Building on months of close collaboration and engagement with Klamath Basin stakeholders, tribal and federal, state and local leaders, the Department of the Interior announced today that nearly $26 million of President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill has been allocated for Klamath Basin rehabilitation projects. , including nearly $16 million for ecosystem restoration projects in the basin and $10 million to expand the Klamath Falls National Fish Hatchery.
In addition, the Bureau of Reclamation, in partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, will fund 10 grants totaling $2.2 million to improve fish and wildlife habitats as part of two programs: the Klamath River Coho Restoration Grant Program and the Trinity River Restoration Program. The grants will generate $777,000 in matching contributions for a total conservation impact of nearly $3 million.
“Over the years I have organized forums, briefings and hearings to highlight the significant toll that climate change-induced drought and poor management have taken on the Klamath Basin and to develop policy solutions to improve conditions. It is a satisfying victory to see this funding to revive an ecosystem that is on the brink of collapse,” said Representative Huffman. “These funds will be used to prepare the Klamath River for one of our best opportunities to restore the basin: the removal of dams. By ensuring the river is ready for recovery once the dams come out, we can ensure that the project will be as effective as possible. I am pleased to see DOI recognize the incredible stewardship of the tribes in my congressional district and the hard work of many state and local agencies committed to reviving the river.”
“Clean water, healthy forests and fertile soil made the Klamath Basin and surrounding watershed home to tribal communities, productive agriculture and abundant populations of migratory birds, suckers, salmon and other fish. But the recent water scarcity has had a huge impact on the fisheries, agriculture and ecosystems of the area,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “With millions of dollars being invested in water and habitat resilience through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, help is on the way to restore this once-abundant ecosystem for the benefit of all of its inhabitants, people or others.”
Over the past 20 years, the Klamath Basin has faced unprecedented challenges due to persistent drought, limited water supply and diverse needs. As drought continues across the region, the fragile ecosystem of the Klamath Basin will depend on collaborations between a wide range of stakeholders and the development of holistic solutions.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is making a $1.4 billion down payment for the conservation and management of U.S. public lands, which will lead to better outdoor spaces and habitats for people and wildlife for generations to come, extending the Klamath Basin over the next five will receive $162 million in years to restore the regional ecosystem and restore local economies. The funding announced today represents a historic effort for the recovery of the basin.
Rep. Huffman has been an active partner in efforts to remove the Klamath River dams and restore the Klamath River watershed. Earlier this year, Rep. Huffman joined the Department of the Interior for a meeting session with tribes, state and land officials, partners from various agencies and water users to discuss short- and long-term solutions related to the effects of drought in the basin. He also accompanied Commissioner Touton on a visit to the Klamath River earlier this month, where she was able to see up close how important the Klamath River is to indigenous communities.
After signing in July 2020 that PacifiCorp could withdraw its commitment to dam removal, Rep. Huffman launched a public forum to investigate the horrific effects the dams have had on the quality of salmon and downstream waters. In September of that year, he successfully proposed an amendment to the Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act, which was passed by the House, to protect tribal communities from further damage to the Klamath River and its ecosystem caused by PacifiCorp’s delays. .
US Fish and Wildlife Service Investments in Ecosystem Recovery
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began soliciting project proposals for fiscal year 2022 funding from Tribes, local and state agencies, non-governmental organizations, and other conservation partners in March. The nearly $16 million will be allocated to projects that focus on water quality and habitat restoration, supporting endangered species of fish listed as endangered species, preserving critical wetlands for migratory waterfowl and related issues with natural resources.
The $10 million investment in the Klamath Falls National Fish Hatchery expansion will increase breeding capacity for two federally listed fish — the Lost River and shortnose suckers (C’waam and Koptu) — found only in the Klamath Basin, and support for restored and resilient ecosystems in the face of climate change. When complete, the hatchery expansion will increase the annual breeding capacity to 60,000 fish, which could support and stabilize the endangered, declining wild populations of both sucker species in Upper Klamath Lake.
These investments represent the first phase of improved restoration work in the Klamath Basin. Planning for 2023 and future years includes ongoing close coordination with tribes, localities and stakeholders, starting with a workshop this fall to refine the design of Klamath Basin Integrated Fisheries Restoration and Monitoring Plan. This science-based, collaborative effort will help build consensus on the prioritization of restoration and monitoring projects and provide additional assurance that available funding is spent wisely.
More information about the Klamath Bipartisan Infrastructure Law projects can be found on the Fish and Wildlife Service website.
Bureau of Reclamation and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Grantmaking
The 10 grants, funded through the Klamath River Coho Restoration Grant Program and the Trinity River Restoration Program, prioritized projects that remove barriers to fish passage, improve access to cold-water refugia, improve inflow habitat, conserve water and reduce fine sediment. All projects will work to improve the survival and recovery of the coho salmon of the southern Oregon/Northern California coast, and will also support long-term conservation goals for the connectivity and resilience of watersheds in the Klamath River basin , from the headwaters in Oregon to the Pacific coast in California.
More information about the Klamath and Trinity River programs can be found on the NFWF website.