WSDOT Crews ‘Go Fishing’ in Stream Realignment

Construction crews with the Washington State Department of Transportation are often called upon to execute unusual tasks within their road building and maintenance activities – and that can include “going fishing” as part of stream realignment efforts.

[Above photo by WSDOT]

The agency noted in a recent blog post that a good portion of its transportation infrastructure work involves streams and wetlands, especially in the Pacific Northwest, where roads, streams, and wetlands often intersect.

For example, WSDOT pointed to the SR 167 Completion Project in Pierce County – located in an area where I-5 crosses over Hylebos Creek at the Fife curve, with tributaries and wetlands on either side of the freeway. As a result, WSDOT construction crews made changes so the freeway, creek, and wetlands can co-exist in harmony – work that included a wetland and stream restoration project, revitalizing almost 150 acres of land on either side of I-5 near the Fife curve.

[Editor’s note: The Federal Highway Administration recently issued $196 million to 59 tribal, state, and local governments to help fix or remove 169 culvert barriers to improve fish passage. The agency said outdated culverts and other related infrastructure can cause roads to flood and severely restrict or altogether block fish passage.]

As part of that restoration effort, in mid-July, WSDOT crews removed fish from Hylebos Creek so they could rebuild and realign a 2,200-foot section of the stream by mid-September. Crews carefully removed fish from the stream’s work zone and relocated them another area of the creek where they won’t be affected by construction work – a process technically known as “de-fishing,” the agency explained.

WSDOT noted its crews are only allowed to step foot or put equipment into a stream during a designated “fish window,” which is often mid-summer to early fall, depending on the stream, when the fewest number of fish are generally present.

The agency stressed that its crews are not “fishing” in the traditional sense when conducting such “de-fishing” operations. They set up and secure fine-meshed netting, dragging it in the water to encourage fish to naturally swim downstream away from the construction area – basically “shooing” them out of the area – as it is less stressful for the fish if they can swim away on their own. The crews will then secure another fine-meshed net in the stream to block off the area they just waded through so the fish do not return to the just-cleared area.

WSDOT noted that any fish stragglers trapped between the two secured nets are removed first by “seining passes” followed by “electro-fishing,” whereby a very small electrical charge in the water temporarily stuns the remaining fish so they can be gently scooped up in nets by trained fish handlers. WSDOT noted that crews keep moving downstream, repeating this entire process, until all the fish are caught and relocated safely from the construction area.

Kansas DOT Releases Updated 2023-2025 Bicycle Map

The Kansas Department of Transportation recently released its new 2023-2025 bicycle map, which incorporates more than simply listing bike-friendly pathways across the state.

[Above image by Kansas DOT]

“The revised map has new features such as a focus on rail-trails, Kansas Tourism resources, and information on the recently published Kansas Active Transportation Plan,” said Jenny Kramer, active transportation manager for the agency, in a statement.

“This map provides information for cyclists of all levels of experience as well as community advocates wanting to develop and improve trails and paths in their areas,” she added.

The Kansas DOT 2023-2025 map charts out daily traffic volumes, county roads, rest areas, bike shops, byways, state parks, and – of course – bicycle routes across Kansas.

The map also includes a revised Kansas Rail-Trails map and infographic; a section on trail-sharing etiquette; information on Kansas tourism cycling resources and the state’s Active Transportation Plan; U.S. Bicycle Routes 76 and 66 information; a table of state recreation areas and amenities; and a list of all applicable state bicycle laws.

State departments of transportation develop bicycle routes, which the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials then officially designates within the U.S. Bicycle Route System or USBRS.

In February 2021, AASHTO and Adventure Cycling signed a memorandum of understanding or MOU to formalize their now 17-year partnership to create a national 50,000-mile bicycle route network.

Twice each year, AASHTO’s U.S. Route Numbering Special Committee reviews and recommends to the AASHTO Board of Directors a number of revisions, additions, or deletions to the U.S. numbered routes and Interstate Highway System.

The special committee also reviews and recommends the approval of new and revised U.S. bicycle routes that are critical to the expansion of the USBRS.

In addition, AASHTO’s Committee on Planning works with Adventure Cycling to maintain and update the broader USBRS National Corridor Plan that identifies corridors for future bike routes – noting that the USBRS is a “cornerstone” of Adventure Cycling’s work as a national nonprofit dedicated to inspiring, empowering and connecting people to bicycle travel.

Meanwhile, in late June, Adventure Cycling announced major expansions to the USBRS, including three completely new routes and a connection from Alaska to the lower 48 states.

The three new routes are USBR 610 in Idaho, USBR 11 in Pennsylvania, and USBR 121 in Tennessee. In Minnesota, USBR 20 has been extended and USBR 45 and USBR 45A have been adjusted to incorporate new trails and improve safety.

Meanwhile, Alaska’s network now connects to Washington State via the Alaska Marine Highway System using ferries; the first time a ferry has been designated as part of a U.S. bicycle route.

Environmental News Highlights – August 23, 2023


Two State DOTs Named to USDOT Equity Committee -AASHTO Journal

NYSDOT Leader Named AASHTO Environmental Chair -AASHTO Journal

Federal grants will replace water tunnels beneath roads that are harmful to fish –AP

Pennsylvania EV Infrastructure Projects to See Federal Funding -Government Technology

Keep it simple, experts tell feds on planned mileage fee experiment -Route Fifty

The growing movement against noise pollution -NPR’s All Things Considered


A ‘new era of rail’ post-COVID as train travel booms in Connecticut and beyond -CT Insider


The White House Continues to Advance NEPA Reform with CEQ’s Proposed NEPA Phase Two -JD Supra



So you can actually see I-15 lanes in bad weather, UDOT tries something new –KSTU

Washington State Ferries Awards Contract to Convert Largest Vessels to Hybrid-Electric Power -Offshore Energy

China’s Abandoned, Obsolete Electric Cars Are Piling Up in Cities –Bloomberg

Lofty Ambitions Are Fueling the Move Toward Sustainable Transportation -Thinking Transportation (podcast)

Google Maps will stop showing gas stations to EV owners -The Verge



Trees are not always a miracle cure for improving air quality

Colorado aviation agency looks to future where planes don’t use fossil fuels -Daily Sentinel



Local Coalition Aims to Expand Equitable Transit-Oriented Development in Chicago -WTTW-TV

Non-profit highlights child care barriers seen in Nebraska transit systems -KOLN-TV

Pa. agency prioritizes environmental justice education -The Center Square



Connecticut DOT urges drivers to stomp spotted lanternflies -WFSB-TV

Michigan Governor Launches National Park Service Mobility Challenge Program -Michigan Economic Development Corporation (media release)


Alaska DOT&PF extends Purple Heart Trail to be one of the longest in the country -KBBI Radio

As Sturgis Rally Attendance Slows, Medicine Wheel Ride, Native Participation Grows -Native News Online

From Oregon to Boston: Last link of Medal of Honor Highway celebrated -Oregon Capital Insider


Larger cargo bikes likely to hit the streets of NYC under Transportation Dept. plan -amNew York

Stretches of an iconic Boise street will be changed. Pedestrians, bicyclists take note -Idaho Statesman

Tempe sets aside ‘parking corrals’ for e-scooters -Daily Independent

NYC Council eyes ‘illuminated’ solar-power crosswalks to curb pedestrian deaths -New York Post

City of Dayton seeks to improve active transportation -WHIO-TV

New Bicycle/Pedestrian Greenway Opens in New York’s Southern Tier -Finger Lakes Daily News


Successful Environmental Justice Planning –TRB


Hazardous Materials: Frequently Asked Questions – Incident Reporting -Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (Notice)

Notice of Funding Opportunity for Special Transportation Circumstances Projects -FRA (Notice)

Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards for Passenger Cars and Light Trucks for Model Years 2027– 2032 and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Heavy-Duty Pickup Trucks and Vans for Model Years 2030–2035NHTSA (Notice of proposed rulemaking)

Notice of Rail Energy Transportation Advisory Committee VacanciesSurface Transportation Board (Notice and solicitation of nominations)

Public Transportation on Indian Reservations Program; Tribal Transit Program -FTA (Notice of public meeting and request for comment)

John H. Chafee Coastal Barrier Resources System; Availability of Final Revised Maps for Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, and WisconsinFish and Wildlife Service (Notice of availability)

National Offshore Safety Advisory Committee; September 2023 Meetings -Coast Guard (Notice of federal advisory committee meeting)

Issuance of Supplemental Record of Approval of Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) Noise Compatibility Program -FAA (Notice)