U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Seeks Project Applications for up to $36 Million in Fish Passage Funding

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking project applications for up to $36 million in fish passage fish passage
Fish passage is the ability of fish or other aquatic species to move freely throughout their life to find food, reproduce, and complete their natural migration cycles. Millions of barriers to fish passage across the country are fragmenting habitat and leading to species declines. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Fish Passage Program is working to reconnect watersheds to benefit both wildlife and people.

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funding. Projects will be part of a five-year, $200 million Bipartisan Infrastructure Law investment to restore aquatic ecosystems, through the National Fish Passage Program.  Selected projects will address outdated, unsafe or obsolete dams, culverts, levees and other barriers fragmenting our nation’s rivers and streams.

Fish passage projects reopen up travel routes for fish and aquatic wildlife.   

When rivers are fragmented by dams, culverts, or other diversions, they can become congested. These aquatic barriers have the same effect as roadblocks on a busy highway. Across the country millions of barriers block transportation networks for fish and other aquatic wildlife.  Fish passage projects help by finding blockages and either removing them or creating a detour that fish can use.    

For decades, the National Fish Passage Program has implemented infrastructure projects with partners to improve the health of the nation’s waterways, reconnect rivers, improve climate resilience and enhance local economies. The program provides financial, technical and planning assistance to Tribes, communities, other agencies, and landowners to help remove barriers and restore rivers for the benefit of fish and people.

Examples of previously funded projects: 

Since 1999, the program has worked with over 2,000 local communities, states, Tribes and private landowners to remove or bypass 3,500 barriers to fish passage and has reopened access to over 64,000 miles of upstream habitat for fish and other animals.  Since 2022, the Service’s National Fish Passage Program provided a $73 million Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) is a once-in-a-generation investment in the nation’s infrastructure and economic competitiveness. We were directly appropriated $455 million over five years in BIL funds for programs related to the President’s America the Beautiful initiative.

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investment to fund 79 projects in 30 states and Puerto Rico.  

Examples of previously funded projects 

Who is eligible to receive funding?

Fish passage project proposals can be initiated by any individual, organization, government, or agency.  Proposals must be submitted and completed in cooperation with a Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office. (Please note that fish passage projects being used for Federal or State compensatory mitigation or required by existing Federal or State regulatory programs are not eligible for funding through the National Fish Passage Program.)

How will Projects Be Selected?

The National Fish Passage Program prioritizes projects that will:  

  • Maximize benefits to priority species and habitats.  
  • Provide sustainable fish passage.  
  • Leverage regional or watershed priorities for habitat restoration, fish passage or aquatic connectivity.  
  • Enhance community resilience to climate change climate change
    Climate change includes both global warming driven by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns. Though there have been previous periods of climatic change, since the mid-20th century humans have had an unprecedented impact on Earth's climate system and caused change on a global scale.

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    , address public safety hazards and provide other benefits such as job creation or recreational fishing opportunities.  
  • Support or engage with disadvantaged communities. 
  • Coordinate on species and watershed priorities with Tribes and states. 
  • Be supported by partners, affected stakeholders, and the local community. 

Additional Resources

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