Thursday, April 27, 2023

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced today that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is awarding Oregon a total of $2,039,061 from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to support fish passage projects in Benton, Crook, Douglas, and Lane Counties. This funding will go to support removing barriers to Oregon rivers and streams. 

“Fish and wildlife play an integral part in keeping our ecosystems healthy, and the health of our communities goes hand-in-hand with the health of fish habitats and infrastructure conditions,” said Senator Merkley, Chairman of the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee that provided funding for this program. “These projects funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help to reconnect fish habitats, supporting conservation of species and safer, more climate resilient infrastructure. I will continue to fight for more federal investment to support habitat restoration and fish passage projects across Oregon.”  

“Oregonians’ ongoing enjoyment of our state’s natural treasures requires a reliable and robust federal commitment to protect fish and their habitat in streams and rivers,” Wyden said. “I’m glad the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that I was proud to support includes these key investments in fish passage. And I’ll keep battling for similar resources that accomplish these same infrastructure goals so essential to conservation statewide and to Oregon’s world-class recreation economy.”

This funding is part of a USFWS $35 million investment for 39 fish passage projects in 22 states, and is the second round of fish passage projects funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. These projects will address outdated or obsolete dams, culverts, levees, and other barriers fragmenting our nation’s rivers and streams. These investments will not only help protect fish and wildlife, but will also lower the risk of flooding in our communities. 

The information for awards in Oregon can be found here: 

  • $740,000 for the Low-Head Dam Removal on Long Tom River: This project will remove a low-head dam and restore passage and habitat for threatened Upper Willamette River Chinook salmon, Pacific lamprey, and coastal cutthroat trout. This project will increase habitat diversity, restore food web connections, and keep the fish cooler in the summer months, while also improving water quality in a drinking water source for the nearby community. 
  • $699,061 for Perkins Creek Culvert Replacement: This project will replace six culverts on Perkins Creek in Oregon, reconnecting 3.5 miles of quality spawning and rearing habitat for cutthroat trout, Pacific lamprey, and threatened Chinook salmon. The existing culverts are also prone to flooding, so this project will also increase resilience for a small, underserved, rural community by providing citizens along Perkins Creek with consistent and safe access to their homes. 
  • $400,000 for Ochoco Preserve Restoration – Phase 2: This project will reconstruct a channel in the Ochoco Preserve along the western urban growth boundary of Prineville, Oregon, which will improve habitat for salmon and steelhead while providing public access for fishing and recreation. The restored channel will also mitigate climate impacts to the surrounding community such as flooding and water temperature. 
  • $200,000 for the Salamander Parcel Floodplain Reconnection: This project will remove old road and dike infrastructure and reconnect two miles of Fivemile Creek in Oregon to provide juvenile fish access for rearing and foraging habitat. This project will benefit threatened fish, aquatic wildlife, and a host of native plants and invertebrates, and increase climate resiliency and improve productivity of fisheries significant to the Confederated Tribe of the Siletz Indians.