Pacific Power Blue Sky customers fund $121,500 worth of habitat restoration
June 24, 2015: In 2015, Pacific Power and The Freshwater Trust, a river restoration nonprofit, will award more than $120,000 to four on-the-ground restoration projects across Oregon, thanks to customers choosing Pacific Power’s Blue Sky Habitat Fund.
Through an automatic $2.50 monthly donation, more than 4,300 Pacific Power customers have had a direct hand in the restoration and protection of native fish habitat. This year, projects financed by the fund will benefit tributaries of the Willamette, the Sandy, the Rogue and the Applegate rivers.
“For more than 13 years, Pacific Power has offered its customers an easy way to make a real difference for Oregon’s freshwater ecosystems and species,” said Valerie Smith, Pacific Power’s director of customer services. “While the program is completely voluntary, we’ve seen that many individuals and families want to make an impact on the environment and their communities.
Since 2011, more than 42 miles of restored stream can be attributed to the Blue Sky Habitat program.
Once a year, watershed councils and nonprofits apply for a portion of the funding. The Freshwater Trust, a nonprofit with more than 30 years of experience restoring freshwater ecosystems in Oregon, reviews the applications and evaluates them based on a key set of criteria.
“Priority is given to on the ground habitat restoration projects that provide a direct benefit to native anadromous fish, many of which are listed as either threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act,” said Jessa Irzyk, habitat restoration coordinator and project manager with The Freshwater Trust. “We also want to see a strong technical and scientific approach with quantifiable outcomes to the proposed restoration projects that is carried out by a qualified restoration team. This is in order to make sure that the actions being taken will indeed have a significant beneficial impacts on the waterway as a whole.”
This year, the largest award of $32,000 was granted to the Geos Institute to aid in the removal of the Fielder and Wimer Dams on Evans Creek in Oregon’s Rogue River Basin. Both dams are abandoned irrigation projects and have fish ladders, but neither meets Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) fish passage criteria. Due to a narrow range of flow conditions and lack of debris maintenance, fall Chinook, threatened Coho salmon, summer and winter steelhead and cutthroat trout do not easily migrate around the dams. In fact, some fish leap out of the Fielder Dam ladder and perish on the rocks nearby.
“Our freshwater resources in the West are precious,” said Irzyk. “The more innovate ways we can come together to make a positive impact for them and the wildlife that call them home, the better.”
About Blue Sky
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has ranked Blue Sky fifth or better in the nation for the 12th consecutive year in the number of customers buying renewable power. The Blue Sky Block, Usage and Habitat products are Green-e Energy certified; About 55,000 Pacific Power customers currently participate in the Blue Sky program across Oregon, Washington and California. For more information, visit www.pacificpower.net/bluesky.
About Pacific Power
Pacific Power provides electric service to more than 730,000 customers in Oregon, Washington and California. Our goal is to provide our customers with value for their energy dollar, and safe, reliable electricity. Pacific Power is part of PacifiCorp, one of the lowest-cost electricity producers in the United States, with almost 1.8 million customers in six western states. For more information, visit www.pacificpower.net.
About The Freshwater Trust
Founded in 1983, The Freshwater Trust accelerates the pace and scale of freshwater restoration through the use of science, technology and incentive-based solutions to restore rivers on a timeline that matters. The nonprofit uses quantified conservation to fix more rivers faster, and in 2013 received the U.S. Water Prize for its innovation. For more information, please visit www.thefreshwatertrust.org.
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