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$10.8 Million in Funding for Coastal Habitat Restoration Projects to Benefit Fish
This year, we awarded $10.8 million in funding for 19 coastal habitat restoration projects across the United States through the Community-based Restoration Program. These projects will restore up to 15,000 acres of habitat, and open nearly 400 stream miles for fish passage.
Selected projects will use a habitat-based approach to increase fish production and foster species recovery. Proposals submitted under this solicitation were selected based on their ability to demonstrate how they would help rebuild fish stocks, help recover threatened and endangered species, or sustain or benefit other coastal and marine species (such as forage fish).
Restoration efforts will include:
- Benbow Dam ($205,964): This project, in partnership with the California Department of Parks and Recreation, will ultimately open more than 100 miles of the South Fork Eel River for fish passage when completed. Removal of the Benbow Dam will benefit threatened species of coho and Chinook salmon and steelhead.
- Green Valley Creek ($400,000): This project, with the Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District, will expand scarce winter rearing habitat in one of the few remaining streams in the Russian River watershed where wild juvenile coho are known to exist.
- Lost Coast ($150,000): This project, also with Trout Unlimited, will reduce the amount of sediment runoff into streams, and improve habitat for three priority watersheds within the Lost Coast area of Northern California for the recovery of Central California Coast coho salmon.
- Lower Klamath River ($128,000): Working with the Yurok Tribe, this project will restore up to 28 acres of habitat by installing log jams and planting trees. These habitat improvements will benefit threatened Southern Oregon/Northern California Coast coho salmon.
- Mill Creek ($229,563): Working with Trout Unlimited, we will begin efforts to eliminate the highest priority fish passage barrier to be addressed within the Russian River watershed according NOAA’s recovery plan for Central California Coast coho salmon. When completed, approximately open up 75 percent of habitat in the Mill Creek watershed will be open for fish passage. The Mill Creek dam is the highest priority barrier within the Russian River watershed to be addressed remediation in NOAA’s recovery plan for Central California coho salmon.
- Sears Point ($538,000): This project, with Ducks Unlimited, will begin the restoration of 960 acres of former farm land in North San Francisco Bay by removing dikes and levees. This will return the land to its previous state as tidal marsh habitat, and decrease maintenance and upkeep costs for the levees. It will also increase recreational opportunities by expanding the San Francisco Bay trail by several miles.
- Florida Keys ($200,000): In partnership with the Coral Restoration Foundation, Inc., we will plant thousands of elkhorn and staghorn corals, both of which are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The newly-planted corals will also furnish habitat for fish, including snapper and grouper.
- Northeast Florida ($250,000): We will work with St. Johns River Water Management District to launch the restoration of more than 2,000 acres of marsh, oyster reef, and shoreline forage and nursery habitat in Indian River Lagoon. The project will benefit snapper, grouper, and endangered species such as sea turtles and smalltooth sawfish.
- Maine Headwaters ($174,000): Working with the Atlantic Salmon Federation, we will open up fish passage in Maine, including the removal of inappropriately-designed culverts and the installation of fish ladders. Over three years, an estimated 10,000 lake acres and 160 river miles will be made accessible to Atlantic salmon and forage fish such as alewife and blueback herring.
- Chesapeake Bay ($500,000): On the Lafayette River, Virginia, and Harris Creek in Maryland, we will begin work with Restore America’s Estuaries and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to plant eight acres of oysters, creating habitat for black sea bass and other fish.
- Patapsco River ($3.8 million): With American Rivers, we will remove the Bloede dam on the Patapsco River in Maryland. Funding to remove the dam and for engineering design to remove the Daniels Dam are part a larger effort to restore more than 65 miles of spawning habitat for blueback herring, alewife, and American shad, ensuring sustainable populations of these species.
- Herring River Estuary ($300,000): We will work with Friends of Herring River on the design and permitting of the Herring River estuarine restoration project in Wellfleet and Truro, MA. The project could restore roughly 1,000 acres and more than 11 miles of estuarine and river habitat for bluefish, summer flounder, striped bass, and river herring.
- Taunton River Watershed ($77,660): With the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game, we will remove the West Britannia and Barstow’s Pond dams on the Taunton River. Once removed, fish will have full access to habitat from Narragansett Bay to headwater pond habitats (36 miles and 400 acres). A river herring run of more than 100,000 fish is anticipated. The removals will also eliminate the public safety threat associated with the aging dams.
- Town Brook ($525,000): We will work with the Town of Plymouth to remove the Plymco Dam and begin planning efforts to remove the Holmes Dams on Town Brook, in Plymouth MA. This will bring to a close more than a decade of work by NOAA and its partners to remove all barriers to fish along Town Brook. It creates the potential for restoring a herring run of more than 500,000.
- Tillamook Bay ($242,000): In Tillamook County, the loss of wetlands has been a limiting factor for young coho and Chinook salmon. Working with the county, we will complete planning efforts to restore 500 acres of wetlands, addressing 70 percent of the tidal wetlands restoration goal for Tillamook Bay.
- Waite Ranch ($392,000): In partnership with Ecotrust, we will begin efforts to return more than 200 acres of land—which was previously used for farming—back to productive tidal wetlands within the Siuslaw River estuary. These tidal wetlands provide important nursery and refuge habitat for threatened Oregon Coast coho salmon.
- Willamette River ($221,073): Working with The Nature Conservancy, we will initiate the restoration of 300 acres of floodplain habitat and bring 4 miles of streams back to a more natural condition. These efforts will address recommendations from the Upper Willamette Chinook and Steelhead Recovery Plan.
- Puget Sound – Whidbey Basin ($1.4 million): Three projects, with The Nature Conservancy, will make progress toward Puget Sound Action Agenda’s goal to restore 15 percent of degraded floodplain habitat by 2020. Our goal is to restore nearly 500 acres of floodplain habitat in Whidbey Basin, one of the most important areas in Puget Sound for recovery of threatened Puget Sound Chinook and steelhead.
- Smith Island ($1 million): Working with Snohomish County, we will begin to restore nearly 330 acres of wetlands in the Snohomish River estuary. This will fulfill 25 percent of NOAA’s 10-year target for tidal wetland restoration in the Snohomish Basin. It will also provide important habitat for threatened Puget Sound Chinook and steelhead.
Our investment in habitat is part of a long-term effort to rebuild fisheries, many of which have declined precipitously from habitat loss, over-fishing, and climate change. Recent successes show that restoring habitat is a way not only to stop the decline of fish populations, but also to regrow them to historic high numbers.