Skip to Main navigation Skip to Left navigation Skip to Main content Skip to Footer

University of Minnesota Extension

Extension > Environment > Trees and woodlands > Forest management practices fact sheet: Managing water series > Cross-drainage culverts

Cross-drainage culverts

Best Management Practices (BMPs) can prevent or minimize the impact of forestry activities on rivers, lakes, streams, groundwater, wetlands, and visual quality.


Cross-drainage culverts let water that isn't confined to a perennial or intermittent stream channel move from one side of the road to the other without crossing the surface. Proper use of cross-drainage culverts can improve water quality while allowing forest operations to continue.

Where used

Operators can place cross-drainage culverts at regular intervals along grades, below banked seepages, and where water will run directly onto log landings or forest roads and trails.


When installing cross-drainage culverts:


Typical upland cross-drainage culvert


Culverts move water from one side of the road or landing to the other without eroding surfaces.


Culverts are expensive to install and require frequent maintenance.


Keep culverts free of debris at all times. Otherwise, they will plug up and become ineffective. Adequately drain road grades during placement of culverts.

University of Minnesota Extension Service, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Logger Education Program, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan State University Extension, and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Copyright © 2013 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
WW-06979 1998


  • © Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
  • The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Privacy