Washington, DC---The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and American Rivers announced an $800,355 grant to renew their joint effort to restore streams and rivers in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Northwest, and California.
American Rivers and the NOAA Restoration Center will kick off the first year of the new three-year partnership by committing to distribute funds to remove barriers to salmon, striped bass, American shad, and other species that migrate between fresh and salt water.
"Strong community-based stewardship is integral to NOAA's goals for coastal habitat restoration,” said retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “I commend NOAA’s CRP and partners like American Rivers for their dedication to restore high quality fish habitat. Their efforts promote local stewardship of the habitats that sustain our nation’s fishery resources."
For the past six years, the collaboration between NOAA and American Rivers has resulted in more than $2 million being invested in almost 100 projects that provide passage for migratory fish through dam or culvert removal, as well as through traditional and nontraditional fish passage methods. Program funding is provided through NOAA’s Open Rivers Initiative. These Partnership funds will focus on stream barrier removal projects that help restore riverine ecosystems, enhance public safety and community resilience, and have clear and identifiable benefits to diadromous fish populations in the four target regions.
Applications are currently being accepted for the first cycle of fiscal year 2008 with a deadline of December 3, 2007. Applications for projects must be postmarked by the deadline for consideration in this funding cycle. Potential applicants must contact American Rivers to discuss potential projects prior to submitting an application. For a complete set of funding guidelines and to download an application www.AmericanRivers.org/NOAAgrants.
“Rivers are at the heart of our communities,” said Rebecca R. Wodder, president of American Rivers. “Through our partnership with NOAA, we have been able to provide communities with the technical and financial assistance they need to turn rivers from afterthoughts to assets, and promote awareness and appreciation of healthy rivers as both an economic and environmental benefit.”
The funding these organizations provide has far-reaching benefits that extend beyond increased access to spawning habitat for migratory fish species. River restoration also has the potential to bolster a community’s natural and sustainable resiliency to the impacts of climate change and extreme weather conditions. One such project is the removal of the 15-foot high Pursel Mill Dam on Lopatcong Creek in Phillipsburg, New Jersey. The dam was originally built in 1925 to provide water for a working mill and in 1945 the mill was converted into a local Agway store. The dam gradually fell into a state of disrepair and posed a significant downstream hazard, according to New Jersey dam safety officials. The dam no longer served a purpose and was considered a liability to both its owner and the community.
American Rivers and NOAA provided funding to assist in the removal of the dam in the spring of 2006, opening up 10 miles of additional spawning habitat for American shad and other migratory species. But fish weren’t the only species benefiting from this project: In years past, the local Agway store and other property adjacent to the dam experienced flooding during heavy spring rains. However, during the rainy springs of 2006 and 2007, nearby landowners reported that the flooding they had come to expect no longer occurred with the dam gone.
American Rivers is the only national organization standing up for healthy rivers so our communities can thrive. Through national advocacy, innovative solutions and our growing network of strategic partners, we protect and promote our rivers as valuable assets that are vital to our health, safety and quality of life. In addition to its partnership with NOAA, American Rivers provides a broad range of technical assistance and advice to communities considering or planning the removal of unwanted dams.
The NOAA Restoration Center uses a community-based restoration program to work with organizations and governments to support locally driven habitat restoration projects in marine, estuarine and riparian areas. NOAA funds on-the-ground habitat restoration projects that offer educational and social benefits for citizens and their communities and provide long-term ecological benefits for fishery resources. Since 1996, over 800 projects in 26 states have been implemented using NOAA funding and leveraged funding from national and regional habitat restoration partners. For more information on the Community-based Restoration Program, please visit: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/habitat/restoration.
Each year, NOAA awards approximately $900 million in grants to members of the academic, scientific and business communities to assist the agency in fulfilling its mission to study the Earth’s natural systems in order to predict environmental change, manage ocean resources, protect life and property, and provide decision makers with reliable scientific information. NOAA goals and programs reflect a commitment to these basic responsibilities of science and service to the nation for the past 33 years.
American Rivers is the leading organization working to protect and restore the nation’s rivers and streams. Rivers connect us to each other, nature, and future generations. Since 1973, American Rivers has fought to preserve these connections, helping protect and restore more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and the annual release of America’s Most Endangered Rivers®.
Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 100,000 supporters, members, and volunteers nationwide. Visit www.americanrivers.org, www.facebook.com/americanrivers and www.twitter.com/americanrivers.