Thirteen Eastern states are working to keep track of the often-unseen culverts that despite their invisibility are critical to wildlife habitat and minimizing flood damage.
The culvert-cataloging program being run out of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst will help state and local planners in the six New England states and others keep track of which culverts are designed to modern standards and which must be upgraded or replaced.
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UMass professor Scott Jackson says many culverts failed during Tropical Storm Irene and Superstorm Sandy.
The database on the tens of thousands of culverts across the region will include information on how well fish and other wildlife would be able to pass and if they are big enough to withstand floods.