Streams, culverts focus of DEP plan

Posted Oct. 20, 2009, at 11:12 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 12:09 p.m.

DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — Municipalities will see a fiscal impact if a Department of Environmental Protection proposal is adopted that will change the way culverts and other stream crossings are constructed, Piscataquis County commissioners learned Tuesday.

The changes have a lot to do with the Endangered Species Act involving salmon, Stephen Hobart, chairman of the Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District, told the commissioners Tuesday.

Because the changes are sweeping, Hobart requested that the commissioners strongly encourage the county’s road agents to attend the district’s road workshop in the spring. The new guidelines, if the proposal is approved, will be discussed.

As part of the proposed changes recommended by the agency, applicants will need to submit approval from the Departments of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and Marine Resources for:

• Crossings constructed between Oct. 2 and July 14 of the year.

• Culvert maintenance, repair or replacement activities that use a smooth-bore culvert or result in a smaller-diameter culvert than the culvert in place.

• Crossings that will not allow for fish passage where the purpose is to prevent the spread of invasive fish species such as pike.

• Crossings on ledges that do not use an open bottom structure because of a natural barrier for fish passage.

In addition, the proposed changes would require culvert and other structures with bottoms to be embedded in the stream and would require crossing structures to span, or have a diameter equal to, 1.2 times the stream width.

A public hearing on the proposed amendments will be held at 9 a.m. Nov. 5, at the Holiday Inn Ground Round in Augusta.

dianabdn@myfairpoint.net

876-4579

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