Town gets grant for Stream Smart culverts   

MOUNT DESERT — The town has received a $125,000 grant from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to help with the cost of replacing two old, inadequate culverts under Beech Hill Crossroad with larger Stream Smart culverts. 

“Denning Brook flows through the existing culverts that are woefully undersized and in very poor condition,” Public Works Director Tony Smith said. “This contributes to flooding, roadway sinkholes and roadway washouts. The existing culverts also negatively impact the passage of animal life through them.” 

A state of Maine guide to Stream Smart culverts says they “promote the natural movements of fish and wildlife and normal stream processes that support healthy habitat in a diversity of flow conditions.” 

They “allow the stream to act like a stream,” benefitting wildlife and “protecting the stability of the road and public safety.” 

Maine Audubon, which began promoting the use of Stream Smart culverts 10 years ago, says they “last longer than traditional culverts and reduce maintenance costs, saving money in the long term.” They also “can typically withstand flooding and can better weather the increasingly intense storms we are experiencing without damaging the road.” 

The town paid VHB Engineering of South Portland $12,800 to assist with the application for the state grant. On Monday, the Board of Selectmen authorized Smith to pay VHB $35,000 for services including geotechnical engineering, environmental permitting, aquatic organism passage culvert design and construction bidding. 

VHB also will provide a cost estimate for removal of the existing culverts and installation of the new, larger ones. 

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]
Dick Broom

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