About 7 years ago the Kenai Watershed Forum (KWF) surveyed several Seward area creeks to add them to the Anadromous Waters Catalog (the State’s official list of salmon bearing water bodies) and to look for culverts that prevent fish passage. There are over 120 culverts on the Peninsula that prevent adequate fish passage and 17 of these are in the Seward area. These culverts prevent both spawning and juvenile salmon from swimming through them and can close off miles of otherwise good fish habitat.
In 2009, RBCA helped to oversee the installation of three local culverts; two on Old Exit Glacier Road and one on Dairy Hill Lane.
Recently the KWF secured funding from Federal, Borough and private sources to replace a fish-blocking culvert on Timber Lane, in the Questa Woods subdivision. RBCA was asked to handle all the logistics involved with design, private property approval, obtaining permits, bidding and construction.
On July 10, 2012, years of work came to fruition and a 72 inch arched metal culvert was installed adjacent to the old 24 inch culvert. Leaving the old culvert in place made the construction work easier and it allowed reduced impacts to the creek (a small groundwater -fed tributary to Salmon Creek). Metco employed a few special techniques to install several inches of clean gravel and rock inside the new culvert so that it closely mimics a natural river channel. Within one day small salmon fry were seen swimming into the new culvert. Success!
Our next focus will be to replace a 4 foot diameter “overflow” culvert that has been passing most of Japanese Creek under Dieckgraeff Rd, just prior to the solid waste transfer station. Due to extreme gravel deposits just above the main, 12 foot diameter culvert, most of this creek has jumped into a new channel and flows through this under-sized culvert. No fish can make it to the large wetland area just west of the transfer station.