Culvert Inventory and Management Plan
The Culvert Management Plan provides the community with a complete inventory of its road-stream crossing assets, including structure quality, flood resilience, and access for fish and other aquatic organisms that need to move through the structure. Hudson can use this document as a long-term resource to plan for maintenance, upgrades, and replacement, as well as to apply for funding to support culvert right-sizing and repair.
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Culverts and bridges convey stormwater and waterways beneath roads. Culverts play an important role in ensuring the safety and functionality of transportation systems and maintaining the connectivity of aquatic habitats. Because they are buried beneath the ground and do not appear on maps, the condition of culverts may be unknown by the jurisdiction responsible for their upkeep. If culverts and bridges are too small to convey the amount of water entering them during storms, they can contribute to flooding. If culverts are misaligned with a stream corridor or otherwise impeded, they can pose a barrier to the movement of fish and wildlife.
It is estimated that there are more than 20,000 culverts in the Hudson River Estuary watershed. Records on their location and condition are not commonly kept by the wide variety of jurisdictions that manage them, including local and county governments, New York State Department of Transportation and private landowners. To address flood risk from undersized culverts and to reconnect streams for ecosystem health and function, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Hudson River Estuary Program Culvert Prioritization Project and the New York State Water Resources Institute are working with Cornell Cooperative Extension and other partners to assist county and local governments in locating and assessing road-stream crossings and creating plans for the long-term management of culverts and bridges. Should provide a link or invitation to the culvert project website
Field-based assessments of culverts and bridges were completed using protocols developed by the North Atlantic Aquatic Connectivity Collaborative (NAACC). Culverts were mapped, measured, and assessed for condition and orientation to adjacent waterways. Data were uploaded to the NAACC database and shared with staff at Cornell University for further analysis.
The inventory data is used by NYS Water Resources Institute and partners to analyze current and future flood risk posed by roadway infrastructure. They developed and maintain a culvert capacity model that estimates the land area contributing water to a particular culvert, determines current and future high flows using precipitation predictions up to the year 2050, and then compares flows to the culvert capacity to estimate the maximum storm event that the culvert can pass without flooding.
The project was initiated by Mayor Johnson’s Climate Smart Task Force. Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) provided services to Hudson through their participation in the Climate Resilience Partnership. The Climate Resilience Partnership is a collaboration between Cornell Cooperative Extension associations in the Hudson Valley, with financial and technical assistance from the Hudson River Estuary Program and the New York State Water Resources Institute. The Partnership aims to build long-term resilience to extreme weather and climate change in the Hudson River Estuary watershed. The partnership provides assistance and resources to local communities in Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Rensselaer, Rockland, and Ulster counties.
New York State Water Resources Institute, based at Cornell University, has a mission to advance water resource management and address critical water resource problems in New York State and across the nation. NYS Water Resources Institute builds towards this mission by leveraging unique access to scientific and technical resources at Cornell University and in collaboration with partners to improve communications and networks for promoting water literacy and management. The North Atlantic Aquatic Connectivity Consortium is a network of universities, conservation organizations, and governmental agencies focused on improving aquatic connectivity across a thirteen-state region, from Maine to West Virginia.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Hudson River Estuary Program helps people enjoy, protect, and revitalize the Hudson River and its valley. Created in 1987 through the Hudson River Estuary Management Act, the program focuses on the tidal Hudson and adjacent watershed from the federal dam at Troy to the Verrazano Narrows in New York City.