New Funding for Fish Passage Projects Totals $260M

Image: NOAA Fisheries.

NOAA Fisheries is accepting applications through this fall for a total of $260 million earmarked for new fish passage projects that reopen migratory pathways and restore access to healthy habitat for fish across the coasts.

The Biden administration, acknowledging that millions of fish are often blocked by human-made barriers from returning to their spawning habitat, is offering $175 million for restoration projects in coastal and Great Lakes regions, plus $85 million for tribal priority fish passage projects. There is no non-federal matching requirement for the funding opportunities.

Applications are due by Oct. 16 for $175 million in funds from the Restoring Fish Passage through Barrier Removal Notice of Funding Opportunity program for coastal areas and the Great Lakes. For the $85 million from the Restoring Tribal Priority Fish Passage through Barrier Removal Notice of Funding Opportunity program, proposals must be received by Nov. 8.

Competition for both funds prioritizes projects that demonstrate a broad base of stakeholder and community support. Projects that incorporate meaningful strategies to engage a diverse range of community groups, including tribes and underserved communities, are also among those being prioritized.

NOAA has said that it encourages and anticipates a period of performance for most awards of up to three years, with the potential for up to five years if necessary. The earliest anticipated start date for awards will be July 1, 2024. Award periods may be extended, at the discretion of NOAA and based on project needs, up to the extent legally allowable. A maximum award length is typically five years.

The announcement includes two of several funding opportunities that NOAA Fisheries is expected to release this year under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act. It follows the recommendation of nearly $105 million in funding for 36 fish passage projects in December 2022, tribal consultation conducted in March and NOAA’s Inflation Reduction Framework in June.

Detailed information on how to apply for the coastal and Great Lakes projects through the website is online at For restoration of tribal priority fish passage, information can be found online at

The grant opportunities are open to institutions of higher education, non-profits, commercial (for profit) organizations, U.S. territories and state, local, and tribal governments.

A pre-recorded applicant webinar is available for download in the “For applicants” section.

Four live webinars are also offered. Register online via the above websites.