When small mammals and amphibians are moving along a stream and come up to a culvert, they have to crawl up the road fill and cross the highway to get around the culvert. Often, they're killed as they try to cross the highway. At numerous highway-stream crossings throughout Oregon - for example, an unnamed tributary of the Siuslaw River west of Eugene - the Oregon Department of Transportation is creating a way for these small animals to go through the culvert rather than around it. Along one side of a culvert spanning the width of the stream, contractors are building a natural rock ledge that's wide enough for both small and medium-sized animals. They're using rock because it's "natural," close to the culvert, and doesn't need to be attached to the culvert wall. Shrews and raccoons have been observed on the ledges, and bobcats, tree frogs, western pond turtles, and other species may also be using them to move up and down the stream corridor. They stay dry as they move along the ledge or only get a little wet - and they don't run the risk of a collision with a vehicle on the highway above.
--Apr 25, 2003
|Photo by John Levenhagen|
|Oregon DOT Maintenance forces built this rock ledge in a culvert on Territorial Highway in Loraine, Oregon|