The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and PacificCorp are offering up to $1 million in grants for coho habitat restoration projects in the Klamath River watershed downstream of Iron Gate Dam.
The Bureau and PacifiCorp, in coordination with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and NOAA Fisheries, are looking to fund habitat restoration projects from Iron Gate Dam to the Portuguese Creek area, said Damian Ebert, principal environmental scientist for PacifiCorp’s Klamath hydroproject. Previous restoration projects have included putting gravel in the river to provide coho with a place to spawn as well as creating off-channel ponds to provide refuge for juvenile coho during the winter, Ebert said.
PacifiCorp and the Bureau of Reclamation have funded habitat restoration work for coho salmon on the Klamath River since 2009. This year, the bureau and PacifiCorp have issued a joint request for proposals, with each party contributing $500,000, Ebert said.
Project pre-proposals are due June 1. A webinar from 10 a.m.-noon Tuesday will provide an overview of the program, details on the types of projects that will be given priority as well as a rundown of the proposal process and requirements. To register for the webinar, visit https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8159851112933824514.
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation provides in-grant administration for the restoration projects, Ebert said. NOAA Fisheries wrote biological opinions on PacifiCorp’s Klamath Hydroelectric Project Interim Operations Habitat Conservation Plan, he said.
Last year, PacifiCorp funded four projects, and in 2016 it funded six, Ebert said. Previous grantees have included the Mid-Klamath Watershed Council and the Karuk and Yurok tribes, he said.
The Bureau of Reclamation awarded funds for 12 habitat restoration projects in 2016, according to Kirk Young, the bureau’s natural resources specialist.
“Since 2016 there have been 16 grants awarded and we’re expecting probably another 5-7 or so,” Young said. “As far as an eligible project, (it’s) one that improves the health and habitat of, largely salmon, but also some trout and other species in there.”
Young said once the pre-proposal deadline has passed, it will take about four weeks before applicants are notified to draft a full proposal. Complete project proposals will be accepted in August or September, he said.
The $1 million in grant dollars aim to fund projects that meet the requirements outlined in the 2013 Biological Opinion on the Bureau of Reclamation’s Klamath Project Operations as well as PacifiCorp’s habitat conservation plan for coho, according to a joint press release from the bureau and the utility. Both enhance the survival of Klamath River coho salmon, which are listed as threatened.