Midwest Region


August 25, 2009

Ashley Spratt

Fish Habitat in Driftless Area Benefits from $1.2 Million in Funding

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced more than $300,000 will support fish habitat projects in the Driftless Area of Wisconsin and Iowa. An additional $899,589 in partner contributions, over $1.2 million in total, will go toward restoring and enhancing aquatic stream habitat and improve recreational fishing.
Funding is provided for priority projects identified through the Driftless Area Restoration Effort (DARE) Fish Habitat Partnership established under the National Fish Habitat Action Plan (NFHAP). The Driftless Area Restoration Effort (DARE) partnership formed to address habitat degradation, loss, and alteration that are the primary factors contributing to the decline of fish populations in this unique region.
The Driftless Area is a 24,000 square-mile area that encompasses portions of southeast Minnesota, northeast Iowa, southwest Wisconsin and northwest Illinois bypassed by the last continental glacier. The region has a high concentration of spring-fed coldwater streams and is recognized for its high diversity of plants, animals, and habitats.
In the Driftless Area, poor land and water management practices including intensive row crops, fertilizer use, channelization, water withdrawals, loss of perennial vegetation, and invasive species have caused excessive streambank erosion, sedimentation, and poor water quality.
“Despite the dedicated efforts of natural resource managers, the nation’s fish and aquatic resources face real challenges and habitat conservation is a key element of supporting fish populations and sustainable fisheries. Through the efforts of NFHAP and its partners to conserve fish habitats throughout the U.S, we can make a difference, said Sam Hamilton, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
In addition to helping stem these declines, NFHAP projects also enhance fishing opportunities for the public by putting more dollars on the ground for fish conservation.
DARE Projects to be funded include:

Richmond Springs Fish Passage Improvement Project, IA - $57,143 in Service funds and $233,000 in partner funds to remove or bypass barriers to fish passage and reopen 16 stream miles

Elk Creek Bank Stabilization and Fish Habitat Improvement Project, WI – $25,714 in Service funds and $88,020 in partner funds to stabilize eroding banks and improve in-stream habitat for brook trout and non-game fish species

Vermont Creek Multiple Culvert Replacement and Habitat Improvement Project, WI - $46,429 in Service funds and $201,810 in partner funds to remove barriers to fish passage and reopen 3 stream miles

Smith Conley Creek Stream Improvement Project, WI - $57,143 in Service funds and $40,000 in partner funds to restore and enhance in-stream and riparian habitat 

Multiple Culvert Replacements on the West Fork Halls Creek, WI
-$57,143 in Service funds and $75,000 in partner funds to remove or bypass barriers to fish passage and reopen 5.5 stream miles

Williams-Barneveld Creek Stream Corridor Improvement Project, WI - $28,571 in Service funds and $26,000 in partner funds to restore or enhance in-stream and riparian habitat

North Branch of Hefty Creek Restoration Project, WI - $14,286 in Service funds and $225,759 to restore or enhance in-stream, riparian and wetland habitat
Funding for these and other projects is part of more than $7.4 million in partner and federal contributions to support 52 fish habitat projects in 26 states across the nation. For a complete listing of funded projects, please visit:
NFHAP is a national investment strategy to maximize the impact of conservation dollars on the ground. Under the plan, federal, state and privately-raised funds are the foundation for building regional partnerships that address the Nation’s biggest fish habitat issues. This comprehensive effort will treat the causes of fish habitat decline, not just the symptoms.
By 2010, through NFHAP, the Service and its partners will:
Assess the condition of fish habitats in the U.S.

Prepare a Status of Fish Habitats in the U.S. report.

Establish 12 or more Fish Habitat Partnerships in priority areas.

Fund projects to protect, restore and enhance priority habitats.

For more information about the National Fish Habitat Action Plan, its partnerships and programs please visit:


The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit

Connect with our Facebook page at, follow our tweets at, watch our YouTube Channel at and download photos from our Flickr page at

Last updated: June 15, 2016