Just last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced a suite of fish passage projects that would be receiving funding under the ‘transformative‘ infrastructure package signed into law last year. NOAA highlighted 36 priority projects that would be receiving nearly $105 million in funding. We’ll detail some specific projects below, but this is quite the year-end gift for strong fisheries and healthy habitats around the country.

  • Nearly $10 million for California Trout to remove a rockfall barrier and obsolete fishway in Big Chico Creek, a tributary of the Sacramento River. The project will reconnect high-quality habitat for Central Valley Spring Run Chinook and Central Valley steelhead, including cold water habitat that is critical for climate resilience.
  • Up to $14.8 million for The Maine Department of Marine Resources to design and implement a fish lift at Woodland Dam on the St. Croix River in Northern Maine near the US-Canada border. This project would open up access to 600 miles for all migratory fish and 60,000 acres of habitat for alewife (a critical forage fish species for saltwater fisheries).
  • American Rivers will receive $15 million to design, permit, and begin construction activities for the removal of Kellogg Creek Dam. The dam currently blocks access to 15 miles of high quality habitat in Kellogg Creek, a tributary of the Willamette River. Removing the dam will provide habitat for threatened Lower Columbia River coho, Chinook, and steelhead. ($7,513,180 in first year; up to $15,000,000 total over 3 years)
  • $7 million dollars will go to Trout Unlimited to replace eight fish passage barriers as part of the Coldwater Connection Campaign, a partnership to reconnect 125 miles of high quality salmon and steelhead streams along Washington’s coast. The project will open more than 7 miles of spawning and rearing habitat for salmon and will increase Hoh tribal community capacity focused on salmon restoration.
  • $10 million for the The Wild Salmon Center to  remove nine culverts as part of the Coldwater Connection Campaign. The culvert removals will improve access for migratory salmon and improve the durability of public infrastructure. The project was developed with the Quileute and Quinault Tribes and will increase tribal capacity for fish passage restoration. ($10,396,280)
  • NOAA also opened up opportunities for tribes to propose projects. $1.2 million will fund the Skagit River System Cooperative to reopen habitat that has been blocked by poorly designed culverts. Work will focus on three sites of interest to the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community and Sauk-Suiattle Tribes: Martin Slough, Hatchery Creek, and Everett Creek. The project will also expand a collaborative process aimed at identifying and repairing barriers in the Skagit River watershed.
  • Click HERE for a full list of projects. And, click HERE for a list of the tribal projects.


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What we’re hearing from Non-Profit Partners:

“Trout Unlimited’s ongoing partnership with NOAA is helping us recover critical populations of salmon, steelhead, and trout and building resilience against the growing impacts of climate change for fish and communities. The new investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law only accelerate this crucial work,” said Chris Wood, President and CEO of Trout Unlimited. “This work is improving fish passage, but also helping rural communities by providing family-wage jobs, improving water quality, and helping prevent road failures and flood damage. We are grateful to NOAA and our congressional allies for their hard work to make this critical funding a reality.”

“We thank the entire Pacific Northwest delegation for securing generational federal investments that can change the trajectory of salmon and orca recovery,” said Guido Rahr, Wild Salmon Center CEO. “We’re at a critical juncture for these species and the Tribes, economies, ecosystems, and local communities that depend on them. This investment builds resilience in our communities and our watersheds, ensuring that wild salmon and steelhead can access cold water needed to thrive in a changing climate.”

These projects will have amazing impacts for our fisheries, as connected, quality habitat is so, so important for abundant, sustainable fish populations. Keep up the good work NOAA and all the organizations carrying out these great fish passage projects!



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