Environmental Review Toolkit
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State="Alaska"; Category=" all"; Collapse All
1 Practice: Alaska Programmatic Agreement for Fish Passage Improvements
Categories: Habitat/Ecosystem Connectivity & Conservation
Interagency Agreements: MOAs, MOUs, and Programmatic Agreements
Interagency Coordination
Project Development
Threatened & Endangered Species
Wildlife and Threatened & Endangered Species
State: Alaska
Organization: Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities
Contact: Taylor Horne
Title: Statewide Environmental Program Manager
Email: taylor.horne@alaska.gov
Phone: (907) 465-6957
Description: The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT&PF) and the Alaska Department of Fish & Game (ADF&G) developed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), signed in August 2001, to improve fish passage through culverts and to streamline the review process for the increasing number of fish habitat permits processed annually for culvert work. The MOA is the result of more than 15 years of fish passage research by state agencies and the University of Alaska Fairbanks, in addition to extensive discussions with fish and wildlife and transportation counterparts in Washington and Oregon State, the Federal Forest Service, and the National Marine Fisheries Service (now NOAA Fisheries). Prior to development of the MOA, permitting decisions were often ad hoc, resulting in inconsistencies, unpredictability, and unnecessary tension and conflict in the permitting process. The MOA is providing a consistent, statewide basis for evaluating and approving culvert structures.

Alaska’s MOA applies to both new culvert installation and reinstallation of culverts during maintenance activities, where the ADF&G and/or the ADOT&PF have determined that culverts are the appropriate structure. Key to the agreement is a tiered approach to the culvert design. The level of information necessary for the permit depends on the “Tier.” Opting for Tier 1 requires simulation of a natural stream, but requires minimal interagency design review and permitting paperwork and leads to faster approvals. Under the MOA, ADOT&PF’s senior Regional Hydraulic Engineer reviews all proposed fish passage structures, including those proposed by Maintenance and Operations, for compliance with the design criteria contained in the MOA. ADF&G provides relevant information early in the design process, and if additional information from ADOT&PF is needed, requests such in a timely manner and in a consolidated form. The MOA also provides ADF&G reasonable opportunity to inspect culverts in the field and to review “as-built” plans prior to project shutdown, demobilization, or release of the contractor(s), in order to ensure that all culverts are installed in accordance with permit terms and conditions.

The ADF&G and the ADOT&PF believe the agreement is leading to more timely approval of permit applications for culvert installations, as well as improved passage for anadromous and resident fish populations through drainage structures, when migrating to spawning, rearing and over-wintering grounds. As their agreement represents current knowledge and state of the practice, ADF&G and ADOT&PF will meet annually to review the MOA and to amend it appropriately to accommodate new information and proven fish passage techniques.
Last Updated: March 11, 2014
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