Biden announces USD 60 million for Columbia River basin salmon hatcheries

A photo of a hatchery worker holding a salmon

The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden has announced USD 60 million (EUR 56 million) in government funding is now available to upgrade Columbia River Basin salmon hatcheries as part of an ongoing efforts to restore the population.

The money is part of the USD 2.6 billion (EUR 2.4 billion) in NOAA funding provided via the Inflation Reduction Act for coastal resilience, fisheries support, and tribal priorities. USD 390 million (EUR 364 million) of that funding was set aside for tribal priorities.

“This historic investment by the Biden-Harris Administration furthers NOAA’s efforts to help Americans – including tribes and vulnerable populations – prepare, adapt and build resilience to weather and climate events,” U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said. “This new funding that was made possible by the Inflation Reduction Act, a key pillar of Bidenomics, is critically important because it will update hatchery facilities to continue to provide the fishing opportunities guaranteed by treaties."

Funding will go to projects identified as tribal priorities for Pacific salmon hatcheries already funded through the Mitchell Act – a piece of legislation passed in 1938 that provides funding for salmon and steelhead fishery conservation. Hatcheries operated by the Yakama Nation, the Nez Perce Tribe, and the states of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho are eligible, and NOAA Fisheries previously consulted with the hatchery operators to develop a list of maintenance projects, repairs, and upgrades.

In September, Biden signed a presidential memorandum to prioritize fish restoration in the Columbia River Basin.

“President Biden is directing all relevant federal agencies to utilize existing authorities and available resources – and assess what additional authorities and resources may be needed – to restore these wild fish populations and help ensure that the United States upholds its treaty and trust responsibilities to the Tribes,” the White House said at the time.

At the same time, the administration signed an agreement with the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, and the Spokane Tribe of Indians that provided USD 20 million (EUR 19 million) to restore and reintroduce salmon to blocked parts of the Upper Columbian River Basin.

The president also directed the chair of the Council on Environmental Quality and the director of the Office of Management and Budget to look into other ways to partner with Tribes and the state on the effort.

Photo courtesy of the Nez Perce Tribe


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