An environmental analysis and review process for the Rose Creek Fish Barrier Removal and Bridge Replacement Project has been completed, and a decision was signed by the National Park Service Intermountain Regional Director to move forward on the project.
An analysis of the environmental impacts associated with the project and consideration of public comments on the proposal were considered before a final decision was determined. The environmental assessment was released in December, 2011. Eight comment letters were received on the proposal, all supportive of the project.
An abandoned weir, or dam, on lower Rose Creek just above the Rising Sun Campground on the east side of the park has completely blocked native fish passage for decades. Additionally, the long-term structural stability of the Rose Creek Bridge on the Going-to-the-Sun Road is threatened by sediment scouring on the downstream side of a concrete slab spanning the width of the stream beneath the bridge. The bridge's abutments are showing signs of settling, and maintenance will increase as the concrete ages. The concrete slab also inhibits fish passage during periods of low stream flow, and the bridge's appearance is not compatible with the historic design characteristics of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, a notable National Historic Landmark.
In accordance with the decision, the weir will be removed to restore fish passage along Rose Creek. The weir has not been in use since 1971. The concrete forming the weir will be removed until it is level with the streambed or no longer presents a barrier to fish. The park will also replace the Rose Creek Bridge with a new, approximately 85 foot-long, concrete girder, clear -span bridge (no footings, pilings, or piers in the stream channel). The appearance of the new bridge will be more compatible with the historic design characteristics of the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Both actions will restore access to historic spawning and rearing habitat for native fish and improve stream flow and sediment transport along lower Rose Creek.
Removal of the weir will require one to two weeks of work and is anticipated to occur during late summer or fall of this year. Demolition of the Rose Creek Bridge is expected to begin in the fall of 2013.
The environmental analysis and the finding of no significant impact (the decision document) are available here.
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