Bridging the River

Partners rally to restore entire watershed in Southeast Alaska

an outwash area with a river flowing out to sea from above.
Good River where it meets Icy Strait. 📷 Shorezone
the same culvert side by side years apart. not the outlet is perched above the water surface
A culvert on a tributary to the Good River has become “perched” over time (1999 left; 2021 right). Fish have a hard time navigating the resultant low flow through the culvert and small/juvenile fish have difficulty jumping into the now-hanging pipe. 📷 Mike Taylor/City of Gustavus

The Final Bridge

Freight to unroaded Southeast Alaska mostly comes from the Lower 48 by barge. So the final 60-foot glulam timber bridge — all 65,000 pounds of it — left the Seattle docks on a giant flatbed trailer via Alaska Marine Lines barge on August 26, 2022. Oblivious to the beauty of its surroundings, it would first make its way up through the Inside Passage between heavily forested islands and past little coastal fishing communities and mountains that rise abruptly from deep fjords. And then in Juneau, it would transfer to the Alaska Marine Highway ferry MV LeConte to begin its final journey to Gustavus.

person standing on a timber bridge in a forest
A timber bridge on Dicky Drive (completed in 2017) is one of a series of timber bridges throughout the Good River watershed in Gustavus, Alaska.

A Return on Investment

Many Gustavus residents like to fish for Pink and Coho salmon in the local rivers and also at sea. And fish are woven into the fabric of life in Southeast Alaska. Mayor of Gustavus, Mike Taylor, reflects on the effort — one he has been committed to helping move forward through eight years on the City Council and three as Mayor.

Salmon are central to the Gustavus economy and lifestyles, and a growing community needs safer and more-serviceable roads. Replacing failing, fish barrier culverts at hazardous stream crossings with safe, barrier-free bridges is a win for people and the environment. We are most grateful to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and our other funding partners for their support of the Gustavus Fish Passage Improvement Project.”

Partnerships at Work

This work wouldn’t have been possible without committed partners and funders: Alaska Legislative Capital Improvement Program, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, City of Gustavus, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition, State of Alaska/Department of Fish and Game, Sustainable Salmon Fund, Trout Unlimited, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program and National Fish Passage Program. Thank you to Mayor Taylor and to the staff and council of the City of Gustavus for their support and commitment to restoring fish passage to the Good River watershed.



Behind the scenes look at projects to help wildlife and people

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