New Culverts Helping Fish Passage

Conservation groups, town officials, the state DOT and DEP, and even some individuals have done a great job of installing new culverts that allow fish passage. In the old days nobody paid any attention to fish passage when they were putting in culverts and dams.

In my town of Mount Vernon, a two foot culvert next to the fire station is being replaced with a 6 foot culvert to help fish move up that brook, and negotiations are underway with the Maine DOT and DEP to do the same thing on the Belgrade Road crossing.

In 2011, Maine Audubon and partners launched Stream Smart. Since then, they have hosted workshops and field trainings for over 1000 people across the state, reconnecting hundreds of miles of stream habitat for wildlife. Stream smart works with contractors, landowners, and other professionals responsible for road stream crossings to construct culverts that maintain fish and wildlife habitat while protecting roads and public safety.

Stuart Smith, a master Maine guide, began advocating with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife about 10 years ago to replace the small fish culvert that had been installed in King Brook on the Sandy River Road. That culvert blocked smelts and salmon and both crashed in Parker Pond.


Stuart recently let me know that he spoke to Wes Ashe who secured a grant for $50,000 from the DEP to install a much bigger culvert which will allow smelts to move further up the brook. Good job Stuart!


I encourage you, if there is a culvert near you blocking fish passage, to start advocating for a bigger culvert. I can assure you, the fish will be very grateful.

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.