Culvert Length and Interior Lighting Impacts to Topeka Shiner Passage

Principal Investigator:

Jessica Kozarek, Research Associate, SAFHL - Hydraulic Lab


  • Jay Hatch, Associate Professor, Education & Human Development

Project Summary:

Culverts can act as barriers to fish passage for a number of reasons, including insufficient water depth or excess velocity. In addition, long culverts can block sunlight, creating a potential behavioral barrier as fish approach a long, dark culvert. There is a paucity of information on low light as a potential barrier to fish passage, particularly with warm water species such as the federally endangered Topeka shiner. As some older culverts are being replaced with longer total lengths to extend the culvert through re-engineered road embankments, information is needed to 1) determine when and if light mitigation strategies are necessary, and 2) to design appropriate light mitigation strategies if necessary. A newly installed culvert (approximately 110 feet long) will be monitored for two years. Additional culverts (2 to 3) with varying light levels in critical Topeka shiner habitat streams will be similarly monitored. An experimental manipulation will be conducted to directly examine the behavior of warm water fish when presented with a dark culvert.


Project Details:

  • Start date: 04/2014
  • Project Status: Completed
  • Research Area: Environment and Energy
  • Topics: Environment