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NOAA News Releases 2003
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Entering the final year of a three-year partnership, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) today awarded American Rivers with $600,288 to distribute for river restoration projects in the Northeast, mid-Atlantic and California. NOAA, an agency of the Commerce Department, and American Rivers will jointly evaluate proposals and disperse this money as grants to implement fish passage, selective dam removal, and other associated habitat restoration projects that benefit anadromous and marine resources.

“We are constantly working to strengthen local and regional initiatives, such as habitat restoration and coordinate our efforts with the private sector,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator. “Working with accomplished organizations like American Rivers allows us to expand our efforts and prioritize restoration actions to make the best use of NOAA's financial and technical resources.”

Several dam removal projects have also been provided seed money to encourage the completion of the river restoration while leveraging federal dollars by almost two to one. Participation in the program is open to all organizations and individuals that are interested in performing dam removals and fish passage projects. Applications for the next funding cycle are due in early November 2003.

“Our partnership with NOAA has been a key component of our strategy for helping communities access the funding and expertise they need to get restoration projects moving on their hometown rivers,” said Rebecca R. Wodder, president of American Rivers.

American Rivers is a national non-profit conservation organization dedicated to protecting and restoring healthy natural rivers and the variety of life they sustain. In the first two years of this cooperative agreement, American Rivers and the NOAA Community-based Restoration Program dispersed over $730,000 among 29 projects. Many of the projects funded to date have been innovative, such as the design and construction of the nature-like bypass channels around dams on the Conodoguinet Creek in Pennsylvania and Iron Stream in Connecticut.

The Community-based Restoration Program (CRP), a financial and technical assistance program within the NOAA Fisheries Office of Habitat Conservation, promotes strong partnerships at the national, regional and local level to fund grassroots, community-based activities. The NOAA-funded projects provide strong on-the-ground habitat restoration components that offer educational and social benefits for people and their communities in addition to long-term ecological benefits for fishery resources. More information about the CRP can be found at

In fiscal year 2003, NOAA has awarded more than 475 grants totaling more than $204 million to members of the academic, scientific and business communities to assist the agency in fulfilling its mission to study the Earth’s natural systems in order to predict environmental change, manage ocean resources, protect life and property, and provide decision makers with reliable scientific information. NOAA goals and programs reflect a commitment to these basic responsibilities of science and service to the nation for the past 33 years.

The Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources. To learn more about NOAA, please visit

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NOAA Administrator Conrad C. Lautenbacher:

National Marine Fisheries Service:

NOAA Community-based Restoration Program:

NOAA Fisheries Office of Habitat Conservation: