NOAA Fisheries says that $27 million from major federal legislation is slated to be used to help restore threatened salmon and trout species in Oregon’s Willamette River watershed.
Funds from the Office of Habitat Conservation under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act will give hope to restoring species that are on a downward trajectory, NOAA Fisheries biologist Anne Mullan said. NOAA announced the funding Jan. 2.
Awards for the related habitat restoration were granted by NOAA to the McKenzie Watershed Alliance, American Rivers, the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and the Clackamas Partnership.
Specific efforts are to include restoring floodplain and side channel habitat to provide spawning and rearing habitat; removing multiple barriers to fish passage that include a dam on a Willamette River tributary; reducing risks of flooding forest fires and drinking water contamination, and providing jobs, educational and work force development opportunities.
The projects are also expected to benefit other listed salmon and trout species, plus Pacific lamprey, which are an important ceremonial food for Native American tribes.
Multiple major dams on the Willamette River tributaries stand between salmon and steelhead and their historic spawning grounds in the upper watershed. The Office of Habitat Conservation’s Restoration Center and its partners are restoring degraded habitat in the lower watershed.
NOAA Fisheries’ West Coast Region works with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and others to provide passage for Chinook salmon and steelhead between the lower river and their upstream spawning habitat.