Ongoing construction in Gros Morne National Park is actually helping to improve the fish population.
Crews have replaced 86 culverts to make them more fish-friendly.
Ecologist Tom Knight says the new culverts that access fish-bearing streams have a rocky bottom and are more level with rivers — which helps salmon, trout and eels get through more easily.
“As they swim through, the water is not flowing very quickly. They have little places they can stop and rest, and there is a very natural bottom. They can swim a little ways, sprint and rest, sprint and rest,” Knight said.
“Fish are no different than us. They can only sprint for so long and then they get tired. If you are on a treadmill and you are sprinting as fast as you can and you run out of energy, the treadmill throws you off the other end. That’s what happens to our little fish.”
Older culverts have a flat bottom with no rocks or spots for fish to rest. The older versions tend to be much higher than the river’s edge, making it very difficult for fish to get through.
The new, natural-bottom culverts will allow the fish to reach the other side and access bigger rivers and waterways.
The fish-friendly culvert project is part of a major road infrastructure upgrade underway in the national park. Last summer, $45 million was spent to replace culverts and fix the highway on Route 430.
This construction season, $22 million will be spent to pave the roads.
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