Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools
You are here: Home / Projects / 2021 Projects / Culvert Removal and Stream Restoration, Henderson Brook, Brownville, ME / Culvert Removal and Stream Restoration, Henderson Brook, Brownville, ME

Culvert Removal and Stream Restoration, Henderson Brook, Brownville, ME

Henderson Brook Culvert Removal, Maine

Culvert Removal and Stream Restoration, Henderson Brook, Brownville, ME

This project, completed in 2023, rectified the final barrier to native fish passage on Henderson Brook, connecting an additional 3.3 miles of existing Brook Trout habitat to the West Branch, and opening access for Atlantic salmon. Removal of the existing culvert, and replacement with an open bottom bridge and stream restoration, will lead to improved habitat conditions, reduced stream sedimentation, reduced flooding and improved recreation opportunities.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) and its partners removed the last remaining barrier to native fish passage on Maine’s Henderson Brook, aiding in the continued survival of wild Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) populations and allowing the federally endangered Gulf of Maine Distinct Population Segment of Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar) to return to native rearing waters.

Henderson Brook Culvert to be replaced in 2021 project

Henderson Brook is a 3.9 mile tributary of the West Branch of the Pleasant River System (West Branch) located in Piscataquis County, Maine. Henderson Brook crosses under the Katahdin Iron Works (KI) road on Appalachian Trail (A.T.) lands in Bowdoin College West Grant Township. These A.T. lands, including the road, were purchased by the Appalachian National Scenic Trail National Park Service Office (APPA) for the A.T. corridor in the early 1980’s. At the point of crossing, the brook is routed under the KI road through a corrugated metal culvert. The culvert was installed in a perched manner so that the outflow end of the culvert hangs above the streambed. The perched design and the shallow culvert basin effectively obstruct all fish passage to the exceptional trout habitat in the 3.3 miles (84% total length) of Henderson Brook located upstream of the culvert.

The West Branch and its tributaries make up a significant wetland complex with miles of undeveloped cold-water stream habitat and thousands of acres of productive forestland. The Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC), a longtime conservation partner of the ATC and cooperative manager of portions of the A.T., has spent the last several years leading a monumental effort to remove stream crossing barriers across tributaries (including Henderson) on the West Branch. This effort has reconnected an extensive web of habitat fractured by more than 150 years of human encroachment. Having already completed removal of all other fish barriers on the upper Henderson Brook, AMC’s efforts set the stage for a complete opening of the full length of the brook.

Under a Cooperative Agreement with the NPS, the ATC is the non-profit partner responsible for all conservation planning and management on APPA lands. As a neighboring landowner, the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) holds a deeded right-of- way over the APPA owned portion of the KI road. Working collaboratively, APPA, ATC and AMC will replace the KI culvert with a 50-foot clear span steel and concrete bridge to open the entire length of the Henderson Brook and provide access to critical habitat for wild Brook Trout and Atlantic salmon.

Objective 1: Remove the existing perched culvert on the Henderson Brook where it passes under the Katahdin Iron Works road at the Appalachian National Scenic Trail crossing in Bowdoin College West Grant Township, Maine, and replace with a 50 ft clear span bridge.

Objective 2: Restore approximately 100 feet of streambed substrate and stabilize streambanks to reestablish natural stream hydrology and flow, reduce erosion and stream sedimentation, and provide in-stream applications for fish passage.

Objective 3: Install interpretive materials at the A.T./Gulf Hagas parking kiosk to educate and inform visitors of the importance of the Henderson Brook restoration project and cold-water habitat refugia.

The ATC would like to thank the following donors who contributed to the Henderson Brook restoration project: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in partnership with the Atlantic Salmon Federation of Maine, Bass Pro and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Fish Passage Program and Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture, Michele and Dan Coleman, KBF Canada, National Park Trust, Appalachian Mountain Club, Davis Conservation Fund, National Park Service, the Volgenau Foundation, and numerous ATC members and supporters.

Climate Change Impacts, Geographic Isolation
Rivers and Streams
Landscape-level Planning
Conservation Design
Aquatic Resources, Climate Change Science

Associated Locations

Town zip code county state congressional dist


Name of barrier Latitude Longitude FONS ID FIS Project ID FWS Acc. #

Document Actions