On August 14, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) officially awarded $341,000 to RBP for the first year of a three-year effort to address 16 high priority fish passage barriers. The project will improve fish passage to 139.4 miles of Coho habitat, 65.7 miles of Chinook habitat, 119 miles of Pacific Lamprey habitat and 400 miles of steelhead habitat. 

The three-year grant comes through NOAA’s Community-based Restoration Program. It was selected as just one of 21 awards nationwide from a pool of many more applicants. The full amount of the award is $570,000, pending federal appropriations for years two and three.

The funding will support on-the-ground work of three RBP partners—the Applegate Partnership & Watershed Council (APWC); the Illinois Valley Soil and Water Conservation District; and Water Watch of Oregon. RBP will help coordinate the work and administer the grant. “The award is a testament to the value of RBP members, working together, to jointly propose projects of enormous benefit to the entire Rogue Basin,” RBP Executive Director Gregory Weber noted.

RBP is especially grateful to the partners who have provided cash and in kind match to meet NOAA’s 50% match requirement. Cash match has come from the Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD); the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB); and the Sacramento-based Resources Legacy Fund. In kind match providers include: APWC; the Bureau of Land Management; Copeland Construction; the Illinois Valley Soil and Water Conservation District; the Jackson Soil and Water Conservation District; Josephine County; Middle Rogue Steelheaders; the Natural Resources Conservation Service; the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife; OWEB; OWRD; RBP; Trout Unlimited; Water Watch of Oregon; the United States Forest Service; the Upper Phillips Ditch Association; the Williams Creek Watershed Council; and several landowners.  This truly is a collective effort.

In other good news for the Rogue Basin, the NOAA grant program also funded ongoing work by the Wild Salmon Center. The Center has been coordinating the efforts of a broad group of agencies and organizations to develop and implement a strategic action plan for Coho in the Upper Rogue watershed. RBP members who have been actively participating in the plan’s development include APWC, Rogue River Watershed Council, The Freshwater Trust, Trout Unlimited, t he Medford Water Commission, and the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians. This multi-year effort is expected to be completed, and the plan released, by early 2020. For further details on the NOAA awards, visit https://bit.ly/31Iw0Nw.