On March 7, The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced the award of $22.5 million to 19 projects to support restoring critical habitat for salmon, climate resiliency, wildlife corridors, and wetlands restoration.
“This initial round of awards represents a commitment to hit the ground running to support restoration and protection of our species, and I look forward to more announcements like this in the very near future,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham in a press release. “We must stand up as many new projects in a short period of time to make this critical habitat more resilient to the ever-changing climate.”
CDFW has awarded over $8.2 million to eight watershed projects statewide to address drought impacts for salmon in rivers and streams important to their lifecycle. Some projects will restore riparian habitats and fix unscreened water diversions. The Yurok Tribe will lead the largest project awarded under this round within the Oregon Gulch section of the Upper Trinity River, where remnants of hydraulic mining have narrowed the river and led to a loss of salmon-rearing habitat. This project will re-establish the natural flow of the river as well as a functioning floodplain to greatly improve the habitat for salmon across various life stages.
Addressing Climate Impacts
Approximately $6.6 million was awarded to seven new projects to address urgent degrading water and habitat conditions due to climate change impacts. These projects include a focus on winter-run Chinook, improving the diversity of hatchery winter-run, as well as juvenile salmon collection system evaluation for re-introducing this species in the McCloud River above the Shasta Dam. Other projects will restore hydrologic function to floodplain habitat in the Sierra Nevada and monitor drought conditions for Chinook and coho salmon in the Scott River in Siskiyou County.
Wildlife Corridor – Fish Passage
Wildlife corridors are essential to providing fish and wildlife room to roam or, in this case, swim. CDFW awarded more than $6.5 million to three fish passage projects that will modify bridges and remove other barriers to fish passage in northern and central California.
Beavers, or Something Like Them
Approximately $1.2 million was awarded to the Regents of UC Davis to work toward incorporating beaver dam analogs in the restoration of wetlands and mountain meadows.
These projects will soon commence work. These awards are part of a new effort to support critical restoration statewide with $200 million in new funding for multi-benefit ecosystem restoration and protection projects under Drought, Climate, and Nature Based Solutions Initiatives.
CDFW will announce additional awards throughout March, emphasizing a strategic approach to rebuild salmon and other species by removing barriers to migration, improving water management and quality, restoring core salmon strongholds, taking substantial steps to modernize older infrastructure for salmon-friendly results, and other actions.