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Open Rivers Initiative

Fish swimming upstream

Through its Open Rivers Initiative, NOAA’s Restoration Center provides technical expertise and financial assistance to remove dams and barriers and restore habitat for the many species that migrate between the ocean and the nation’s freshwater rivers and streams. This initiative contributes to sustainability of U.S. fisheries, provides an economic boost for communities, and improves public safety.

Since its inception, NOAA has removed more than 90 dams and stream blockages through the program, opening more than 1,700 miles of high quality river habitat for migratory fish.

Apply for Funding
The NOAA Restoration Center anticipates up to $6 million in project funding, with a focus on implementing projects that will directly benefit migratory species such as salmon, sturgeon, shad, river herring, striped bass, and American eel. Projects under the initiative will also improve community vitality and public safety and encourage economic growth.

About Fish Passage
The Open Rivers Initiative supports our priorities to open streams and rivers for migratory fish. In the United States, millions of dams and other barriers block fish from reaching upstream spawning habitat. Dams often provide benefits, such as hydro-electric power and irrigation, but many are now obsolete. Removing these structures can improve the health of our rivers, fisheries, and our economy. NOAA is working to restore and protect the ecological health of the nation’s rivers and streams by removing dams, installing fish passage structures such as fish ladders, and removing other migratory fish barriers such as undersized culverts from streams and rivers.