NOAA is recommending $4.5 million in funding for 10 new projects through the 2017 Community-based Restoration Program Coastal and Marine Habitat Restoration Grants competition. These projects will restore roughly 1,400 acres of habitat, and open 70 stream miles for fish passage.
In addition to the 10 new projects funded this year, eleven projects initiated in 2016 will receive $5 million to continue planned restoration activities, including transitioning some projects from design phase to construction.
Using a habitat-based approach, the selected projects aim to rebuild fish stocks, help recover threatened and endangered species, or benefit other coastal and marine species (such as forage fish).
Six of the projects will benefit species listed under the Endangered Species Act, including two projects that will support the recovery of Species in the Spotlight. One project is located in a NOAA Habitat Focus Area.
Restoration efforts include:
Pacific Northwest and Alaska
Fish Passage Restoration in Alaska ($300,000): This project, in partnership with the Tyonek Tribal Conservation District, will replace two undersized culverts and re-route one road. This will restore access to nine upstream miles and 130 lake acres to multiple salmon species, providing benefits to both salmon and Cook Inlet Beluga Whales that rely on salmon as a food source.
Coast Coho Recovery Plan Implementation ($836,645): This project, in partnership with Wild Salmon Center, will implement several projects to increase off-channel rearing habitat and improve the quality of in-stream habitat for Endangered Species Act-listed salmon by adding large woody debris and reducing water temperatures in coastal Oregon rivers. The selected projects will be implemented across three priority watersheds.
Pacific Southwest- California and Hawaii
Kawaihae Watershed Restoration ($646,886): This project, in partnership with The Kohala Center, will reduce land-based sediment runoff in the Kawaihae watershed, within the West Hawaii Habitat Focus Area. The project will erect 12 miles of fencing to protect 8,500 acres, remove more than 1,000 feral goats from the landscape, and revegetate a 10-acre riparian corridor with native trees and shrubs. This will restore one of the most degraded watersheds in the region and will improve the health and function of the nearshore coral reef ecosystem.
Lawrence Creek Reconnection of Critical Off-Channel Salmon Habitat ($154,470): This project, in partnership with Trout Unlimited, will design and construct an off-channel floodplain habitat restoration project in Lawrence Creek. Lawrence Creek is a high priority stream for the recovery of Endangered Species Act-listed salmon and steelhead in California. The project will restore approximately five acres and approximately 1,000 feet of off-channel habitat.
Ocean Ranch Restoration Project ($125,000): This project, in partnership with Ducks Unlimited, will restore estuarine and coastal dune habitat in more than 800 acres of the Eel River estuary in California for the recovery of Endangered Species Act-listed steelhead, coho, and Chinook salmon. This will reestablish a healthy ecosystem, increase resilience to storm events and sea level rise, and provide habitat for juvenile migratory fish to grow before heading out to sea. The project will also enhance populations for 14 managed species.
Lower Prairie Creek Restoration Project ($289,500): This project, in partnership with Save the Redwoods League, will restore rearing, spawning, and over-winter habitat for three species of Endangered Species Act-listed salmon by improving habitat complexity, restoring floodplain access, and increase food and growth potential for juvenile fish. The Prairie Creek watershed in California contains some of the best potential habitat to contribute to the recovery of steelhead, coho, and Chinook salmon populations within the larger watershed system.
Pescadero Creek Streamflow Improvement Project ($421,764): This project, in partnership with San Mateo County Resource Conservation District, will implement irrigation improvements and create an off-stream reservoir in coastal San Mateo County, California. This will directly benefit Endangered Species Act-listed salmon by reducing diversion rates during critical streamflow periods in Pescadero Creek, allowing for enough water flow for salmon to migrate upstream.
Holmes Dam Removal ($1,500,000): This project, in partnership with the Town of Plymouth, Massachusetts, will remove a 16-foot high, 275-foot-long high-hazard dam and a bridge in poor condition. This will open access for river herring to spawning habitat, leading to a predicted increase in the fish run of 200,000 additional fish. The removal will also protect surrounding infrastructure and will reduce flood vulnerability during extreme weather events by increasing floodplain storage volume.
Monatiquot River Restoration Project ($100,000): This project, in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game, will complete engineering and design for the removal of the Armstrong and Ames Pond Dams on the Monatiquot River. Removal of these dams will restore unimpeded access to 36 miles of river corridor for river herring and American eel. Dam removal will also eliminate any risk of dam failure and potential damage to surrounding infrastructure.
Restoring Passage for Alewife and Atlantic Salmon in the Upper Narraguagus River Watershed ($154,000): This project, in partnership with Project SHARE, will replace six culverts in the upper Narraguagus River watershed in coastal Maine, where restoring access to cold-water tributaries is a top priority for recovery of Endangered Species Act-listed Atlantic salmon. This project will restore fish passage to approximately 18 stream miles and improve access to nearly 300 acres of important spawning and rearing habitat for Atlantic salmon, alewife and American eel.