Nearly $700,000 awarded to restore 156 miles of salmon habitat
At The Freshwater Trust (TFT), we believe two things:
First, the freshwater problems ailing our country’s rivers are fixable. Second, we cannot fix them alone.
These are tenets of our mission and why we find an equal sense of accomplishment when we can enable others to restore their home rivers.
For the last seven years, we have joined forces with Pacific Power to administer their Blue Sky Habitat Fund. This fund is used to help restoration organizations improve native fish habitat within Pacific Power’s Oregon service area. By choosing to contribute an additional $2.50 a month to the fund, Pacific Power customers play a pivotal role in helping support renewable energy and improvements to native fish habitat in their backyards.
TFT has served as the administrator of the Blue Sky Habitat Fund since 2011. Over the years, it has awarded more than $667,775 to 27 restoration projects and helped restore 156 miles of salmon habitat in 12 counties.
In 2017 alone, we awarded more than $133,000 in funds to four projects in three different counties, enhancing 11 miles of salmon habitat. Dam removal, culvert replacement, large wood placement, and side-channel enhancement are some of the actions being implemented with the help of Blue Sky funds. Each of these restoration projects has the ability to elicit immediate ecological response in the form of improved fish passage and enhanced spawning and rearing habitat for native fish species.
Restoration has social and economic benefits as well. Engaging locals who call these watersheds home is a central component of projects funded through this program.
Local contractors are hired to do the restoration work. Supplies and materials are locally sourced and purchased, and the staff themselves are often residents. This is critical, since it’s the community that will have the loudest voice for ensuring the long-term success of these projects as they mature.
In 2017, the Rogue Valley Council of Government’s (RVCOG) Bear Creek Riparian Restoration Project enlisted the help of laborers from the Jackson County Community Justice program, who played an important role in removing garbage that once littered the project site. Additionally, RVCOG will engage students from the Crater Renaissance Academy to help with tasks such as invasive plant species removal, native planting, and monitoring through the life of the project.
The students will develop a personal connection with the project and an ethos deeply rooted in stewardship and conservation. Outreach efforts being made by RVCOG also include the installation of two bilingual interpretive signs to share information about the project with the public.
TFT is seeking projects to fund in 2018.
If you are a restoration organization with a mission to restore critical habitat for Endangered Species Act listed salmon and steelhead and have a project going in the ground this year, please review the project funding requirements here and submit an application before April 27.
February 26, 2018
And if you’re one of the individuals who gives $2.50 a month through this program, thank you for making this critical work possible.
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