$95M in Federal Funds to Boost Salmon Recovery, Restoration

Image via NOAA Fisheries.

NOAA Fisheries has announced $95 million in funding to boost the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund (PCSRF) program, targeting salmon recovery efforts from California to Alaska.

The grants include $34 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds for 19 new and continuing salmon recovery entities.

Application approvals and fund obligations have yet to be finalized, but each project has been recommended for funding. Final decisions and notifications are expected to be made by Oct. 1.

Funded programs and projects include three NOAA Fisheries species in the spotlight: Central California Coast coho salmon, Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon and Southern resident killer whales.

The grants are to also aid in recovery of 28 salmon and steelhead species identified under the Endangered Species Act, plus non-listed ESA salmon and steelhead necessary for American Indian and Alaska Native subsistence or tribal treaty fishing rights.

The agency is funding multi-year projects and programs this year based on a competitive review process, NOAA Fisheries spokesperson Lauren Gaches said.

She noted that project applications were evaluated on criteria outlined in the 2022 Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) and that state applicants are required to provide a 33% non-federal match, but tribal commission/consortia and individual tribal applicants are not required to provide such a match.

All recommended awards must undergo cost analysis and legal review during a NOAA Grants Management review. Projects are not awarded until they’ve been reviewed by a NOAA Grants Officer, with the terms accepted by the funding recipient.

All recommended funding awards will be processed as quickly as possible, on a rolling basis, Gaches said.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said the funds, including critical investments from the infrastructure law, would allow NOAA Fisheries to deliver measurable, lasting benefits to the environment and local economies on a scale like never before. The action, she said, illustrates the administration’s commitment to supporting collaborative conservation and building a climate-ready nation.

The PCSRF funds are to target salmon habitat protection and restoration, enhance tribal treaty, trust resources and critical salmon research and monitor and complement state and tribal programs for salmon recovery. 

NOAA is recommending $61 million in annual appropriation funds and $34 million in infrastructure law funds to supplement state and tribal salmon recovery programs and projects. 

The funding enables some projects to transition from design to construction. Others use NOAA grants to shape projects that may result in community and economic benefits.

NOAA’s PCSRF program has provided assistance to partners across the West Coast and Alaska for more than 20 years. The program has a long history of habitat restoration projects that support threatened or endangered salmon and steelhead populations and help maintain the numbers necessary for exercising tribal treaty fishing rights and native subsistence fishing.