Current and Past Community-based Restoration Projects
Our investment in habitat is part of a long-term effort to rebuild fisheries, many of which have declined due to habitat loss, overfishing, and climate change. Recent successes show that restoring habitat is a way to not only stop the decline of fish populations, but also to regrow them to historically healthy numbers. Below are descriptions of projects funded in Fiscal Years 2016 through 2019.
Pacific Northwest and Alaska
Cathlamet Bay Watershed Connectivity and Tidal Restoration Project
The Columbia River Estuary Study Taskforce (CREST) will be awarded up to $449,608 over two years to complete restoration at two sites located in Cathlamet Bay in the Columbia River Estuary. Restoration will improve the quality of and access to spawning, foraging, and rearing habitat for all Columbia River salmonids listed under the Endangered Species Act, including Chinook salmon, chum salmon, coho salmon, steelhead and sockeye salmon.
Coast Coho Recovery Implementation in Oregon
The Wild Salmon Center was awarded up to $2,321,380 over three years to implement habitat restoration projects across three Oregon coast watersheds: the Upper Rogue, Coos Bay, and Siletz River watersheds. The projects promote the recovery of Southern Oregon/Northern California Coast coho salmon and Oregon Coast coho salmon, both listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
Community-Driven Species Recovery in Puget Sound's Whidbey Basin
The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program will be awarded up to $2,637,564 over three years to advance restoration of up to 2,350 acres of estuary habitat and 37 miles of river habitat in the Whidbey Basin of Puget Sound, Washington. Restoration will aid in the recovery of Chinook and steelhead salmon, both listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
Middle Fork Nooksack River Fish Passage Project
American Rivers will be awarded up to $860,653 over three years to remove the Middle Fork Nooksack Diversion Dam and restore the river channel to aid in the recovery of Chinook salmon, steelhead trout, and coho salmon, as well as the Southern Resident killer whale, a NOAA Species in the Spotlight. Dam removal will increase species resiliency and restore a culturally significant site and improve the safety of water-based recreational users.
Rogue Basin Tributaries Initiative
Rogue Basin Partnership will be awarded up to $583,000 over three years to implement multiple fish passage barrier removal actions across the Rogue Basin in the state of Oregon. Restoring hydrologic function and increasing availability of spawning and rearing habitat will benefit Southern Oregon/Northern California coho salmon, which are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
Salmon SuperHwy Aquatic Organism Passage and Stream Restoration
Trout Unlimited will be awarded up to $1,244,159 over two years to remove six barriers in the Tillamook and Nestucca watersheds of Oregon and restore fish passage to 15.3 miles of habitat. Together with partners, Trout Unlimited will remove the current barriers and replace them with bridges or larger culverts. Restoration will benefit Oregon Coast coho salmon (listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act), Chinook and chum salmon, steelhead and cutthroat trout, and several lamprey species.
Fish Passage Restoration in Alaska
The Tyonek Tribal Conservation District was awarded $600,000 over two years to replace two undersized culverts and re-route one road. The project will restore access to nine upstream miles and 130 lake acres to multiple salmon species, providing benefits to both salmon and Cook Inlet Beluga Whales that rely on salmon as a food source.
Oregon Coast Coho Recovery Plan Implementation
The Wild Salmon Center was awarded $2,702,795 over three years to implement several projects to increase off-channel rearing habitat and improve the quality of in-stream habitat for Endangered Species Act-listed salmon. Restoration will be accomplished by reconnecting floodplain habitats, adding large woody debris, and reducing water temperatures in coastal Oregon rivers. The selected projects will be implemented across three priority watersheds.
Accelerating Recovery across Puget Sound
The Nature Conservancy was awarded $1,733,943 over three years to restore floodplain and estuary habitat in Puget Sound. The Nature Conservancy has worked with partners to plan, develop, and implement on-the-ground projects to restore more than 100 acres of delta, tidal, floodplain, and riparian habitat in two of the most important watersheds within Puget Sound for the recovery of Endangered Species Act-listed salmon.
Illabot Creek Alluvial Fan Restoration
The Skagit River System Cooperative was awarded $491,705 to restore Illabot Creek into its historic channel and allow it to migrate freely through the floodplain. This was accomplished by removing dikes, excavating pilot channels, installing two new bridges, and building log structures to improve habitat conditions. The project provides benefits to Endangered Species Act-listed Chinook and coho salmon and steelhead trout.
Willamette Confluence Floodplain Restoration
The Nature Conservancy was awarded $1,108,380 to restore 330 acres of floodplain habitat at the confluence of two forks of the Willamette River. This project provides benefits to spring Chinook salmon, listed under the Endangered Species Act.
Winter Lake Restoration
The Nature Conservancy was awarded $1,210,000 to restore 407 acres of tidal wetlands and provide fish with access to 1,300 acres of over-winter habitat at a site in the Coquille River Estuary of western Oregon. The project provides benefits to Oregon Coast coho salmon, listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
Pacific Southwest - California and Hawaii
Garcia River Estuary Salmonid Habitat Enhancement Implementation
The Nature Conservancy will be awarded up to $2,862,064 over three years to enhance in-channel and floodplain habitat for coho and other salmonids in the lower Garcia River and estuary. Coho salmon in the Garcia River in northern California are one of twelve independent populations within the Central California Coast coho salmon evolutionarily significant unit, a NOAA Species in the Spotlight.
Kawaihae Watershed Restoration
The Kohala Center was awarded $1,500,000 to reduce land-based sediment runoff in the Kawaihae watershed within the West Hawaii Habitat Focus Area. The project will erect 12 miles of fencing to protect 8,500 acres, remove more than 1,000 feral goats from the landscape, and revegetate a 10-acre riparian corridor with native trees and shrubs. This will restore one of the most degraded watersheds in the region and will improve the health and function of the nearshore coral reef ecosystem.
Lawrence Creek Reconnection of Critical Off-Channel Salmon Habitat
Trout Unlimited was awarded up to $280,156 to design and construct an off-channel floodplain habitat restoration project in Lawrence Creek. Lawrence Creek is a high priority stream for the recovery of Endangered Species Act-listed salmon and steelhead in California. The project will restore approximately five acres and approximately 1,000 feet of off-channel habitat.
Ocean Ranch Restoration Project
Ducks Unlimited was awarded $1,419,424 to restore estuarine and coastal dune habitat in California. The project will restore more than 800 acres of the Eel River estuary habitat to help recover Endangered Species Act-listed steelhead, coho, and Chinook salmon. The project will reestablish a healthy ecosystem, increase resilience to storm events and sea level rise, and provide habitat for juvenile migratory fish to grow before heading out to sea. The project will also enhance populations of 14 managed species.
Lower Prairie Creek Restoration Project
Save the Redwoods League was awarded $603,375 to restore rearing, spawning, and over-winter habitat for three species of Endangered Species Act-listed salmon. The project restore 18 acres of wetland habitat, and will improve habitat complexity, restore floodplain access, and increase food and growth potential for juvenile fish. The Prairie Creek watershed in California contains some of the best potential habitat to contribute to the recovery of steelhead, coho, and Chinook salmon populations within the larger watershed system.
Pescadero Creek Streamflow Improvement Project
The San Mateo County Resource Conservation District was awarded $421,764 to implement irrigation improvements and create an off-stream reservoir in coastal San Mateo County, California. This project provides direct benefits to Endangered Species Act-listed salmon by reducing diversion rates within Pescadero Creek, allowing for enough water flow for salmon to migrate upstream during critical streamflow periods.
Pennington Creek Steelhead Barrier Removal
Trout Unlimited was awarded $239,327 to restore fish passage to two miles of critical spawning and rearing habitat in Pennington Creek within the Morro Bay watershed. The project will benefit South-Central California Coast steelhead trout, which is listed under the Endangered Species Act.
Restoring Coho Salmon along the Lost Coast
Trout Unlimited was awarded $908,909 to improve in-stream habitat and reduce sediment in priority streams in Northern California. Funding supported timberland road decommissioning, fish passage barrier removal, and installation of large wood structures to improve habitat complexity to benefit Central California Coast Coho salmon, a NOAA Species in the Spotlight.
West Hawaii Fishpond Estuary Restoration
The Nature Conservancy was awarded $700,000 to restore seven acres of habitat within the West Hawaii Habitat Focus Area. This project promotes the exchange of knowledge between practitioners engaged in fishpond management. The ecological function of West Hawaii’s nearshore ecosystems has been improved through restoration of traditional fishpond, coastal estuarine, coral reef, and aquatic habitats.
Willow Bend Floodplain Habitat Restoration
River Partners was awarded up to $1,511,237 to restore floodplain habitat and create natural flood patterns at the Willow Bend Preserve along the Sacramento River. The project provides critical rearing habitat for juvenile salmon and steelhead, including Central Valley steelhead, spring-run Chinook, and critically-endangered Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon—a NOAA Species in the Spotlight.
Essential Fish Habitat Restoration in the Piankatank River
The Virginia Marine Resources Commission will be awarded up to $1,669,752 over four years to construct and monitor new oyster reefs in the Piankatank River in Virginia. The work will be conducted in accordance with the Piankatank River Oyster Restoration Tributary Plan. Constructing 30 to 40 acres of oyster reef per year will largely complete the Piankatank River oyster restoration goal. Reefs in this area support 11 species managed under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, including Atlantic butterfish, bluefish, summer flounder, and black sea bass.
Herring River Restoration Project
Friends of Herring River will be awarded up to $1,301,539 over three years to design and permit the Herring River Restoration Project, which will return tidal flow to the Herring River estuary in Massachusetts. The Herring River is the largest estuary on outer Cape Cod, but has been severely impacted by the construction of the Chequessett Neck Road dike in 1908. The natural salt marsh peat substrate has sunk over time and has released sulfuric acid that kills fish and other aquatic life, adding to the problems caused by low summertime dissolved oxygen levels. Restoration of the 1,000-acre wetland will occur over a period of time that allows for gradual rebuilding of the salt marsh.
Jones River, Elm Street Dam Removal at Head of Tide
The Jones River Watershed Association will be awarded up to $250,000 over two years to remove an in-stream migration barrier, the Elm Street Dam, on the Jones River in Kingston, Massachusetts. This project will increase the amount of habitat accessible to diadromous species—such as river herring—through a head-of-tide dam removal in one of the highest priority watersheds in the Northeast. Completion of this project will provide enhanced fish passage through approximately four miles of the Jones River and an additional five miles of tributary stream habitat.
Oyster Production for Tributary-Scale Oyster Habitat Restoration
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources will be awarded up to $2,400,000 over three years to place spat-on-shell on up to 100 acres of oyster reefs in five Maryland tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay: Harris Creek, Little Choptank, Tred Avon, St. Mary’s River, and Manokin River. Spat-on-shell will be produced by the University of Maryland’s Horn Point Hatchery. Increased oyster density is expected to lead to enhanced ecosystem services at the target sites, including water filtration, oyster spawning capacity, and habitat for fish species, including the federally listed shortnose and Atlantic sturgeon.
Temple Stream Habitat Connectivity Project
The Atlantic Salmon Federation will be awarded up to $1,065,551 over three years to improve floodplain connectivity and remove barriers to fish passage in the Kennebec River watershed in Maine. The removal of Walton’s Mill Dam and the replacement of two road-stream crossings will provide access to 52.3 miles of high-quality stream habitat to endangered Atlantic salmon, a NOAA Species in the Spotlight, as well as American eel, blueback herring, brook trout, sea lamprey, and other species. The project will also improve a local park and reduce the costs of structural repair and maintenance for the community.
Town River Restoration Project - High Street Dam Removal & Bridge Replacement
The Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game will be awarded $175,000 to plan for the restoration of Town River by removing the obsolete High Street Dam and replacing the undersized, 200-year-old High Street Bridge. Project partners will develop engineered designs for dam removal and bridge replacement and open 10 miles of habitat for species like river herring and American eel.
Holmes Dam Removal
The Town of Plymouth, Massachusetts was awarded $1,500,000 to remove a 16-foot high, 275-foot-long high-hazard dam and replace a bridge in poor condition within the Town Brook watershed. Dam removal opened access for river herring to spawning habitat, leading to a predicted increase in the fish run to a new total of 500,000 individuals. The removal also protects surrounding infrastructure and reduces flood vulnerability during extreme weather events by increasing floodplain storage volume and adds to more than 20 years of restoration in Town Brook.
Monatiquot River Restoration Project
The Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game was awarded $100,000 to complete engineering and design for the removal of the Armstrong and Ames Pond Dams on the Monatiquot River. Removal of these dams will restore access to 36 miles of river corridor for river herring and American eel. When implemented, the projects will also eliminate risk of structural failure and potential damage to surrounding infrastructure.
Restoring Passage for Alewife and Atlantic Salmon in the Upper Narraguagus River Watershed
Project SHARE was awarded $154,000 to replace six culverts in the upper Narraguagus River watershed in coastal Maine. Restoring access to cold-water tributaries is a top priority for recovery of Endangered Species Act-listed Atlantic salmon, a NOAA Species in the Spotlight. This project restores fish passage to approximately 18 stream miles and improves access to nearly 300 acres of important spawning and rearing habitat for Atlantic salmon, alewife, and American eel.
Barstow’s Pond Dam Removal
The Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game was awarded $101,000 to remove the Barstow’s Pond Dam, located within the Taunton River watershed, which supports one of the largest populations of river herring in New England. The project provides benefits to river herring by opening access to eight miles of riverine habitat. Removal of the dam eliminated a public safety hazard, as classified by the Massachusetts Office of Dam Safety.
Bloede Dam Removal
American Rivers was awarded $2,355,768 to restore migratory fish species habitat in the Patapsco River by removing the Bloede Dam. This 34-foot-high dam was a documented safety hazard in Patapsco Valley State Park. The project provides benefits to river herring and other migratory species.
Coonamessett River Restoration
The Town of Falmouth was awarded $1,150,000 to remove two dams associated with former commercial cranberry operations and to replace an undersized culvert with a larger arch structure. The former cranberry bog sites were restored to native riparian and floodplain habitat. The barrier removals restored fish passage to more than two stream miles and the 158-acre Coonamessett Pond, providing spawning habitat for river herring.
Herring River Restoration Project
Friends of Herring River was awarded $1,685,034 to provide funds and technical assistance to design and permit the Herring River Restoration Project. When constructed, the project will slowly return tidal flow to the Herring River to allow for gradual rebuilding of the salt marsh. The marsh has subsided and become degraded since the Chequessett Neck Road dike was built in 1909.
Sheepscot River Barrier Removal
The Atlantic Salmon Federation was awarded $543,700 to remove the 15-foot high Coopers Mills Dam. The project significantly improves fish passage for Endangered Species Act-listed Atlantic salmon, and enhances habitat for other migratory fish such as river herring, within the Sheepscot River in Maine.
Tack Factory Dam Removal
The North and South Rivers Watershed Association was awarded $98,000 to remove the Tack Factory Dam located on Third Herring Brook. The project provides benefits to river herring by reconnecting eight miles of spawning and juvenile rearing habitat and restoring natural sediment and nutrient transport.
Southeast and Caribbean
Better Gut Fauna - Opening Diadromous Fish Habitat on the Roanoke River
The Nature Conservancy will be awarded up to $302,009 over two years to improve floodplain connectivity and remove barriers to fish passage on the Roanoke River in North Carolina. Secondary benefits will include reduction of flooding to local communities and enhancement of water quality. This project will improve habitat quality for shortnose sturgeon, Atlantic sturgeon, and river herring.
Community-based Living Shoreline Creation in the Urbanized Watershed of Charleston County
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources will be awarded up to $560,226 over three years to create 13 living shorelines that will address habitat loss and erosion in Charleston County. The projects will engage a diverse community of stakeholders to create three acres of oyster reefs and salt marsh along 3,800 linear feet of shoreline. Restored habitat will benefit species such as red drum, summer flounder, and white shrimp.
Culebra Island Restoration of Coral Reef Critical Habitat
Protectores de Cuencas (PDC) will be awarded up to $436,015 over three years to build on ongoing efforts in Culebra, Puerto Rico—a NOAA Habitat Focus Area—to address high sediment loads in the marine environment resulting from unstabilized dirt roads. Approximately 6 to 7 additional miles of dirt roads will be stabilized to address runoff from bare soil areas, specifically in Puerto del Manglar, Larga, and San Isidro sub-watersheds.
Daylighting Phase McCoys Creek Habitat Restoration
Groundwork Jacksonville, Inc. will be awarded up to $357,280 over one year to complete permitting and design plans to enhance fish passage in McCoys Creek, a tributary of the St. Johns River in Florida. The project will remove an 850-foot culvert and daylight the stream, creating 4,000 feet of open channel, 11 acres of tidal marsh, and 5.5 acres of open water habitat to provide ecological, recreational, and flood mitigation benefits to the Jacksonville urban landscape.
Implementing the Florida Keys Coral Disease Response & Restoration Initiative
Mote Marine Lab will be awarded up to $2,800,000 over three years to restore degraded coral reef habitat and promote the recovery of threatened and endangered coral species. The project will grow 10,000 corals across five different species each year, and outplant 30,000 corals by securing them to the reef using best management practices for coral restoration. Mote will target resilient genotypes in order to further adaptation of the Florida Keys coral reefs to the dynamic, changing conditions related to weather and disease outbreaks.
Large-scale Restoration of ESA Threatened Coral Species in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
The Coral Restoration Foundation will be awarded up to $2,575,016 over three years to implement coral reef restoration by outplanting 84,255 nursery-grown corals for the purpose of restoring degraded coral reef habitat and promote recovery of Endangered Species Act-listed coral species. The project will outplant 75,255 corals across three reefs: Carysfort, Pickles, and Sombrero. An additional 9,000 corals will be outplanted using novel techniques to Horseshoe, Cheeca Rocks, Newfound Harbor, and Eastern Dry Rocks.
Culebra Island Restoration of Coral Reef Critical Habitat
Protectores de Cuenca was awarded $385,689 to support seven high-priority projects within the Culebra watershed in Puerto Rico. All these projects were listed under the Culebra Watershed Management Plan and the Implementation Framework for NOAA’s Habitat Blueprint Focus Area in the Caribbean. These efforts reduce land-based sources of pollution, which provides benefits to coastal and coral reef habitats.
Pamlico Sound Oyster Restoration
The North Carolina Coastal Federation was awarded $3,313,000 to construct 45 acres of oyster reef sanctuary. This project advances the state’s goal to create a network of sanctuaries within Pamlico Sound over the next ten years. The project locations are designated as Essential Fish Habitat for at least 26 species of fish, providing highly-productive habitat that benefits commercially and recreationally important species.
Restoration of Endangered Species Act Threatened Coral Species in Florida
The Coral Restoration Foundation was awarded $2,055,200 to plant more than 50,000 corals on eight reefs across the Florida Reef Tract. The reefs will be planted with two species of coral listed under the Endangered Species Act. The project will also develop the capacity to grow and transplant three additional threatened species, potentially benefiting a total of five threatened coral species in south Florida and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.