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Fish-friendly culverts

Fish-friendly culverts

Fish-friendly culvert with baffles  under Louise Clews walk, Opossum Creek in Ipswich, Queensland. Photo by Natasha Jones

Disclaimer: In addition to the standard disclaimer located at the bottom of the page, please note the Fishways (biopassage structures) disclaimer.


Culverts can be both barriers and biopassage structures. Road and rail waterway crossings are a major cause of habitat fragmentation in freshwater ecosystems. They can be barriers to fish movement and considered a major contributor in the decline of freshwater fish populations globally[2] including Queensland[1].

Different locations and species will require different solutions however, minor design modifications to culverts can have significant benefits to fish passage. Fish passage can be provided by traditional fishways up to and through culverts, such as rock-ramp or cone fishways, but also by modifications to the design of the crossing, the number, type and placement of the culverts and other engineering solutions.


  1. ^ Marsden, T, Thorncraft, G & Mcgill, D (2003), Gooseponds Creek Fish Passage Project. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 November 2020].
  2. ^ Watson, JR, Goodrich, HR, Cramp, RL, Gordos, MA & Franklin, CE (October 2018), 'Utilising the boundary layer to help restore the connectivity of fish habitats and populations', Ecological Engineering. [online], vol. 122, pp. 286-294. Available at: [Accessed 10 November 2020].

Last updated: 10 May 2021

This page should be cited as:

Department of Environment, Science and Innovation, Queensland (2021) Fish-friendly culverts, WetlandInfo website, accessed 18 March 2024. Available at:

Queensland Government
WetlandInfo   —   Department of Environment, Science and Innovation