U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking project applications for $38 million in fish passage funding. Projects will be part of a five-year, $200 million Bipartisan Infrastructure Law investment to restore aquatic ecosystems, through the National Fish Passage Program. Selected projects will address outdated, unsafe or obsolete dams, culverts, levees and other barriers fragmenting our nation’s rivers and streams.
Fish passage projects reopen up travel routes for fish and aquatic wildlife.
When rivers are fragmented by dams, culverts, or other diversions, they can become congested. These aquatic barriers have the same effect as roadblocks on a busy highway. Across the country over six million barriers are blocking transportation networks for fish and other aquatic wildlife. Fish passage projects help by finding blockages and either removing them or creating a detour that fish can use.
For decades, the National Fish Passage Program has implemented 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.
Examples of previously funded projects:
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. In 2022, the Service’s National Fish Passage Program provided an initial $38 millioninvestment to fund 40 projects in 23 states and Puerto Rico.
Who is eligible to receive funding?
Fish passage project proposals can be initiated by any individual, organization, government, or agency. 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.)
How will Projects Be Selected?
Projects will be evaluated according to a variety of ecological, community, and logistical considerations. The primary factors are:
- Benefits to Priority Species and Habitats
- Permanence of Fish Passage Benefits
- Regional and Watershed Context
- Benefits for community resilience to impacts and other co-benefits
- Benefits to Underserved or Indigenous Communities
- Tribal support and partnership
Partnerships and Timeline
- Leveraged Funds
- Community Support
Estimated Project Duration and Timeline of Project Milestones