Biden administration announces more than USD 300 million for salmon recovery and fish passage projects

A salmon on the shoreline.

The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden has announced nearly USD 300 million (EUR 276 million) for salmon recovery and fish passage improvement projects.

This week, NOAA Fisheries recommended USD 106 million (EUR 98 million) in funding for 16 salmon recovery projects along the West Coast and in Alaska through the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund (PCSRF). At the same time, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has unveiled USD 196 million (EUR 180 million) in funding for to fix or remove 169 culvert barriers to improve fish passage.

"This targeted funding could not come at a more crucial time," Regional Administrator in NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region Jennifer Quan said in a statement. "With climate change exerting increasing impacts, we are proud to partner with states, tribes, and communities to reopen and restore the habitat that affords salmon the resilience they need to survive and thrive. We will work together to make the most of these dollars to do the most good for salmon."

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the 16 salmon recovery projects will benefit the recovery of 28 salmon and steelhead species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

“The projects recommended for funding will build on PCSRF’s long history of successful conservation and restoration efforts to recover salmon and steelhead populations,” NOAA Fisheries Assistant Administrator Janet Coit said. “These awards will also provide support to Pacific Coast tribes and Alaska Natives to help sustain their communities and cultural traditions in the face of climate change.”

Of the 16 applicants recommended for funding, 11 are tribes or tribal groups.

A full list of the 16 projects can be found on NOAA Fisheries’ website. The recommendations are not final and will need to be adopted by the Federal Interagency Fish Passage Task Force, which was established in 2022.

Meanwhile, the 59 grants announced by DOT will be spread across ten states, with 14 tribal governments included in the recipients.

“In communities across the country where people depend on fishing for their livelihoods, culverts are vital infrastructure for ensuring fish passage,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. “Through this investment, we are repairing or removing hundreds of culverts nationwide, protecting jobs, mitigating the risk of flooding, and strengthening local economies.”

A full list of grants can be found on the DOT website.

The spending is part of USD 2 billion (EUR 1.8 billion) set aside for fish passage projects in Biden’s Investing in America agenda.

“This funding, made possible in part by President Biden’s historic Investing in America agenda, provides an important opportunity to bolster salmon and steelhead recovery and invest in the communities that rely on them,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “The diligent work carried out by NOAA Fisheries and partners will help ensure the funding reaches regions and fish populations where it is needed most.”

Some of the money for the salmon recovery projects was provided through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, with the former accounting for USD 34 million (EUR 31 million) of the funding and the latter accounting for USD 7.5 million (EUR 6.9 million). The remaining USD 64 million (EUR 59 million) will come from annual appropriation funding.

Photo courtesy of NOAA Fisheries


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