Fish and Aquatic Conservation

Water Diversions

Water Diversion

Stream diversions can take more than water: fish can be removed from their habitat.
Designs that Weather the Storm. Fish-friendly culverts with streams that mimic nature do best. 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.

Road wash out

Culvert wash out

Since the program launched in 1999, the NFPP has removed 1,530 fish passage barriers; reopened 21,406 river miles; 166,751 wetland acres reconnected and benefited over 90 species of fish. With a 3:1 ratio of non-federal match to federal NFPP dollars, it has 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).
Even the smallest road culvert poorly designed may bar fish passage.

Colter Creek culvert

Dam Removal
Removing obsolete dams involves intensive planning and yields huge human safety and environmental benefits.

Octoraro Dam Removal

Octoraro Dam Removal

Outdoor family recreation

Sustaining Outdoor Recreation

Removing barriers allows kayaker to run the rivers. Anglers enjoy the fish swimming freely. There’s more wildlife to see from high quality habitat. They all increase the quality of life. Fish Passage Program helps Farmers. Irrigation diversions take fish, too. It kills them. The NFPP develops effective fish and debris screening technology and implements practices to protect fish. That can mean less labor costs to agricultural producers.
Geospatial Fisheries Information Network is the intersection of fish biology, engineering and planning.

GeoFIN screenshot

Fish need water: that’s a given. But habitat is more than water alone. Stream-dwelling fishes need connected habitats. Waters fragmented by large dams or small, poorly placed road culverts keep fish from accessing habitat. Fish need certain waters at particular times of the year, times of day, or times of their lives, so as to live out their lives as accustomed by nature.

Not all fish migrations are as storied as iconic Pacific salmon leaping into cascading falls, moving hundreds of miles to spawn and die. Diminutive darters, sunfishes or minnows in Midwest streams may need to migrate mere feet to find refuge through a warm low-water period. Trout in the West may need to find deep water to over-winter, or a place to spawn in the spring.

No matter the reason or the season of need, the National Fish Passage Program, a voluntary, non-regulatory initiative in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provides funding and technical assistance to reconnect aquatic habitats.



Migration Station

Migration Video

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2012 NFPP report (2012)

2011 NFPP report (2011)

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Frequently Asked Questions


Contacts in Your Area



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Last updated: February 26, 2018