Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program Fish Passage New Hampshire
New Hampshire NRCS District Conservationist, Mike Harrington, and Conservation Engineer, Ed Hansalik, provided technical and financial assistance on a fish passage project in Second College Grant. An unincorporated property located in the northeastern corner of the state, Second College Grant is an original land grant of about 26,000 acres that has been under continuous ownership by Dartmouth College since the early 1800s.
New Hampshire Fish and Game (NHFG) has conducted telemetry studies in most of the waterways and has identified this parcel as containing some of the best Native Brook Trout habitats in the state. Working on recommendations from NHFG’s fisheries biologist, NRCS addressed the resource concern through the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP). The culvert at Alder Brook was an obstruction for fish passage, preventing access to the tributaries above the culvert; it washed out frequently and was perched above the downstream end of the culvert.
The photo to the left shows the obstructed channel after rainfall events removed a culvert (about five feet in diameter), transporting it roughly 60 feet downstream, according to Harrington. The topography and soils characterizing the northeastern section of the state concentrate the runoff and have little storage capacity which causes the brooks and streams to rise and fall over short durations of time. Channel obstructions increase water velocity during these events washing out culverts that are unable to handle the capacity/velocity of flow.
Completed in June 2011, Alder Brook Bridge, approximately 40 feet long, allows access to sites across the channel for logging and early successional habitat management. The restoration has also allowed the trout to swim up and downstream. NRCS New Hampshire, NHFG, and Dartmouth College have developed a continuing partnership with efforts focused on the Native Brook Trout and other wildlife species within the Second College Grant property.
--Adapted from NRCS New Hampshire