The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced $20.4 million in awards to 15 projects to improve salmon habitat and support climate resiliency, wildlife corridors, and wetlands restoration.

The agency said that this is the third round of grant awards made in 2023 with funding made available last year under Drought, Climate and Nature-Based Solutions Initiatives, bringing the total grant funding awarded to nearly $80 million.

“As climate driven challenges to California’s biodiversity continue to grow and shift, our own strategies for new projects must adapt,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “Saving salmon and rebuilding their populations for Californians is the goal, and we are meeting these challenges head on.”

CDFW has developed a single set of General Grant Program Guidelines to get restoration completed faster. CDFW continues to accept applications for new projects and make awards on an ongoing basis. An overview of eligible project types, priorities, and information is available at

Although the grant awards are to be used in different wildlife projects protecting species and habitats statewide, salmon and fish protection represent many of the projects awarded. Projects awarded with Drought for Salmon Protection and Wildlife Corridors funds will support planning and implementation of projects to enhance habitat for salmon through removing barriers to fish passage, restoring flows, and providing critical habitat for juvenile rearing salmonids.

Throughout central and northern California, Wetlands and Mountain Meadows funds will support projects to restore and enhance floodplains, wetlands, and mountain meadows to benefit fish and wildlife species and their habitat. Work will include enhancing waterfowl habitat on Battle Creek in Shasta County.  This project description has a goal: to redesign, exempt, and implement a Project to enhance waterfowl habitat while delivering floodplain-derived food resources to juvenile salmonids in lower Battle Creek to support the establishment of second winter-run Chinook salmon population and enhance the abundance of all four runs of Sacramento Valley chinook salmon.

Project efficiencies saved an estimated $100,000

Another project, the Red Bank Habitat Project, proposes to implement off-channel fisheries and riparian habitat enhancement on the Red Bank river bar on the North Fork Salmon River. Project components include increasing habitat complexity in river bar side channels, creating high-flow backwaters and alcoves, and revegetating the riverbar, which will create high-quality winter-rearing habitat and cold-water summer refugia for coho and spring Chinook salmon and other anadromous salmonids.

These projects and many others can be viewed online following the link to the page CDFW Restoration Grant Awards May 2023.

In the past 90 days, CDFW has awarded a total of just under $80 million to 53 projects statewide from the $200 million in new initiatives made available this year. CDFW has streamlined the processes for applying for funding, reviewing and finalizing awards, and getting agreements in place so projects can start without delays. Projects awarded in March and April of 2023 have agreements in place and are currently starting work.

CDFW’s Cutting the Green Tape Program has streamlined the grant process and continues to improve permitting and environmental review of restoration projects statewide.

The First Slough Fish Passage, Floodplain Restoration, and Coastal Habitat Connectivity Project, awarded grant funds in this round, is moving forward with implementation with the support of a recent concurrence through CDFW’s Statutory Exemption for Restoration Projects process.

The Bull Creek Hamilton Floodplain Restoration Project, also awarded funding in this round, recently worked with the Cutting the Green Tape program to secure a streamlined Restoration Management Permit. These two project efficiencies alone have saved an estimated $100,000 and countless hours which can now be diverted to more restoration.

The pace and scale of CDFW grant funding has also been led by sister agencies including the Wildlife Conservation Board, who in the first two months of 2023 awarded just under $70 million in block grants and another $59 million to individual projects for the enhancement and protection of California biodiversity.

More information about these funding opportunities, including guidelines and how to apply, general information about CDFW’s grant programs, as well as a schedule for upcoming grant solicitations, once available, can be found at

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Jose Antunes is a freelance journalist who writes about technology, software, photography and video.

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