Designing climate-change-resilient culverts and bridges

Most culverts are designed to last 50 to 100 years under current stream conditions. Designing culverts to be resilient to future changes in stream conditions can reduce the risks of culvert failure and the creation of barriers to migrating fish.

How will climate change impact your project?

Climate change scientists have noted changes in Pacific Northwest hydrology, including reductions in the size of glaciers, less snowpack, and earlier peak stream flow in many rivers. These trends are expected to continue, along with increasing flood size, and decreasing summer low flows. Typically, the size of water-crossing structures like culverts and bridges is based on stream width. As the size of floods increases, so will stream width.

WDFW’s web application can help you understand how the stream width at your project site may change in the future -- the 2040s and 2080s. With this information, you can make an informed decision about the design of your new culvert, bridge, or habitat restoration project. Culverts and bridges built to accommodate higher stream flows are less likely to fail and block fish, which reduces future maintenance and repair costs.

Learn more about the science behind our climate change web application in the project report Incorporating Climate Change into the Design of Water Crossing Structures.

Learn about your project site

Follow the steps below to learn about future stream flow conditions at your project site. Please contact us with questions.

  1. Create a Secure Access Washington account
  2. How to access the Culverts and Climate Change web app

Contact
Jane Atha
Jane.Atha@dfw.wa.gov 
360-902-2577

Create a Secure Access Washington account

To use WDFW’s Culverts and Climate Change web app, you need a Secure Access Washington (SAW) account.

  1. Go to the Secure Access Washington website. 
  2. Click on SIGN UP! then enter your name, e-mail, username, and password.
  3. Check “I am not a robot” and click SUBMIT. You will receive an authentication email from Secure Access Washington. 
  4. Click the link in the authentication e-mail to return to the Secure Access Washington home page.
  5. Click LOGIN. You now have a Secure Access Washington account.   

How to access Culverts and Climate Change web app

After creating a Secure Access Washington account, you may sign into the Culverts and Climate Change web app.

  1. Go to the Culverts and Climate Change web app. A log in message will appear.
  2. Click Log In. A list of security systems will appear.
  3. Click on Secure Access Washington. Log in with your new account.
  4. You will be taken to a WDFW welcome page requesting access to your account. Click Allow Access.
  5. The Culverts and Climate Change web app will open and you may begin exploring your project area.