Skip to content U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway AdministrationU.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration
Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)

Wildlife Protection

Keeping It Simple: Easy Ways to Help Wildlife Along Roads

Turbidity barriers - not delayed construction - are protecting North Dakota fish

Harsh weather conditions in North Dakota mean a short construction period for the state's Department of Transportation (NDDOT). So in situations where construction activities would directly impact rivers and streams, NDDOT has taken a practical approach to protecting aquatic life. Instead of avoiding construction during fish spawning and migration (April 15 to June 1), the Department is installing temporary "curtains" or floating turbidity barriers which isolate the work area from the river channel and collect and filter construction-site sediment. Foam on the top of the barrier allows it to float on the water and chain weights on the bottom edge keep it in place. Fish can pass underneath, and sediment from the construction work stays out of the main river channel and eventually settles on the river bottom. The solution minimizes the risk of construction sediment smothering fish eggs and adversely affecting aquatic life downstream, and it has prevented long and costly project delays.
--Apr 2, 2009

Mark Schrader, (701) 250-4343 ext 111 or

This photo shows shows a "turbidity barrier" channeling off a section of the waterway during bridge-construction work. The orange foam "balls" in the picture allow the barrier to float. Chain weights on the bottom (not shown) keep the barrier stable.
Photo by Photo by NDOT.
This floating turbidity barrier protected fish from bridge-construction debris.

On or Along Waterways - North Dakota
Updated: 12/12/2012
HEP Home Planning Environment Real Estate
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000