American Rivers and NOAA Award $133,000 to Restore Rivers and Fisheries in California

New interactive dam removal map available at

May 19th, 2010

<p>Serena McClain, American Rivers, (202) 347-7550 ext. 3004</p>

Washington, DC – Washington, DC — Rivers and fisheries in California will benefit from $133,000 in grants from American Rivers and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Restoration Center. Grants available through the partnership between American Rivers and the NOAA Community-based Restoration Program totaling $748,000 were awarded to projects in seven states to improve river health, restore fisheries, improve public safety and reduce flood risks. Projects in California will benefit the Eel River and Redwood Creek watersheds.

American Rivers also announced the launch of a new interactive map where visitors can find information about dam removal and river restoration in their area.

“We are helping communities turn their rivers from liabilities into assets,” said Rebecca Wodder, president of American Rivers. “By getting rid of an outdated dam and restoring a river to health, we not only improve the environment, we can improve public safety and the local economy as well.” 

“Strong community-based stewardship is the key ingredient to successful coastal habitat restoration,” said Eric Schwaab, Assistant Secretary for NOAA Fisheries. “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 125 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 restoration of fish that live in both marine and freshwater habitats. 

American Rivers has selected the following California restoration projects to receive grants: 

Project: Benbow Dam Removal Design, Eel River, near Garberville, California
Phase: Design
Amount: $75,000
Grantee: California State Parks

Removal of the Benbow Dam will improve river health and restore 60 miles of habitat for salmon. Budget cuts have left the state unable to make necessary repairs to the dam, and its removal will allow the state to eliminate a public safety hazard. 

Project: Strawberry Creek Fish Passage Restoration Project, Strawberry Creek, near Orick, California
Phase: Design
Amount: $57,948
Grantee: Pacific Coast Fish, Wildlife and Wetlands Restoration Association

The Pacific Coast Fish, Wildlife and Wetlands Restoration Association will engineer the removal and replacement of the County Transfer Station Culvert with a bridge that fully spans the natural channel bottom. The project will re-establish access to 1.6 miles of habitat for fish including coho salmon, Chinook salmon, steelhead, and cutthroat trout. It will also reduce the frequency of localized flooding.

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

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.


About American Rivers

About American Rivers

American Rivers protects wild rivers, restores damaged rivers, and conserves clean water for people and nature. Since 1973, American Rivers has protected and restored more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and the annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers® campaign. Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 200,000 members, supporters, and volunteers.

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