Fish Habitat Benefits from More Than $3 Million in Funding
US Fish and Wildlife Press Release
Valerie Fellows 703/358 2285
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will provide more than $3.4 million to support 84 fish habitat projects in 38 states across the nation under the National Fish Habitat Action Plan (NFHAP). An additional $9.8 million in partner contributions, over $13.2 million in total, will go toward restoring and enhancing stream, lake and coastal habitat, as well as improving recreational fishing and helping endangered species.
The funding is provided for priority projects identified through seventeen Fish Habitat Partnerships established under the NFHAP. The partnerships strategically direct funding and other resources to habitat improvement projects offering the highest long-term conservation returns for aquatic species.
Aquatic ecosystems are especially vulnerable to changes in climate. Healthy habitats can help fish and other aquatic life to withstand flows and temperatures that have been altered due to climate change. Forty of the projects, supported by $2 million of Service funds, will improve stream flow, remove barriers or acquire scientific information needed for long-term protection against the effects of climate change.
“The Service is pleased to work side-by-side with our partners to improve habitat for fish. These projects represent the mutual priorities of broad locally-based partnerships,” said Dan Ashe, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
More than 40 percent of U.S. fish populations are currently considered declining, half of the waters in the U.S. are impaired, and fragmented conservation efforts are not reversing these declines. Besides climate change, principal factors contributing to these declines include: habitat destruction and fragmentation, toxic substances, invasive species, harmful algal blooms and altered thermal regimes.
By helping stem these declines NFHAP projects provide fishing opportunities for the public, and enhance economies and quality of life in local communities.
Highlights of this year’s funding for NFHAP Partnership projects include:
•Maine (Atlantic Coastal Fish Habitat Partnership) - $71,429 in Service funds and $225,000 in partner funds will restore migratory fish passage and enhance shoreline habitat in Shoreys Brook.
•Wisconsin (Driftless Area Restoration Effort) - $60,000 in Service funds and $94,000 in partner funds will restore 1.3 miles of shoreline and instream habitat in the Blue River Watershed.
•Texas (Desert Fish Habitat Partnership) - $53,000 in Service funds and $57,000 in partner funds will go to the restoration of the Phantom Lake Spring Cienega, which supports several imperiled aquatic species and endangered fishes.
•Georgia (Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture) - $71,429 in Service funds and $291,500 in partner funds will reconnect 4.5 miles of stream habitat and remove non-native fish from Bryant Creek in the Chattahoochee National Forest.
•North Dakota (Great Plains Fish Habitat Partnership) - $15,000 in Service funds and $45,000 in partner funds will remove a lowhead dam on the Tongue River, reopening 5 miles of habitat to fish and other aquatic species.
•Hawaii – (Hawaii Fish Habitat Partnership) - $40,000 in Service funds and $40,000 in partner funds will restore 3 acres of Hoi coastal wetland by removing non-native species and addressing land-based pollution effects on nearshore marine areas in Kane’ohe Bay.
•Alaska (Matanuska Susitna Basin Salmon Habitat Partnership) - $50,000 in Service funds and $50,000 in partner funds will replace a perched culvert and reopen 2 miles of river habitat to juvenile salmon on Coyote Creek.
•West Virginia (Ohio River Basin fish Habitat Partnership) - $21,429 in Service funds and $176,400 in partner funds will go to the construction of a bypass channel, restoring passage to 12 miles of the West Fork River in Harrison County.
•Tennessee (Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership) - $107,143 in Service funds and $101,000 in partner funds will address excessive sediment loading through stream bank stabilization projects on the Pleasant Run Creak.
•Idaho (Western Native Trout Initiative) - $21,000 in Service funds and $57,000 in partner funds will reshape, stabilize banks, and treat noxious weeds along a mile of Crow Creek in Idaho, an important project for Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout.
For a complete listing of funded projects, please visit: http://www.fws.gov/fisheries/fwco/pdfs/nfhap/2011_NFHAP_Projects.pdf.
NFHAP is a national investment strategy to maximize the impact of conservation dollars on the ground. Under the plan, federal, state and privately-raised funds are the foundation for building regional partnerships that address the nation’s biggest fish habitat issues. This comprehensive effort will treat the causes of fish habitat decline, not just the symptoms.
For more information about the National Fish Habitat Action Plan, its partnerships and programs please visit: www.fishhabitat.org
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.