NOAA announces the recommendation of $8.7 million in funding to restore fish passage in the Mid-Willamette

The South Santiam, Calapooia, Luckiamute, Marys River, and North Santiam Watershed Councils have been recommended to receive over $8.7 million in funding from the Department of Commerce and NOAA to restore fish passage in the Mid-Willamette region.

Proposed funding will restore fish passage to 18 different sites in the Mid-Willamette, opening up access to 43 miles of high quality spawning and rearing habitat for a variety of native fish, including Upper Willamette River spring Chinook salmon and winter steelhead trout, which are both listed under the Endangered Species Act. The funding would also help to develop permit-ready designs for another 6.7 miles of habitat.

In the South Santiam, fish passage will be improved or restored at 4 road crossings with perched, undersized or failing culverts. At two locations, existing culverts will be replaced by appropriately sized fish-friendly culverts. At the other two locations, culverts will be replaced by bridges.

In addition to restoring access to healthy fish habitat, this project will also work to build climate resilience while improving infrastructure, reducing hazards, and engaging the community. The projects span the full range of fish passage types, including culvert improvements, in-stream fish passage improvements, and the assessment of alternatives to and review of a dam removal.

The project, “There and back again: A salmonid’s tale to restored fish passage in the Mid-Willamette,” was submitted by Marys River Watershed Council on behalf of the Mid-Valley River Connections collaborative. This project is 1 of 46 projects recommended by the Department of Commerce and NOAA for $240 million in funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act.

“We are honored that our proposal has been recommended for funding,” said Holly Purpura, Marys River Watershed Council Executive Director, “This work builds upon 16 years of close regional collaboration between the Calapooia, Luckiamute, Marys River, North Santiam, and South Santiam Watershed Councils, whose combined service areas compose 31 percent of the Willamette watershed. We are grateful to be given this opportunity to continue to restore watersheds in the mid-Willamette and build a more resilient climate.”

Posted in
A bridge crosses a flowing creek
A bridge crosses a flowing creek instead of a culvert to facilitate fish passage.

Recent News Posts

Heat of the Moment: A Look at Sweet Home’s Fire School

By Marie Heuberger | July 15, 2024

Did you see wildland firefighters in Sweet Home at the end of June? Sweet Home is home to the Mid-Willamette…

Read More
Wiley Creek Fire in progress, 2023

All Hands on Deck: Stories from the Wiley Creek Fire

By Marie Heuberger | May 21, 2024

Please join us for a special event on June 3, 2024 The South Santiam Watershed Council invites you to sit…

Read More