Prior to Tropical Storm Irene (TSI), the Moose Run road stream crossing on Nason Brook was a 35-foot long, 4-foot corrugated metal pipe located 2.35 miles upstream from the mainstem of the White River in Rochester, Vermont. The culvert washed out completely due to severe flooding during TSI in August 2011. After the flood event passed, the town completed an emergency repair by reinstalling a 30-foot undamaged section of the culvert back into the same location. As a result, FEMA would only commit funds to replace the missing 5-foot section of culvert.
Following the flood, the White River Partnership (WRP) proposed to become actively involved with coordinating the restoration effort of this site. The goal, replace the existing undersized culvert with an appropriately sized structure taking into account both the stream channel hydrology as well as aquatic organism passage (AOP). The WRP was able to secure funding from the US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) National Fish Passage Program, Green Mountain National Forest, and Orvis/Trout Unlimited to help the Town of Rochester replace the existing crossing with one that would protect community infrastructure as well as the aquatic resource in perpetuity.
With additional funds from the State of Vermont, project partners hired a local engineering firm to design a replacement structure that was both flood-resilient and fish-friendly. Moose Run is a difficult site for a stream crossing structure: the road is narrow and the stream is steep. In an effort to create the most cost effective and functional stream crossing, project partners reviewed numerous options and decided on a 32-foot bridge spanning Nason Brook’s 10-foot bankfull width. To support the bridge’s superstructure, the partners choose to use pre-cast concrete block footers placed well outside the high flow scour zone.
The Moose Run bridge installation was completed in December 2013, opening up access to an additional 0.3 miles of high quality coldwater stream channel. In total, over 2.65 miles of headwater spawning and rearing habitat was reconnected to the White River’s mainstem channel. Pre and post restoration monitoring confirms that fish passage has been restored at the stream crossing. USFWS biologists tagged brook trout downstream of the culvert before the restoration project was implemented and found tagged brook trout upstream of the bridge following project completion.
Project partners include the USFWS National Fish Passage Program, Green Mountain National Forest, Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture, Orvis/Trout Unlimited, FEMA, State of Vermont, Town of Rochester, and T.R. Fellows Engineering.