U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Seeks Project Applications for $38 Million in Fish Passage Funding
By Moosetrack Megan

Posted: November 17, 2022

Last year $250,000 was awarded to increase bull trout and arctic grayling fish passage in Montana.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has again opened project applications.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is announcing the availability of $38 million in funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for fish passage projects across the nation that address outdated, unsafe or obsolete dams, culverts, levees and other barriers fragmenting our nation’s rivers and streams. In 2022, the Service’s National Fish Passage Program provided an initial $38 million Bipartisan Infrastructure Law investment to fund 40 projects in 23 states and Puerto Rico, which brought big wins for fish passage and local communities. These funds build on the nearly $2 billion in funding for fish passage projects under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law across the Departments of the Interior, Transportation, Agriculture, and Commerce.

The program — in partnership with complementary programs at the Federal Highway Administration and NOAA Fisheries — is now looking to identify projects and partners for the next round of funding.

“From Alaska to Maine, jackhammers and backhoes are removing dams and replacing culverts to restore free-flowing rivers, reduce flood risks and address threats from climate change,” said Service Director Martha Williams. “With $38 million in additional Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding for fish passage projects, the Service will continue our momentum by collaborating with Tribes, state and local agencies, non-governmental organizations and conservation partners to reconnect aquatic systems, improve fish migration, and restore aquatic infrastructure resilience in these fragile habitats.”

The National Fish Passage Program prioritizes projects that will:

  • maximize benefits to priority species and habitats;
  • provide sustainable fish passage;
  • leverage regional or watershed priorities for habitat restoration, fish passage, or aquatic connectivity;
  • enhance community resilience to climate change, address public safety hazards and provide other benefits such as job creation or recreational fishing opportunities;
  • support or engage with underserved and indigenous communities; and
  • be supported by partners, affected stakeholders, and the local community

Interested parties should submit a Letter of Intent to the appropriate National Fish Passage Program regional coordinator, via email, by December 16, 2022. Letters of Intent should include basic project information and a statement of interest. More information, including a list of National Fish Passage regional coordinators, may be found at Grants.Gov or by visiting the program’s informational website.

 

The National Fish Passage Program, facilitated by the Service’s Fish and Aquatic Conservation Program, has decades of proven experience implementing infrastructure projects with partners to improve the health of the nation’s waterways, reconnect rivers, improve climate resilience and enhance local economies. The program provides financial, technical and planning assistance to Tribes, communities, other agencies and landowners to help remove barriers and restore rivers for the benefit of fish and people.

Since 1999, the program has worked with over 2,000 local communities, states, Tribes and private landowners to remove or bypass 3,400 barriers to fish passage and has reopened access to over 60,000 miles of upstream habitat for fish and other animals.

Click here for a recent story highlighting a fish passage project in Johnson Creek, Washington, which received $600,000 of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding: 8 Miles of Cold Water: Johnson Creek Fish Passage Projects to Open 8 Miles of Cold-water Habitat for Long-Denied Summer Steelhead

2022 Project Name
Increasing Bull Trout and Arctic Grayling Fish Passage in Montana

Location 
MT, Powell, Lewis & Clark, Beaverhead

Project Funding
$ 250,000

Project Description
This initiative will improve connectivity for native trout in Montana by creating fish passage at three diversions and one culvert. The project locations are in long term, climate resilient priority watersheds for bull trout and arctic grayling. The projects will open almost 20 miles of upstream habitat. The North Fork Blackfoot River project will replace water supply from the river with groundwater, restoring flow to over a mile of river, and the Poorman Creek AOP replaces a culvert with a larger fish friendly crossing, both for bull trout. The McVey Creek project installs step-pools on two private diversions and the Middle/West project creates pool/riffles to gain passage, both for Arctic Grayling.  In addition to benefitting the species, these projects will create stable diversions for local agriculture, buffering the community against potential loss of crops due to climate change and contributing local economic development.

The National Fish Passage Program combines technical expertise with a track record of success.
Implemented primarily through the Service’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Offices, the National Fish Passage Program provides financial and technical assistance to partners across the country. Since 1999, the program has worked with over 2,000 local communities, Tribes, and private landowners to remove or bypass over 3,400 barriers to fish passage and reopen access to over 61,000 miles of upstream habitat for fish and other animals. Staff have expertise in fish migration and biology as well as financial, engineering, and planning assistance to communities, Tribes, and landowners to help them remove barriers and restore rivers for the benefit both fish and people.

Fish passage project proposals can be initiated by any individual, organization, government, or agency. However, proposals must be submitted and completed in cooperation with a Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office. (Please note that fish passage projects being used for federal or state compensatory mitigation or required by existing federal or state regulatory programs are not eligible for funding through the National Fish Passage Program.)