Press Release:
NOAA Fish Passage 2024 Recommendations for Funding

NOAA announces the recommendation of $8.7 million in funding to restore fish passage in the Mid-Willamette

The Calapooia, Luckiamute, Marys River, North Santiam, and South Santiam Watershed Councils are recommended to receive over $8.7 million in funding from the Department of Commerce and NOAA to restore fish passage in the Mid-Willamette region. 

Proposed funding will restore fish passage to 18 different sites in the Mid-Willamette, opening up access to 43 miles of high quality spawning and rearing habitat for a variety of native fish, including Upper Willamette River spring Chinook salmon and winter steelhead trout, which are both listed under the Endangered Species Act. The funding would also help to develop permit-ready designs for another 6.7 miles of habitat.

In addition to restoring access to healthy fish habitat, this project will also work to build climate resilience while improving infrastructure, reducing hazards, and engaging the community. The projects span the full range of fish passage types, including culvert improvements, in-stream fish passage improvements, and the assessment of alternatives to and review of a dam removal. 

“We are honored that our proposal has been recommended for funding,” said Holly Purpura, Marys River Watershed Council Executive Director, “This work builds upon 16 years of close regional collaboration between the Calapooia, Luckiamute, Marys River, North Santiam, and South Santiam Watershed Councils, whose combined service area consists of 31 percent of the Willamette watershed. We are grateful to be given this opportunity to continue to restore watersheds in the mid-Willamette and build a more resilient climate.” 

The project, “There and back again: A salmonid’s tale to restored fish passage in the Mid-Willamette,” was submitted by Marys River Watershed Council on behalf of the Mid-Valley River Connections collaborative. This project is 1 of 46 projects recommended by the Department of Commerce and NOAA for $240 million in funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act. 

More information will be available in the months ahead.