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Re-cycled Rail Car Bridges Surf-Turf Conflict

A super-sized re-cycling project on a ranch near Clarkston Washington may prove to be a winner for fish and cattle. The problem for Ranchers Dick and Levi Luhn was how to keep their cattle from stomping through steelhead spawning grounds - and destroying the fish nests - in a small creek that runs between spring and winter grazing grounds. No only how to do it - but just as importantly, how to pay for it.With the help of the Asotin County Conservation District and the Bonneville Power Administration, the ranchers figured out both parts of the puzzle. They found an old railroad freight car, stripped it down, and dropped the frame, complete with new decking, across Tenmile Creek.

New fencing along both sides of the creek will work as large crowding chutes, forcing cattle to stay out of the fish breeding grounds and clatter across the new bridge as they're herded from one pasture to another. Most of the cost was absorbed by the BPA, because one of its mandates is to protect endangered fish in the Snake and Columbia River systems.

The new crossing built from an old rail car gets its first real test next spring as several hundred cow-calf pairs are moved from winter to summer pasture.

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