Washington, D.C. - Rivers and fisheries nationwide are getting a boost, thanks to a partnership between American Rivers, the nation’s leading river conservation organization, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Restoration Center. $290,000 in Community-based Habitat Restoration Program Partnership grants were awarded this year to reconnect fragmented river habitat, improve river health and benefit communities in six states: California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington.
“Communities across the nation are realizing the many benefits to having a connected, healthy river,” said Rebecca Wodder, President of American Rivers. “We’re thrilled to be working with NOAA to help communities reap the many rewards of natural infrastructure including clean water, flood protection, and stronger local economies.”
"Strong community-based stewardship is the key ingredient to successful coastal habitat restoration,” said Mary M. Glackin, Deputy Under Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere. “Our partnership with American Rivers promotes local action on behalf of the habitat that sustains our nation’s fishery resources and provides long-term health and economic benefits to communities."
Since 2001, American Rivers and the NOAA Community-based Restoration Program have provided financial and technical assistance for more than 100 river restoration projects benefiting fish populations and habitats in the Northeast (ME, VT, NH, MA, CT, RI), Mid-Atlantic (NY, PA, NJ, DE, MD, DC, VA), Northwest (WA, OR, ID), and California. Funding is provided through the NOAA Open Rivers Initiative which seeks to enable environmental and economic renewal in local communities through the removal of stream barriers and realized benefits to diadromous fish species--fish that live in both marine and freshwater habitats.
American Rivers has selected the following restoration projects to receive grants:
Olson Ford Removal
West Branch Soquel Creek (Soquel Creek Watershed), CA
$50,000 to remove the Olson Ford and replace it with an open bottom culvert
The Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County was awarded funding to replace the existing Olson Road ford, which is severely undersized and dilapidated, with an open-bottom culvert, providing year-round access to approximately four miles of high quality rearing and spawning habitat for threatened steelhead in the Soquel Creek watershed. This structure currently floods on an annual basis, hindering the ability of homeowners to access their property. Retrofitting the culvert will improve flood conveyance at the site and reduce the chance of the structure failing.
Benbow Lake Restoration Initiative
Eel River, CA (Garberville)
$15,000 to conduct initial feasibility work for the removal of the Benbow Dam
The California State Parks was awarded funding to assess the feasibility of restoring two to six miles of the Eel River by removing the Benbow Dam and related structures, thereby improving habitat for chinook salmon, coho, and winter-run steelhead. New recreational opportunities will also be assessed including development of deep holes for use as both fish habitat and swimming holes for the local community.
Simkins Dam Removal
Patapsco River, MD (near Baltimore)
$50,000 to complete the project design for the removal of the Simkins Dam
Friends of the Patapsco Valley State Park was awarded funding to develop a design for the removal of the privately-owned Simkins Dam, which is located on the Patapsco River. The river flows for almost 35 miles through Ellicott City and other Maryland towns before it reaches the Chesapeake Bay. Specifically, the removal of Simkins Dam will restore eight miles of spawning habitat for American eel, alewife, blueback herring, yellow and white perch, and American shad. Its removal will also lead to increased recreational opportunities on the river for both boaters and anglers.
Sippican River Revitalization Initiative
Sippican River (Buzzards Bay Watershed), MA (near Rochester)
$49,000 to assess the feasibility of removing the Hathaway Pond Dam
The Coalition for Buzzards Bay was awarded funding to conduct a feasibility study for restoration options of the Sippican River. The primary goals of this initiative are to enhance and restore the Sippican River and provide habitat for fish and other river wildlife. Secondary goals include open space protection, public access, public safety benefits, and strengthening the community’s connection to the river.
Lower Millstone River Fish Passage Project
Millstone River, a tributary to the Raritan River, NJ (near the townships of Franklin and Hillsborough)
$35,000 to assess the feasibility of removing two dams on the Lower Millstone River
Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association will conduct a study to examine the feasibility of restoring American shad and other fish in the lower Millstone River in central New Jersey. Among other potential restoration strategies, the project will explore the possibility of removing two dams on the lower Millstone River which would open an additional 14.1 miles of the river to fish. The study will assess potential positive and negative effects of dam removal as well as other potential methods for providing fish passage on the river.
Kellogg Creek Dam Removal
Kellogg Creek (Lower Willamette River), OR (Milwaukie)
$45,000 to prepare a design for the Kellogg Creek Dam removal
The City of Milwaukie was awarded funding to prepare a design for the removal of the Kellogg Creek Dam. Removal of this stream barrier will restore the natural function of Kellogg Creek, while opening nine river miles of upstream habitat for Lower Columbia Coho salmon, Lower Columbia winter steelhead, Lower Columbia coastal cutthroat trout, and Pacific lamprey. These proposed improvements would substantially restore fish access to the Kellogg Creek Basin including the upper reaches of both Kellogg and Mt Scott Creeks.
Cannavina Road Culvert Replacement
Unnamed Tributary to the Wind River, WA (near Stabler, WA)
$46,000 to design the removal of two culverts and replace them with a more sustainable, open bottom approach
Underwood Conservation District was awarded this funding to restore about two and a half miles of habitat for Lower Columbia steelhead and improve overall stream health of this Wind River tributary. The presence of these culverts is restricting the flow of the river and causing debris to pile up at the site. Replacing the culverts with either a larger, open bottom culvert or a bridge will increase the quality and quantity of habitat by allowing unimpeded passage for steelhead and reducing erosion at the site.
American Rivers is the leading conservation organization standing up for healthy rivers so communities can thrive. American Rivers protects and restores America's rivers for the benefit of people, wildlife and nature. Founded in 1973, American Rivers has more than 65,000 members and supporters, with offices in Washington, DC and nationwide. Visit www.AmericanRivers.org
The Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.
Established in 1991, the Restoration Center is the only office within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) solely devoted to restoring the nation’s coastal, marine, and migratory fish habitats. The Restoration Center works with a wide array of partners to restore mangrove, salt marsh, seagrass, oyster, coral reef, kelp forest, and river habitats. Through habitat restoration, the Restoration Center contributes to the sustainability of commercial and recreational fisheries.
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.