Jacob Fischler

(Oregon Capital Chronicle) The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is recommending sending $106 million to 16 salmon and steelhead recovery efforts in five Western states, the federal agency said Thursday.

NOAA and the Department of Commerce recommended grants to state agencies with salmon protection missions, tribes and tribal partnerships in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and California.

The funding “provides an important opportunity to bolster salmon and steelhead recovery and invest in the communities that rely on them,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a statement.

NOAA is an agency within the Commerce Department. The recommendations must be approved by the NOAA Grants Management Division and Department of Commerce Financial Assistance Law Division before they are considered final.

The grant recommendations received a funding boost this year from the bipartisan infrastructure law enacted in 2021, which provided $34.4 million, and Democrats’ climate, social policy and tax law that President Joe Biden signed one year ago Wednesday, which provided an additional $7.5 million.

The remaining $64 million comes from annual congressional appropriations to the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund, a NOAA Fisheries program, according to NOAA spokesman Matthew Burks.

The largest allocations are recommended for state-level agencies, offices and boards. They are:

  • $25.5 million for Washington state’s Salmon Recovery Funding Board,
  • $20.2 million for the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board,
  • $18.6 million for California’s Fisheries Restoration Grant Program,
  • $9 million for the Idaho Governor’s Office of Species Conservation,
  • And $6.8 million for the Alaska Sustainable Salmon Fund.

Except for Idaho’s, all the state agencies listed are primarily grant-making bodies.

The remaining 11 grants are recommended for tribal programs and partnerships, including:

  • $6.3 million for the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission to administer among its 20 Western Washington member tribes,
  • $5.3 million for the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission to administer among its four member tribes in Idaho, Oregon and Washington,
  • $3.6 million for the Cowlitz Indian Tribe in Washington to address fish passage in Cabin and Johnson Creeks,
  • $2.7 million for the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians to restore habitat for threatened Oregon Coast coho salmon and to improve habitat and fish passage in tribal waters,
  • And $2 million for the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim Consortia in Alaska to monitor and research salmon populations.

The grants are intended to help state and tribal experts continue work that has demonstrated success in helping strengthen salmon and steelhead populations and habitats, the NOAA release said.

The funding is meant to improve recovery efforts of 28 salmon and steelhead species listed under the Endangered Species Act, the NOAA statement said. It would also provide benefits to the Southern Resident killer whales and Cook Inlet beluga whales, according to the agency.