The National Fish Passage Program
Hosted within the Fisheries program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service since 1999, the National Fish Passage Program (NFPP) is a voluntary, non-regulatory initiative that provides funding and technical assistance to reconnect the aquatic habitat by removing or bypassing barriers.
Creating Aquatic Possibilities
National Fish Passage programs benefits the local communities in three ways. First, it provides ecological and recreational benefits such as: increases river connectivity creating healthier aquatic habitat for fish and wildlife, improves water quality and quantity, improves sediment management, restores and protects aquatic and riparian habitat and It provides a solution to continued decline of freshwater species in the face of climate and other ecological uncertainties.
National Fish Passage Program project funding benefits the economy of local communities at the same time as enhancing the vitality of our critical and unique aquatic resources. More than 70% of the NFPP’s total funding goes directly to on-the-ground project implementation. In 13 years NFPP has created an economic value of more than $11 billion to local economies based on study by USFWS 2010.
Third is the program increase community resiliency. NFPP Benefits local communities faced with the expense of maintaining obsolete dams removes the threat of unsafe-killer dams and culverts and help withstand catastrophic events such as flood due to not properly designed culverts. Culverts survive the 100 to 500-year flood event if fish-friendly sizing and positioning put in place and reduces the local communities’ loss to important road infrastructure at stream crossings from flooding.
Fish Passage Program harness partners and enhances flood resiliency for the communities
Working with over 750 partners, NFPP has harnessed the resources of partners and communities. The White River Partnership’s Greg Russ is awarded as partner of the year in 2012. The Partnership launched a rapid response to devastation following Tropical Storm Irene in 2011 in the upper White river watershed. Their subsequent events for fish-friendly culverts helped spur a national discussion on road crossing standards.
Fish-friendly culverts have water depths, velocities, and channel characteristics that mimic the nature. Culverts that don’t pass fish oftentimes don’t pass floods either. Installing fish-friendly road-stream crossing structures can help sustain healthy fish populations, improve public safety, and-improve stream flows no matter what the weather.
Fish Passage Program sustains American outdoor recreation
Removing barriers allows kayaker to run the rivers, more anglers to enjoy the fish flowing freely along the river, and increase wildlife watch opportunity from high quality of habitat. Good environmental amenities increase quality of life for the people.
Water has been diverted to meet agricultural, industrial and municipal needs since hundreds of years ago. Fish usually present and killed during the diversion. NFPP is working to develop and implement effective fish and debris screening technology and implement practices to protect fish, aquatic habitat and the ability of Americans to continue to efficiently. The resulting irrigation system will make water savings possible as well as greatly enhance the labor cost saving.
What NFPP has achieved?
Since the program launched in 1999, NFPP has been able to removed 1,345 fish passage barriers, Reopened access to 20,229 stream miles , Reconnected 155,454 acres of wetlands, Benefited over 90 species of fish, $79 million invested in projects engineering and administration, 70% of the funds applied on-the-ground , 3:1 ratio of non-federal match to NFPP, have supported 219,195 jobs. Based on that, NFPP has generated approximately $11 billion in economic value to local communities from its projects (based on USFWS economic study in 2010).