Fishing the Four-Lane

by Susan Colyer, Engineer-in-Training; Montana Department of Highways, Helena, Montana,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1987, Vol. 57, Issue 8, Pg. 50-51

Document Type: Feature article


Recent changes in one Montana canyon have shown that even highways and freshwater fish can happily coexist with the proper planning. Twenty years ago, the Montana Department of Highways began plans to construct one of Interstate 15's final stretches. The state settled on a 53.6 mile corridor as the site for the new four-lane link between the historic mining town of Butte and rural northeast Boulder. There the new road would cross some of Montana's most spectacular country—exposing parts of its narrow canyons and waterways to man's first intrusion and necessitating that the area's waters be reclaimed. To preserve the habitat of the native trout and whitefish, engineers took a number of measures to maintain existing fish cover by building shore-anchored structures and planting them with new grasses and shrubs. Artificial rock drop structures, sunken cover and log check dams were also used to create new fish holding areas. Erosion control structures were also built.

Subject Headings: Highways and roads | Fish management | Water-based recreation | Traffic management | Canyons | Historic sites | Water reclamation | Fresh water | Montana | United States

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