Works with Midwest partners to solve fish barrier problems

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is pleased to announce that $1.6 million in 2015 will be awarded through the National Fish Passage Program to support projects in the Midwest Region including Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin. Funding will support the removal of 18 fish passage barriers, reconnecting more than 718 stream miles, as well as engineering studies, surveys and assessments, and monitoring activities. Projects are supported by an additional $2.1 million in matching funds.

Construction of millions of culverts, dams, dikes, water diversions, and other artificial barriers change the natural features of rivers and streams by impounding and redirecting water for flood control, drinking water, electricity, irrigation, and transportation. Balancing the importance of stream connectivity for local fish species with these structures is an ongoing conservation challenge.

Through the National Fish Passage Program, the Service and its partners are working to reverse the harmful impacts of artificial barriers to native fish species and the aquatic environment. The Fish Passage Program uses a voluntary, non-regulatory approach to work with federal, state, tribal, municipal, and non-governmental agencies to reopen and improve aquatic habitats in streams and rivers. The program provides funding and technical expertise to partners to remove or bypass dams and other obstructions and replace or improve culverts under roads or railroad tracks to allow fish passage.

2015 Fish Passage Program projects in the Midwest include:

Indiana - $38,000 on-the-ground federal funds and $125,500 in partner contributions to remove a low-head dam and fish passageway barrier on the Eel River near Mexico, Indiana, which will reconnect 349 stream miles.

Iowa - $160,000 on-the-ground federal funds and $338,000 in partner contributions to improve fish passage at the Buffalo Creek Dam, Wapsipinicon River Basin, which will reconnect 218 stream miles.

Michigan - $153,000 on-the-ground federal funds and $180,000 in partner contributions to replace perched culverts on Brayton Creek at Cleveland Road in Oceana County, Michigan. This will restore fish passage and reconnect 17 stream miles.

Missouri - $50,000 on-the-ground federal funds and $352,500 in partner contributions to replace a low water crossing over the upper Moniteau Creek, benefitting the endangered Topeka shiner and reconnecting 19 stream miles.
Wisconsin - $12,942 on-the-ground federal funds and $13,359 in partner contributions to replace a culvert to restore fish passage on Mulligan Creek in Bayfield County, Wisconsin. This project will benefit native brook trout by reconnecting three stream miles.

The goal of the National Fish Passage Program is to restore populations of native fish and other aquatic species to self-sustaining levels by reconnecting habitat that has been fragmented by artificial barriers and diversions. In many cases, these funds go directly to the replacement of deteriorating structures, which helps improve local infrastructure while supporting local economies.

Since its inception in 1999, the National Fish Passage Program has removed or bypassed more than 1,345 barriers, restoring access to greater than 20,229 stream miles and 155,454 acres of wetlands. The Program has also leveraged an average of more than three dollars for every project dollar spent through its partners.

For more information about the Fish Passage Program, visit our home page at:
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