In an effort to increase the wild steelhead populations, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game is working to restore steelhead habitat in the Potlatch River system. Part of their approach is to remove barriers that impede access to spawning and rearing habit. In the summer of 2018, Hatter Creek Earthworks LLC completed the Highway 8 Culvert Passage Improvements on Big Meadow Creek project for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. This project installed galvanized steel baffles in an existing culvert under State Highway 8 near Troy Idaho.
Below is an Idaho Fish and Game video showing steelhead habitat restoration on Big Meadow Creek including footage of this project.
You can learn more about what the Idaho Fish and Game is doing to improve Steelhead habitat at https://idfg.idaho.gov/blog/2017/02/restoring-habitat-steelhead-potlatch-river-watershed
The existing Big Meadow Creek culvert under State Highway 8 is 16 feet wide and 200 feet long. The floor of this culvert has a very smooth concrete surface which allowed the water to spread out and flow very fast and shallow through the culvert preventing steelhead passage. This project installed nineteen steel baffles in the culvert to create a series of pools and also concentrated the stream in low flow conditions to a narrow channel. The steel plate baffles were prefabricated off-site and then hot dip galvanized for corrosion prevention. The baffles were anchored to the existing concrete and then new concrete curbs were poured in place under each baffle. In addition to the steel baffles installed in the culvert, we installed a series of three rock weirs below the culvert using large boulders.