Padilla, Feinstein Announce $26 Million Headed to Klamath Basin from Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Alex Padilla and Dianne Feinstein (both D-Calif.) announced the Department of the Interior will provide nearly $26 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for Klamath Basin restoration projects, including nearly $16 million for ecosystem restoration projects in the Basin and $10 million to expand the Klamath Falls National Fish Hatchery. Padilla and Feinstein both voted for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which President Biden signed last year.

Additionally, the Bureau of Reclamation, in collaboration with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, will fund 10 grants totaling $2.2 million to improve fish and wildlife habitat as part of two programs: the Klamath River Coho Restoration Grant Program, and the Trinity River Restoration Program. The grants will generate $777,000 in matching contributions for a total conservation impact of almost $3 million.

“Drought has reached almost every corner of California, wreaking havoc on the ecological balance of our state and threatening jobs and our way of life,” said Senator Padilla. “That’s why I proudly supported the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, so we could invest in resiliency across California. Restoring the Klamath Basin is critical for both the regional ecosystem and local economy. This is just the first investment in the Klamath Basin from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, part of $162 million coming for regional ecological restoration over the next five years. This funding will be a game changer for water supply and fishery health in the years ahead.”

“Severe drought has threatened the unique ecosystems and economy of the Klamath Basin,” said Senator Feinstein. “Thanks to this funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we can invest in restoring the basin’s natural habitat and make the region more resilient against future droughts and climate change.”

Over the past 20 years, the Klamath Basin has met unprecedented challenges due to ongoing drought conditions, limited water supply, and diverse needs. As drought conditions persist throughout the region, the Klamath Basin’s fragile ecosystem will depend on collaborative partnerships among a wide variety of stakeholders and the development of holistic solutions. 

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law makes a $1.4 billion down payment in the conservation and stewardship of America’s public lands that will lead to better outdoor spaces and habitats for people and wildlife for generations to come, with the Klamath Basin set to receive $162 million over the next five years to restore the regional ecosystem and repair local economies. The funding announced today represents an historic effort dedicated to restoring the Basin. 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Investments in Ecosystem Restoration 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began soliciting project proposals for fiscal year 2022 funds from Tribes, local and state agencies, non-governmental organizations, and other conservation partners in March. The nearly $16 million will be allocated to projects that focus on water quality and habitat restoration, supporting Endangered Species Act listed fish, sustain critically important wetlands for migrating waterfowl, and related natural resources issues.  

The $10 million investment in the Klamath Falls National Fish Hatchery’s expansion will increase rearing capacity for two federally listed fish — the Lost River and shortnose suckers (C’waam and Koptu) — found only in the Klamath Basin, and support restored and resilient ecosystems in the face of climate change. When completed, the expansion of the hatchery facility will increase the annual rearing capacity to 60,000 fish, which can support and stabilize the imperiled, declining wild populations of both sucker species in Upper Klamath Lake. 

These investments represent the initial phase of enhanced restoration work in the Klamath Basin. Planning for 2023 and future years will include continued close coordination with Tribes, localities and stakeholders, beginning with a workshop this fall to refine the draft Klamath Basin Integrated Fisheries Restoration and Monitoring Plan. This science-based, collaborative effort will help build consensus on prioritization of restoration and monitoring projects and provide additional assurance that available funding is spent wisely.  

More information about the Klamath Bipartisan Infrastructure Law projects can be found on the Fish and Wildlife Service’s website. 

Bureau of Reclamation and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Grantmaking 

The 10 grants, funded through the Klamath River Coho Restoration Grant Program and the Trinity River Restoration Program, prioritized projects that remove fish passage barriers, improve access to coldwater refugia, enhance instream habitat, conserve water, and reduce fine sediment. All projects will work to enhance the survival and recovery of the Southern Oregon/Northern California Coast coho salmon, as well as support long-term conservation goals for watershed connectivity and resilience in the Klamath River Basin, from its headwaters in Oregon to the Pacific Coast in California. 

More information about the Klamath and Trinity River Programs can be found on NFWF’s website.  

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