Feds to provide $16 M for Yukon Kuskokwim rivers’ salmon issues

Interior Department officials will invest over $16 million over the next four years to enhance   ecosystems and salmon restoration in the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers, in a partnership plan with Native Americans in Philanthropy.

The first $5 million from the March 31 announcement by the Interior Department is earmarked for helping tribal partners to develop collective action plans in support of resilient ecosystems and local communities. While in Alaska over the last week of March, Deputy Secretary of the Interior Tommy Beaudreau toured a river restoration project in Tyonek that received over $1.6 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to remove barriers to fish passage. The initial funding package will replace the last undersized culvert along the creek with a channel-spanning bridge to open passage to salmon.

Beaudreau said that the Interior Department is committed to investing in Alaska Native communities to assure that their traditional lifestyles and ancestral homelands are protected for future generations to inherit and steward.

Beaudreau also met with local leaders and stakeholders in King Cove and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff at Cold Bay and National Park Service staff and residents in the area of Lake Clark National Park and Preserve to discuss ongoing work to support subsistence uses in and around the park.

Interior is investing overall $200 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law into the National Fish Passage Program over five years to address outdated, unsafe or obsolete dams, culverts, levees and other barriers in the nation’s waterways to help restore fish passage.

“Philanthropy has a powerful role to play in supporting this critical indigenous-led work alongside our federal partners,” said Erik Stegman, chief executive officer of the philanthropic entity.