Adding to the “1,000 Miles Campaign” on Wisconsin’s Douglas Creek

Written by: Jeff Hastings

Douglas Before: Three perched culverts impeded movement of brook trout to upstream habitat
Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The fall of 2013 marked the completion of the Douglas Creek culvert replacement project, in Jackson County, Wisconsin, where three perched culverts had previously prevented brook trout from migrating upstream to important spawning habitat. Project partners removed the undersized and improperly placed culverts and replaced them with two 6½-foot in diameter, 80-foot long culverts.

Looking downstream, before culvert replacement. Misalignment with stream resulted in large sediment deposits.
Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The new culverts were lowered to the proper depth and aligned with the stream channel. The shallow-rooted, invasive trees in the riparian corridor were removed and the stream banks re-sloped to reduce soil erosion. Native vegetation was then planted in the riparian corridor to help stabilize the banks and provide overhead cover for trout.

Douglas After: Two 6 1/2 ft. culverts, 80 ft. length replaced the three smaller perched culverts.
Photo by Jackson County Land Conservation Department

Replacement of the culverts improved natural stream flows and sediment transport, and opened up 3½ upstream miles of stream habitat for trout and other fish species. Project partners included Town of Franklin, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Orvis Company, Trout Unlimited, and the Jackson County Land Conservation Department.

After: Upstream view of slope and stabilized banks. Photo by Jackson County Land Conservation Department

Trout are now able to reach their native spawning areas and the existing roadway safety will be greatly improved while preventing road embankment erosion from being deposited directly into the stream. Replacing the problem culverts opened up 3½ miles upstream and resulted in a total of 9 miles of newly reconnected habitat.

For more information on the Orvis/TU 1,000 Miles Campaign, visit the Orvis Commitment page.

Map of Big and Douglas Creek Subwatershed Map from Trout Unlimited

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