Better Together: Partners Team to Restore River in National Forest

Native trout in the Southeast have limited habitat in headwater streams. Making sure road crossings don’t fragment their habitat is important for conserving the species.

Briar Creek restoration, TN. | Credit: The Nature Conservancy

On a cold winter day in January, a caravan of diverse partners gathered in northeastern Tennessee to celebrate a partnership success to connect native trout habitat and ensure public infrastructure is resilient to floods.

American Rivers is proud to have partnered with the US Forest Service Cherokee National Forest, the US Fish and Wildlife, Trout Unlimited, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and The Nature Conservancy on the Briar Creek culvert replacement project. The project took a perched, too-small, problematic culvert under a Forest Service road and replaced it with a bottomless arched culvert that provided the following benefits:

  1. Better fishing: Allows native Southern Appalachian Brook trout to move easily up and downstream of the road crossing to access important habitat to better support population diversity and size.
  2. Better Habitat: Provides natural habitat through the road crossing (instead of a metal or concrete bottom) to maintain natural continuous stream function.
  3. Secure Infrastructure: During floods, the structure has room for high flows like a natural stream does which allows the road infrastructure to be more resilient into the future to storm events.

Thanks to the skilled and collaborative efforts of our partners. The best projects happen when partners offer their resources and expertise, communicate openly, and learn from each project to make the next one better. This project was successful because our partners offered their best!

Check out the slideshow of before and after images, and the video from the celebration event.

  • Before restoration | Credit: Jeff Rich


One response to “Better Together: Partners Team to Restore River in National Forest

  1. I am pretty sure I see my son, Stuart Hale, in the group photo. I will need to check with him. In any event – Thank you Nature Conservancy, and partners for all you do!!

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