What helps wildlife and protects public safety at the same time? Stream Smart crossings, of course! Stream Smart crossings are culverts and bridges that allow streams to flow naturally as if the road wasn’t even there. Not only does this allow fish and wildlife to move freely and safely through the landscape, but it also reduces the risk of a road washing out in large storms therefore protecting investments in our infrastructure.
Since 2011, Maine Audubon has been working with partners all across the state to provide training on how to construct culverts and bridges that restore and maintain fish and wildlife habitat while also protecting roads and public safety. In those ten years, we’ve hosted workshops and field trainings for more than 1,000 people across the state. We offer introductory workshops as well as hands-on field trainings for road professionals. With nearly 30,000 road/stream crossings in the state, the majority of which block fish and wildlife passage, and with annual storms getting larger and more frequent over time, replacing undersized and improperly placed crossings with Stream Smart crossings is critical for Maine’s future in the face of climate change.
Interested in seeing more Stream Smart crossings in your town but don’t know where to start? Join us for an introductory workshop on April 6, from 8:30 a.m. to noon, where you will learn about the value of free-flowing streams, the regulations that are applicable when working on road/stream crossings, the principles of building Stream Smart crossings, and the costs and benefits of Stream Smart crossings as well as where you might find funding.
One area of funding for municipal crossings is the “Municipal Stream Crossing Upgrade Grant Program”, administered by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The DEP just announced the latest round of grant awards, with 42 projects across the state receiving funding of up to $125,000 per project. Since 2015, this program has awarded more than $10 million to help fund more than 150 projects all across the state. It’s a smart investment that can reconnect habitat and protect infrastructure at the same time!
The workshop will be free, and held online this year. We expect a great turnout! Bring your questions and bring a friend, and we’ll “see” you on April 6.
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