment efforts have identified nearly 2,600 barrier culverts, but agency officials estimate that more than twice that number may exist. Although the agencies recognize the importance of restoring fish passage, several factors inhibit their efforts. Most significantly, the agencies have not made enough money available to do all the necessary culvert work. In addition, the often lengthy process of obtaining federal and state environmental clearances and permits, as well as the short seasonal "window of opportunity" to do the work, affects the agencies' ability to restore fish passages quickly. Furthermore, the shortage of experienced engineering staff limits the number of projects that can be designed and completed. BLM and the Forest Service have completed 141 culvert projects to remove barriers and to open an estimated 171 miles of fish habitat from fiscal year 1998 through 2000. Neither agency, however, knows the extent to which culvert projects ultimately improve fish passage because they don't require systematic post-project monitoring to measure the outcomes of their efforts."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • November 23, 2001

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • June 11, 2014, 5:03 a.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. Land Management Agencies: Restoring Fish Passage Through Culverts on Forest Service and BLM Lands in Oregon and Washington Could Take Decades, report, November 23, 2001; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc293700/: accessed July 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.