Project Description

Bolton Branch Fish Passage & Stream Restoration

Between October 2013 and May 2014, The Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC), in partnership with Trout Unlimited (TU) and the US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), surveyed and assessed a total of 133 road-stream crossings in Rappahannock, Madison, Greene, and Albemarle counties in Virginia to gain a comprehensive picture of the impact of stream-crossings on brook trout habitat and movement. In 2016, with funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Ecosystem Services started working with PEC to evaluate and prioritize the stream-crossing data set and to create restoration design plans for  Bolton Branch. 

Bolton Branch, a class II coldwater trout stream, is a headwater stream of the Jordan River in the Upper Rappahannock watershed. The project is located on a section of Bolton Branch immediately below the Shenandoah National Park. The restoration project reconnects 1.38 miles of intact habitat for Eastern Brook Trout by replacing a road crossing fish passage obstruction with a free span bridge, and includes 735 linear feet of in-stream habitat restoration and 1.93 acres of riparian buffer improvement.

The restoration approach involved channel filling, bank grading, and installation of select structures and bioengineering measures including riffles, cascades, log j-hooks, logs sills, and brush toe. Onsite resources including rock and wood were utilized for structures and bioengineering. Designers relied on local reference reaches to create a site appropriate Rosgen B stream that emphasized cascades, deep pools, and refugia for fish. Native grasses, shrubs, and trees species local to the area were selected for the streambanks and riparian buffer.


  • Fish blockage removal
  • Stream habitat improvement for Eastern Brook Trout
  • Riparian Buffer Improvement

ServicesAssessment, Regulatory, Ecological Restoration Design , Technical Grant Writing, Bid Support & Construction Administration, Aquatic Organism Passage (AOP) Assessment and Design