Culverts or Fords for Forest Roads?

Discussion in 'Wildlife Habitat' started by nafc2005, Mar 24, 2018.

  1. nafc2005

    nafc2005

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    I’m not sure if this is the right forum to post this, but because we manage our property for wildlife and some timber production, I thought I’d give it a shot.. Moderator, please move this post if you think it belongs elsewhere.

    We’re doing another TSI harvest on our property this year (about 50 acres this time). Post harvest and in accordance with our management plan, we’ll be improving some of our three miles of forest road with erosion control structures, seeding and other practices,.

    We’ll be resetting a few perched culverts but we also need small-ish culverts and or fords in three places. I’m leaning toward fords (geo-textile with rip-rap,) rather than culverts thinking that they’ll be less maintenance heavy over the years.

    I’d appreciate any opinions or advice as to what I ought to be taking into consideration when making this decision. Thanks.
     
  2. ESOX

    ESOX Staff Member Super Mod Mods

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    I hate to say it, but do what the DEQ wants. Messing with wetlands without prior authorization can be very expensive.
     
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  3. nafc2005

    nafc2005

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    No to worry - our consulting forester works hand in hand with DEQ when it comes to these matters. He seems to think DEQ could go either way (culvert or ford) in these particular spots. I'm just looking for other's experiences and/or preferences.
     
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  4. Forest Meister

    Forest Meister

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    Way too many unknown variables but as a general rule I like to do culverts myself, but I am in the land of ice and snow sometimes from mid November to mid April.

    In some years and for some purposes fords can be nothing but a headache. Example: A group of landowners put in a very nice DEQ approved ford several years back. The flow was a mere trickle, if it flowed at all, in summer but carried more water other times of year. Two years ago we were doing some logging behind the ford and after removing the snow it seemed to tighten right up. Driving across was a piece of cake. Things were fine for a week and a half or so until trucking started, the ice bridge was quickly collapsed. The broken ice had a damming effect causing water to rise, make its own channel around and through, refreeze, get broken again and refreeze again.....over and over. In short order the trucker broke a couple springs and refused to haul until the crossing was repaired. It took the timber buyer a day or so of frustration and lost production to get things in order and another couple days to refreeze properly. Trucking was fine for the rest of the winter but it was touch and go getting my old blazer across the temporarily placed pulp sticks without losing a muffler. The rest of the wet areas had culverts and there were no issues in those areas.

    Beavers can be a consideration also. They seem to have a radar that brings them long distances to the sound of even the slightest flow. Sometimes it takes a while but eventually they are where you don't want them to be.

    As far as maintenance, from experience I have found that even if a 6" culverts will carry all the water in the drain 8" is better. I have had leaves plug a 6" tube but never had that happen with an 8". Also, if plastic is used and buried sufficiently it should be maintenance free practically forever. $.02. FM
     
  5. Blaine man

    Blaine man

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    Our local Lowels has 10" sewer pipe in 10 foot lengths that is fairly cheap. My steel 12" pipes seem to trap dirt and gradually builds up with dirt after 10 years. If you have loaded logging trucks these would be to light for you. Just wish you can buy these with fittings.
     
  6. nafc2005

    nafc2005

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    Thanks for your response, FM. Lots of food for thought here. I, too, am in big snow & ice country and after the upcoming harvest, we plan to do another in 2027 in another management unit but one that will use the same road segments. I want to get the road work right this time and not have to worry about redoing the same work down the road. Your caveats about fords are helpful.
     
  7. nafc2005

    nafc2005

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    You're right, Blaine man, sewer pipe is too light duty for my purposes as I will have loaded trucks using the road.