Thursday, June 13, 2024

NOAA allocates funding to local fish passage projects

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WASHINGTON D.C. – Two fish passage through barrier removal projects within the Wenatchee River watershed were recommended for National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) funding under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act. 

The Yakama Nation was one of eight tribes in Washington state to receive recommendations for funding three different projects, including one located near Lake Wenatchee. The project aims to relocate a portion of Route 207, which currently restricts migratory fish access to half of the Nason Creek floodplain. The project will reconnect 13 acres of floodplain habitat, which is critical for the spawning and rearing of endangered Upper Columbia spring-run Chinook and threatened Upper Columbia steelhead. 

The Yakama Nation will receive $3 million in the first year, and up to $6.1 million total over three years. The other two Yakama Nation projects focus on fish passage in the Yakima and Klickitat watersheds.

Chelan County was recommended to receive $1.6 million for the Wenatchee Basin Fish Barrier Removal Project, which is a continuation of a longstanding effort to improve access to high-quality fish habitat in the Wenatchee watershed. 

In total, 46 recipients across the nation were chosen for $240 million in funding this year and an additional $38 million in funding in future years.

As Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) helped secure $2.855 billion in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for programs that could fund salmon and ecosystem restoration. This included her $1 billion National Culvert Removal, Replacement, and Restoration Grant Program, which funds culvert removal to improve fish passage.

"Habitat restoration works, and these projects will help boost the salmon and steelhead runs our tribes and our regional economy depend on,” said Sen. Cantwell. “These grants will make lasting and meaningful improvements to habitat, including for Puget Sound Chinook stocks that orcas need to thrive. Removing fish barriers will also boost endangered Upper Columbia River Chinook and threatened Upper Columbia steelhead.” 

Taylor Caldwell: 509-433-7276 or taylor@ward.media

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