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Wednesday, 23 February 2011 21:04

Bridges in lieu of old culverts helps aquatic species move freely

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A restoration project to improve fish passage on streams feeding into the Little Tennessee watershed finished last month on Bradley Creek in Macon County.

Like with most creeks, Bradley Creek had been squeezed into culverts so roads could pass over it. But two of the culverts were too small and were damaged, causing flooding and were at risk of failing. The culverts were taken out and free-spanning bridges put in their place. Stream-bank restoration also was done.

The project was paid for with a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and employed local contractors. This is the second restoration by the Little Tennessee Watershed Association using the grant fund. The first project was finished in December 2009 on Watauga Creek in Macon County.

Old, collapsing culverts hinder migration of fish and other aquatic species.

The lower reaches of Bradley Creek is near a bed of endangered Appalachian elktoe mussels in the Little Tennessee River. Sediment was being dumped in the river via the creek.

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