Virginia Ecological Services Field Office and Virginia Fisheries Coordinator Office

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Project Titles:

  • Roanoke River Fish Barrier Retrofit (FFS #R5EB)
  • Wiley Drive Bridge Replacement (FFS #R5TF)

State: Virginia

Project Description: Recovery Act funds were used in Roanoke, Virginia to create work opportunities for local businesses and open spawning habitat for the endangered Roanoke logperch.

The Wiley Drive bridge that spanned the Roanoke River was more than fifty years old and consisted of a cement apron and nine culverts, which impeded fish passage and recreational boaters. The new bridge, supported by two concrete pilings, will allow for easy passing underneath the structure.

Hammond Mitchell, Inc., a local contractor from Covington, Virginia completed the project in May, using some materials supplied by Permatile Precast Concrete Products in Bristol, Virginia.

Adult logperch spawn in April and May, and bury their eggs in the gravel at the bottoms of the rivers. These fish are bottom feeders and grow to be about four and a half inches long. There are currently five small populations of the Roanoke logperch, all of which are vulnerable to extirpation due to habitat loss, lack of fish passage, and water pollution.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service worked with the FishAmerica Foundation to oversee this project. FishAmerica is in charge of administering funding to the contractors. The City of Roanoke, and the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP), a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service, were also funding partners in this operation.

The operation is the second phase of a two-part project, allowing fish to reach an additional 185 miles of river. Phase I, the removal of the Wasena Park Dam, also located in Roanoke, was completed in March 2009.

The flow and distribution of the Roanoke River has changed dramatically over time due to dam construction, channel alteration, and water quality issues. These changes have diminished the quality and abundance of suitable environments for the Roanoke logperch. These fish passage projects are essential to the recovery and preservation of this species.

“This project is one of great importance,” said Bridgett Costanzo from the Virginia Field Office. “It meets the needs of the Service by improving fish passage while also meeting the needs of the community.”

The FishAmerica Foundation supports conservation and research for American Sportfishing Association. The Foundation is committed to the well-being of America’s fish and waters and provides grants to non-profit organizations and conservation groups committed to the cause of boosting fish populations, restoring fish habitats, improving water quality, and research to benefit sport fishing. The Foundation also functions as a liaison between the sport fishing and boating industries and private corporations, foundations, and government agencies in support of habitats and fisheries in the U.S. and Canada.

Want to learn more? Check out the Wiley Drive Bridge Replacement Fact Sheet!

Photos:

wiley-dam-removal_2_11-23-09The old bridge’s nine culverts are disrupting migratory passage of the many species that populate the Roanoke River. wiley-dam-removal_3_11-23-09This is an example of what the new bridge will look like when it is finished. The new bridge will allow the river to flow more easily.
03-24-10_va-fc-office_1 03-24-10_va-fc-office_2
03-24-10_va-fc-office_3 03-24-10_va-fc-office_4
06-22-10_va-field-office_wiley-drive_r5tf_1The new Wiley Drive bridge was completed by Hammond Mitchell, Inc., a local contractor, in May 2010. 06-22-10_va-field-office_wiley-drive_r5tf_2The new Wiley Drive bridge is supported by two concrete pilings.
06-22-10_va-field-office_wiley-drive_r5tf_3The new bridge allows for easy fish passage.
wiley-dam-removal_1_11-23-09

Feature Story: New Bridge Opens Roanoke River to Endangered Fish

Originally posted 11/23/2009
Updated 03/24/2010
Updated 03/31/2010
Updated 06/22/2010
Updated 08/12/2010
Page Completed 01/25/2011

DOI Recovery Investments by Bureau

Last Updated: February 02, 2012
Content contact: recovery@ios.doi.gov