NOAA ASA Community Restoration Projects
Contact: Stephanie Dorezas

Ten new projects to benefit fish and fishermen from Vermont to Alaska

Grants totaling $150,000 for 10 new restoration projects to improve fish habitat were announced as part of a continuing partnership between the American Sportfishing Association's FishAmerica Foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service.

"We are pleased to be working with ASA to help citizens restore and protect our precious marine resources, " said Andy Kemmerer, Director of Habitat Conservation for the National Marine Fisheries Service. "Partnerships like this one that focus on community-based restoration efforts serve as a framework for developing a sustainable future for the Nation's fisheries through stewardship."

Since the partnership began last October, ASA's FishAmerica Foundation and the NOAA Fisheries' Restoration Center have provided $400,000 to support 28 locally-driven habitat restoration projects. After local contributions and volunteer labor are included, the value of these projects is over $2 million. NOAA Fisheries hopes to expand the assistance given to communities for habitat restoration in FY 2000 if increased funds are made available through the Fisheries Habitat Restoration Initiative in the President's budget.

"By improving fish habitat, we are making a tremendous difference to the sport of fishing in these communities." said Mike Hayden, president and CEO of the American Sportfishing Association (ASA). "The NOAA/ASA approach is simply good government. These projects came for the grassroots up, not from the Washington, D.C. beltway down."

The following list highlights the ten new projects:

Alaska - The Alaska Youth Restoration Corps will receive $12,000 to restore riparian habitat along Little Susitna River to improve in-stream conditions and allow continued angler access.

Alaska - The City of Soldatna will receive $6,700 to restore streambanks, increase safety, protect the area from further erosion, and improve in-stream conditions for King salmon.

California - Trout Unlimited will receive $21,000 to complete modification of the defunct Roys Dam. A gradually descending set of pools will be created to facilitate upstream migration of coho and steelhead.

Oregon - Oregon Department of Wildlife Council will receive $15,100 to remove an irrigation dam constructed in the early 1900s to allow migrating steelhead and other species to access 17 miles of spawning and rearing habitat.

California - Willow Creek Community Service will receive 14,000 to place large woody debris in Willow Creek, where in-stream cover is a significant problem to spawning fish, to provide refugia for coho, chinook and steelhead.

Oregon - Oregon Department of Wildlife will receive $28,000 to integrate watershed restoration and salmon recovery with private landowners in nine key watersheds on the southern Oregon coast.

Idaho - Real Changes Rise Up will receive $15,800 to restore two creeks by stabilizing streambanks and adding vortex weirs to direct channel flow for spring/summer chinook salmon.

Vermont - The White River Watershed at Granville will receive $25,000 to restore riparian habitat and stabilize channelized sections of river that will improve conditions for trout and Atlantic salmon while reducing flooding.

Through a partnership with NOAA Fisheries and the Fish America Foundation the US Forest Service is providing funding for the last four projects listed, which will serve as pilot projects while a more formal partnership is being developed. The Forest Service's National Fisheries Program is charged with protecting, restoring and enhancing fish habitat on National Forest System lands, including over 200,000 miles of streams and more than 2 million acres of lakes, ponds and reservoirs. There are 155 National Forests and 20 National Grasslands spread across 44 states which provide a wide variety of recreational fishing opportunities.

The Community-Based Restoration Program, which jointly determines which projects to fund with Fish America, was started in 1996 to provide a starting point for citizens to address habitat concerns in their own back yards. The program works by providing seed money and technical assistance, which is leveraged at the national and local level to promote significant , locally-driven on-the-ground restoration.

The Fish America Foundation, the conservation arm of the ASA, helps industry and citizens enhance fishery resources. Foundation volunteers have donated more than one million hours of their time for grassroots efforts to improve water quality and fish populations all over North America.