Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today renewed their pledge to fight for more resources to restore Northwest fisheries, in a letter to Oregon fishers and irrigators.
Their legislation, the Fisheries Restoration and Irrigation Mitigation Act (FRIMA), was passed into law at the end of December as part of a larger water infrastructure funding bill. However, the funding included for fishery restoration through FRIMA was cut from $25 million per year for 7 years to $3.75 million per year for 4 years.
“The program has a history of demonstrated success, and the lack of funding for FRIMA since 2009 has hampered the implementation of projects that simultaneously benefit farmers and fish,” the senators wrote today (letter attached). “In the coming months, we will work to ensure that FRIMA receives the funding necessary to support vital fish screen and passage projects in Oregon and throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Wyden and Merkley introduced the bill last spring, and Wyden has led the effort to authorize the program since its inception in 2000. Since 2000, FRIMA has provided the funding to reopen over 1,130 miles of fish passage habitat, screen over 130 irrigation channels and complete 18 fish passage evaluations in the Pacific Northwest.