NOAA Fisheries is recommending more than $95 million in funding for 19 new and continuing programs and projects to support West Coast salmon and steelhead populations.

Established by Congress in 2000, the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund (PCSRF) aims to reverse the declines of Pacific salmon and steelhead, supporting conservation efforts in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska. According to NOAA Fisheries, the program is essential to preventing the extinction of the 28 listed salmon and steelhead species on the West Coast. In many cases, it has stabilized the populations and contributed to their recovery course.

This is important because Pacific salmon and steelhead are much more than essential elements of a healthy Pacific Coast ecosystem. They are cultural icons woven into the fabric of local communities and economies. Salmon runs tie the region's people to the landscape, but pressures from a changing environment and human activities have compromised the strength of these runs.

Salmon restoration benefits fish populations and their habitats. The value of these investments goes far beyond recovering threatened and endangered species. The financial investments in habitat restoration contribute to local communities and their economies. With PCSRF funding and the jobs that it creates, states and tribes have undertaken thousands of projects. According to NOAA Fisheries, who administers PCSRF's competitive grants process, this has resulted in significant changes in salmon habitat conditions and availability.

More than 15,000 salmon recovery projects

The Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund is a competitive grant program that distributes funds to states and tribes. Eligible projects include:

  • All phases of habitat restoration and protection activities that contribute to recovering Pacific salmon listed under the Endangered Species Act
  • Projects that support Pacific salmon and steelhead species important to tribal treaty and trust fishing rights and native subsistence fishing.

Since the program’s inception in 2000, it has provided more than $1.6 billion to implement more than 15,000 salmon recovery projects. The program’s partners have protected, restored, and created nearly 1.2 million acres of salmon habitat and have opened 11,000 stream miles to salmon and steelhead.

Eligible applicants include:

  • State of Alaska
  • State of Washington
  • State of Oregon
  • State of Idaho
  • State of Nevada
  • State of California
  • Federally recognized tribes of the Columbia River and Pacific Coast (including Alaska), or their representative tribal commissions and consortia

NOAA fisheries notes that “the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund has catalyzed the development of a vibrant community of salmon restoration experts. It has fostered indispensable partnerships among landowners, local governments, and state, tribal, and federal agencies. PCSRF restoration efforts have a collaborative nature and strong scientific foundation. This ensures that funds effectively and efficiently benefit salmon populations and their habitats.

Read more about the recipients, funding amount received, and recommended projects following the link to the NOAA Fisheries announcement. To know more about the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund, follow the link to a map offering an introduction to the project.

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

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