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Biden-Harris Administration Announces Nearly $240 Million For New Fish Passage Projects Through Investing In America Agenda

New investments will support fish conservation efforts

The Department of Commerce and NOAA are recommending nearly $240 million in funding, and an additional $38 million in future funding, to support 46 new fish passage projects through the Administration’s Investing in America agenda. These funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act will help facilitate efforts to restore access to healthy habitats through fish passage restoration projects and will build the capacity of partners. The selected projects span the full range of fish passage types including dam removal, fish ladders, culvert improvements and in-stream fish passage improvements. 

Nearly half of the projects will be led by Tribes and Tribal organizations. Funding will support Tribes in their fish passage work for Tribal trust resources for cultural, spiritual, economic, subsistence and recreational purposes. It will benefit  fish passage barrier removal projects of high priority for the Tribes and help increase Tribal capacity to participate in developing current and future fish passage projects.

“President Biden’s Investing in America agenda continues to support fish passage projects that are vital to the cultures, economies, and overall well being of communities all over the country, particularly Tribal communities,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “Thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to working closely with Tribes and strengthening migratory fish populations, this $278 million investment will help protect critical fish species and increase economic prosperity nationwide.”

The projects were selected from a large number of applications submitted to two competitions NOAA Fisheries announced in July 2023, which called for projects that restored fish passage and emphasized Tribal capacity building.

“NOAA has a long history conducting habitat restoration — including fish passage — by executing large-scale competitive funding opportunities and providing expert technical assistance,” said NOAA Administrator Dr. Rick Spinrad. “We look forward to continuing to work closely with Tribes and other partners to coordinate efforts and make a collective, positive impact for coastal habitats and communities.”

This effort advances President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative that set a goal that 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution – which includes all Federally Recognized Tribes.

Funding — including future year funding — is going to partners in the following states: Alabama (total $1.7 million), Alaska (total $22.4 million), California (total $25.6 million), Georgia (total $1.5 million), Maine (total $70.9 million), Maryland (total $1.8 million), Massachusetts (total $13.7 million), New Jersey (total $9.2 million), Oregon (total $33.7 million), Rhode Island (total $12.4 million), Virginia (total $7.9 million), Washington (total $75.2 million) and Wisconsin (total $1.7 million).

The following Tribes are receiving funding: Ahtna Intertribal Resource Commission, Chickaloon Native Village, Organized Village of Kasaan, Qawalangin Tribe of Unalaska, Tyonek Tribal Conservation District, Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point, Penobscot Indian Nation, Forest County Potawatomi Community, Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians, Coquille Indian Tribe, Cowlitz Indian Tribe, Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, Nisqually Indian Tribe, Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, Skagit River System Cooperative, Squaxin Island Tribe, Tulalip Tribes and Yakama Nation.

The importance of fish passage conservation

Fish passage projects restore river corridors and improve access for fish to the habitat they need or reconnect fish access to historic habitat. Migratory fish such as salmon require access to high quality rearing and spawning habitats and unimpeded migratory corridors to be successful and resilient. NOAA works to reopen these migratory pathways and restore access to healthy habitat for fish. Fish passage and access remain a major limiting factor towards rebuilding fish populations. This funding will help reconnect fish with their historic habitat, which is a critical step towards rebuilding fisheries populations.   

This fish passage funding builds on the more than $166 million awarded for 36 projects announced in December of 2022 to provide significant benefits to endangered migratory fish and sustainable fisheries. Fish passage funding is part of the broader Community-Based Habitat Restoration programand complements other habitat restoration projects funded under the Bipartisan infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act.

Climate, weather, and water affect all life on our ocean planet. NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict our changing environment, from the deep sea to outer space, and to manage and conserve America’s coastal and marine resources. See how NOAA science, services, and stewardship benefit your community: Visit noaa.gov for our latest news and features, and join us on social media.

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