The fully-installed fish passage culvert replacement, Omak
Okanogan County, City of Omak
Fish Passage Structures Installation
Colville Confederated Tribes (CCT) of the Colville Indian Reservation
In sites like the Omak Creek Watershed, engineering has historically focused on
“getting the water down the mountain.” Roads, bridges and culverts were designed
to safely transport people and goods, as well as facilitate human transportation and
enterprise. Culverts only needed to be large enough to get the design storm
event down the mountain without damage to the road. But in the current project,
a broader, more systemic approach has been taken that focuses on “getting the fish up
the mountain” along with getting the water downstream. The design goal
for these projects was to re-engineer the road and stream crossings to
provide a culvert large enough to hold the entire channel bankfull width –
recreating conditions that were present for fish prior to the forest road
Washington NRCS received funds to complete the fish passage work for the Omak Watershed Plan begun under PL-566 through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA).
The Watershed Plan included the identified needs of culvert replacement where
the fish passage was blocked. Through a collaborative effort with NRCS engineering
staff and and CCT Fish and Wildlife staff, 16 sites were identified, surveyed,
designed and getting installed within the 18 months of the ARRA funding window.
The staff coordination required to accomplish this workload is an outstanding
example of NRCS engineering skills and team work.