What is Stream Smart?

In 2011, Maine Audubon and partners launched Stream Smart, a program that trains contractors, landowners and other professionals responsible for road-stream crossings, how to construct crossings that maintain fish and wildlife habitat while protecting roads and public safety. Since the start of the project, we have hosted workshops and fields trainings for over 850 people across the state and reconnected hundreds of miles of stream habitat for wildlife.

Stream Smart road crossings let the stream act like a stream and make the road invisible to the stream. View the Stream Smart and Maine Stream Crossings: New Designs to Restore Stream Continuity fliers to learn more.

Why are Streams important?

Streams are important habitat for fish and other wildlife. 85% of wildlife species either live in or use riparian (water-related) habitats throughout the year to breed, travel, and find food and water.

But in Maine, brook trout, Atlantic salmon, river otters and other wildlife get “stuck” at decaying, undersized stream culverts. One of the least visible elements of our built infrastructure, stream culverts allow roads to cross Maine’s vast network of streams. Surveys show that up to 90% of Maine culvert crossings make movement difficult or impossible for wildlife at least part of the year. When wildlife habitat is fragmented like this, it can result in population declines and the loss of species. View the Value of Stream Smart Road Crossings Presentation for an overview.

Why are Stream Smart crossings a wise investment? 

Stream Smart road crossings last longer than traditional culverts and reduce maintenance costs, saving money in the long term. Stream Smart crossings can typically withstand flooding and high storm intensity (the frequency of high-intensity storms is on the rise) without damaging the road.

Watch the Stream Smart introductory video below to learn more:

Additional videos are available in the Video section of the Resource Library.

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