Service Announces $3 Million in Grants To Conserve Native Fish Species and Their Habitats
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is providing $3.17 million in grants to 18 partners in 34 states to improve fish habitat and stem declines in native fish populations. The funding will help partners restore and enhance stream banks, remove barriers to fish passage, reduce erosion from farm and ranchlands, and address other conservation needs in stream, lake and coastal environments.
Fish Habitat Partnerships (FHPs), the work units of the National Fish Habitat Partnership (NFHP), help identify priority habitat projects and direct funding to projects with the highest long-term conservation returns.
FHPs, along with a coalition of public and private organizations working to improve fish habitat through voluntary, non-regulatory actions, make up the NFHP. “The National Fish Habitat Partnership is making an enormous difference in efforts to recover our fish and aquatic resources,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “By working with our partners, we can continue to protect and conserve these vital species and their habitats for generations to come.”
2015 NFHP grantees include: the Fishers and Farmers Partnership, which will work to reduce the impact of various farming practices on aquatic habitats in the Red Cedar and St. Croix watersheds of Wisconsin the Kenai Peninsula Fish Habitat Partnership, which will work with volunteers and partners to conserve salmon habitat in Alaska and the Western Native Trout Initiative, which will restore habitat crucial to cutthroat trout, Gila trout and bull trout, all of which are imperiled species.
Nearly 40 percent of North American fishes -- 700 species in total -- are imperiled. Factors contributing to fish declines include habitat destruction and fragmentation, toxic substances, invasive species, harmful algal blooms and climate change.
Work conducted by FHPs aims to stop and reverse these declines by protecting and maintaining aquatic ecosystems, preventing further degradation of fish habitats that have been adversely affected, reversing declines in the quality and quantity of aquatic habitats to improve the overall health of fish and other aquatic organisms, and increasing the quality and quantity of fish habitats that support a broad natural diversity of fish and other aquatic species. In the process, such improvements also bring added income and improved recreational fishing opportunities to local communities.
For more information about the NFHP, visit www.fishhabitat.org and connect on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NFHAP. The complete list of fiscal year 2015 projects can be found here: http://www.fws.gov/home/pdfs/FY15_FWS_Funded_NFHAP_Projects.pdf.