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  • When sizing the waterway area of the bridge, give appropriate consideration to fish passage requirements along the floodplains, including locating bridge abutments well away from the channel banks and the possible installation of floodplain culverts adjacent to the main crossing.

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© Catchments & Creeks Pty Ltd

  • Maximise light penetration under the bridge or arch to encourage fish passage, possibly by increasing the spacing between divided bridge decks or with the use of skylights or grates in the median strip.

  • Minimise the use and extent of those bed and bank erosion control measures that may reduce aquatic habitat values or inhibit the regrowth of natural in-stream and bank vegetation.


  • Give appropriate consideration to fish passage requirements when selecting the type of culvert box or pipe, concrete or corrugated metal, single cell or multi-cell).

  • Where practical, align the culvert with the downstream channel to minimise bank erosion.

  • In urban areas, a multi-cell culvert usually requires a combination of elevated "dry" cells to encourage terrestrial movement, and recessed "wet" cells to facilitate fish passage.

  • Minimise changes to the channel's natural flow, width, roughnes s and base-flow water depth through the culvert's wet cells. Wet cells should have a minimum water depth of 0.2-0.5 metres to encourage fish passage.

  • As a first priority, the effective flow area under the waterway crossing should be at least equal to the natural or existing flow area of the channel below the deck/crest level of the crossing ("High Flow Design"). Where this is not feasible, the second priority would be to design the culvert such that the effective flow area is at least equal to the natural or existing channel flow area below the roof of the culvert ("Medium Flow Design"). A Medium Flow Design also requires the depth of the deck slab to be minimised. In all cases, the culvert should be designed to maximise the geometric similarities of the natural channel profile from the bed of the culvert up to a flow depth of 0.5 metres ("Low Flow Design”).

© Catchments & Creeks Pty Ltd

fish passage requirements for waterways crossings

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