Project Description

Bolton Branch Fish Passage & Stream Restoration

Restoration Need

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.

Restoration Approach

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