D23 – Prioritizing Culvert Replacement for Stream and Watershed Protection (Blackstone Collaborative)

Overall Project Description:

Culvert failure has been an increasing concern in Massachusetts municipalities due to increased rainfall and aging structures. Culverts are structures that allow the flow of stream water and stormwater under roadways. Using the town of Sutton, MA as a case study, we conducted background research, interviews, and field assessments and developed a prioritization plan, GIS map, and outreach material. The prioritization plan includes criteria to assist towns to prioritize culverts for repair or replacement.

Project Goal and Objectives:

Goal: To develop a prioritization plan to help Massachusetts municipalities prioritize culvert repair and replacement


  1. Explore Impacts and Importance of Culverts
  2. Develop Understanding of Variety of Issues Compromising Integrity of Culverts
  3. Identify Other Prioritization Models and Comparatively Analyze
  4. Draft Prioritization Plan, Seek Feedback, and Revise
  5. Create Outreach Material and Develop Recommendations

Student Team and Advisors:

Our team is made up of three juniors from Worcester Polytechnic Institute: Maryam Al Hakeem, Nathan Cloutier, and Timothy Ryan.

Our project is being advised by Paul Mathisen

Project Sponsors:

Blackstone Watershed Collaborative

Expected Project Deliverables:

  1. Create a GIS Map after mapping and assessing 20 culverts.
  2. Create Prioritization Plan based on North Atlantic Aquatic Connectivity Collaborative (NAACC) criteria.
  3. Create outreach material to inform public.
  4. Culvert Assessment Certification.