In 2018, Copper River fish passage partners were thrilled to receive funding from the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council to improve fish passage at 13 sites on the Copper River Delta. Undersized and/or failing culverts can constrict the stream channel, effecting water velocity and sediment transport through the culvert, creating a barrier to moving upstream for juvenile fish in particular. By installing new structures engineered to be fish friendly, we will restore access to approximately 22 miles of upstream spawning and rearing habitat for Coho and Sockeye Salmon, Coastal Cutthroat Trout, Dolly Varden and other resident fish species. Restoration sites are indicated by black dots on the map (click on map to see larger image).

This year in 2021 we will be replacing three culverts on the 18-mile system, from just west of the 18-mile/one-eyed pond recreation sites to Muskeg Meander. Construction activities kicked off June 1st and are scheduled to run through August 15th. The road will not be closed at any point but you can anticipate delays through the construction sites.
We need roads and the Copper River Highway provides essential access to natural resources and it is an important part of the history of the Copper River. It can, however, pose as a barrier for natural hydrology and fish passage. Roads with degraded or damaged culverts can be a barrier for access to habitat for spawning salmon and rearing habitat for juvenile fish that need to move throughout the system sometimes for several years before they are ready to head to the ocean. Your support has been an important part of getting the fish back to habitat and for ensuring the health of our waterways in the Copper River watershed. A watershed that supports more fish means more resources for subsistence users, the commercial fishery, and generally supports the longevity and vitality of this region. These culverts are for you so let’s celebrate!

The following is the current anticipated timeline for construction. Codes in parentheses refer to site labels on map. Invitation to bid and final bid tabulations will be available here upon release:

May 15- Aug 15, 2020: Mile 25 (Cop 43, 44, 45)

Summer 2021: 18-mile (Cop 20, 22, 25) and Goat Camp Road (Sher 2)

Summer 2022: Sheridan River tributary (Cop 1) and Black Hole Creek (Cop 33)

Summer 2023: Sheridan River tributaries (Cop 9, Sher 1), and Elsner River tributaries (Cab 1& 2)

Watch our video below to see first hand the work it takes to effectively manage water, silt and sand and see a piece of history as the original railroad piers were uncovered along the Copper RiverHighway. 

July 2020 Culvert Work

Construction 2020