Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has released another $15 million for restoration activities in the Klamath Basin and has begun accepting project grant proposals from the community. This second round of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding for the Klamath Basin—which is set to total $162 million over five years—is intended to invest in projects and activities that support or will help improve rivers, lakes, wetlands, and their associated riparian habitats, which historically supported millions of fish and waterbirds.
As Chairman of the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, Merkley secured this pool of $162 million dedicated specifically for Klamath Basin restoration projects in the bipartisan infrastructure law.
“Everyone in the Klamath Basin was deeply impacted from the worst drought in recent history in 2021, and I’ve pushed to make sure the federal government steps in to help,” said Senator Merkley. “As Chairman of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, I secured $162 million specifically for the Klamath Basin intended to help expand ongoing fish and habitat recovery efforts and water quality improvements in the Klamath Basin. With this second funding opportunity, I encourage Tribes, farmers, fishermen and others to pitch their best ideas and take advantage of this historic opportunity. I will continue to use my position on the Appropriations Committee to make a difference, and support efforts by the Basin and all of Oregon to prepare and respond to more frequent and severe droughts caused by climate chaos.”
“Fighting the drought slamming the Klamath Basin demands a robust response providing a full menu of options so everybody in the region can weather this crisis,” said Wyden, Chair of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee. “This $15 million funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law I worked to pass stands out as a key piece of that urgently needed response. I look forward to the best local solutions emerging to capitalize on this newly available federal investment, and I’ll keep battling to secure similar investments for the families and small businesses in the Basin to allow them to survive this climate catastrophe and to prosper.”
USFWS invites restoration project proposals from Tribes, local and state agencies, non-governmental organizations, and other conservation partners who are committed to finding long-term solutions that will move the Basin forward.
Project proposals must demonstrate how planned restoration activity will improve conditions and achieve habitat restoration for native fish and other aquatic species throughout the Klamath Basin. Applicants are encouraged to submit project proposals that seek out or build upon opportunities for collaboration with other conservation partners in the Klamath Basin.
Senator Merkley has also used his position on the Appropriations Committee, along with Senator Wyden as a senior member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, time and again over the years to fight for funding as the Klamath Basin has faced severe drought challenges, including:
- $55 million for the Klamath Project Drought Response Agency to help respond to drought conditions in 2021 and 2022
- $35.4 million for the Klamath River Basin to expand efforts to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire
- $32 million for the Fremont-Winema National Forest to help recover from the Bootleg Fire, which Merkley secured as part of the 2021 disaster supplemental
- $82 million in funding for the U.S. Fish and Wildfire Services to support habitat restoration and fish recovery efforts since Fiscal Year 2020, through annual appropriations and previous BIL investments
- $5 million in the FY22 Energy and Water Appropriations bill to modernize the Klamath Project
- $2 million in the FY22 Interior Appropriations bill for Klamath County to modernize the Wood River Irrigation District
Pre-proposals should be submitted no later than April 14, 2023, to KlamathBIL@fws.gov.