Culvert Inventories and Their Ecological Impacts in Van Buren County, MI
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In the continental U.S. a vast abundance of road-stream crossing sites can be found passing under any road, often without the awareness of the public. Road-stream crossing sites such as culverts and bridges impact the stream environments running through them and have environmental influence. The man-made structures used for stream crossings disrupt the flow of streams and, if not properly installed, can fragment stream habitats. Over the course of summer 2017, inventories were taken of the culverts in Van Buren County, MI. Diverse data and observations were recorded about the structures, road conditions at the culvert site, and environmental condition disturbances. Structure data like blockages, rust, and size are recorded for assessment in functionality arid maintenance concerns. Road conditions are important to assess erosion control and failure of culvert due to collapsing roads. Environmental conditions such as hydrology and vegetation data aids in the determination of the abilities of fish to pass through culverts. Overall, culverts of Van Buren county ranged in size, material, and condition. We found that Data collected was entered into the county Road soft database for ease of access across the state of Michigan. Using the information collected, county organizations can begin restoration efforts to correct problems at culvert sites in able to restore stream environments by replacing failing culverts and removing invasive species.