Flood-resilient and fish-friendly stream crossings are the focus of upcoming workshops in Western Massachusetts

Workshops will feature best practices for road-stream crossings.

March 11, 2013

When stream crossings, such as culverts, fail, the results can be catastrophic for those living and working nearby. Recent severe storms, including Hurricane Irene, have wreaked havoc on western Massachusetts roads, costing millions in damage and disrupting life in affected communities for months.

Road closures from culvert failures lead to increased costs as a result of limited emergency access, longer commute times and lost business revenue. Many crossings fail, in some cases repeatedly, due to their inability to pass high flows and the materials stirred up by rivers at flood stage. These crossings require ongoing maintenance and repairs when they become plugged with debris.

In addition, culverts that are undersized, shallow or perched—elevated above the road bed—can obstruct fish passage and force other wildlife out of streams and onto road where they are vulnerable to road traffic and may pose hazards to drivers.

The good news is that stream crossings can be improved to increase both public safety and fish and wildlife passage. This month, Bay State Roads is presenting day-long workshops in Pittsfield, Westfield, and Greenfield to give municipal highway managers, state personnel and their consultants the tools they need to improve road stream crossings.

Each workshop will bring together statewide experts to provide best practices and case studies on replacing road-stream crossings – topics covered will include site assessment, engineering standards, permitting standards, funding and installation.

For more information, visit Baystate Roads at

*B-roll is available for media.

When and where:

  • March 13
    Westfield State University; Horace Mann Center, Garden Room (Downstairs)
    Western Ave., Westfield
    Free parking will be available at the Horace Mann Center
  • March 19
    Berkshire Community College,
    Koussevitzy Arts Center, Room K111
    West Street, Pittsfield
    Free parking
  • March 26
    John W. Olver Transit Center
    12 Olive St., Greenfield
    LIMITED guest parking is available in the lot above the Transit Center. “Pay to Park” lots are available across the street and at the intersection of Hope and Olive Streets. Meeting attendees may not use the short term Transit Center parking, except as needed by visitors with disabilities.

*Registration and breakfast for all events starts at 8:30 a.m.

Speakers include:

  • Julia Blatt, Massachusetts Rivers Alliance
  • Alison Bowden, The Nature Conservancy
  • Artie McCollum, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Lealdon Langley, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection; Scott Jackson, UMASS Amherst; or Dan Rukakoski, Tighe & Bond
  • Mike Petrin,Tighe & Bond or Dave Nyman, CEI engineers (Comprehensive Environmental Inc.)
  • Amy Singler, American Rivers or Carrie Banks, Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration
  • Scott McCloud, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency or Richard Zingarelli Federal Emergency Management Agency

*Presentations at each workshop will be the same, but presenters vary with date where “or” appears above.

The workshops are presented by Baystate Roads, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Rivers Alliance, Massachusetts Department of Transportation, Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, Franklin Regional Council of Governments, American Rivers, Berkshire Environmental Action Team, The Nature Conservancy, The Connecticut River Watershed Council, Housatonic Valley Association, and Tighe and Bond Engineers.

Funding is provided by Massachusetts Environmental Trust and Westfield River Wild and Scenic Advisory Committee.

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at

Contact information

James Miller
Media Relations Manager
The Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts

Julia Blatt
Executive Director
Massachusetts Rivers Alliance
857-445-0208, cell: 617-875-6997

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