Alaska Fish Habitat Benefits from Half a Million Dollars in Funding
August 24, 2011
Here in Alaska, 16 projects will be supported by more than half a million dollars in U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service funding and more than $1.4 million in matching funds. The projects focus on various aspects of fish habitat protection and restoration. For example, the Matanuska Susitna Basin Salmon Habitat Partnership will be able to use $50,000 in Service funds and $50,000 in partner funds to replace a perched culvert and reopen 2 miles of water to juvenile salmon on Coyote Creek.
“The National Fish Habitat Action Plan helps the Service work with its partners to protect and enhance the fish populations that are such an integral part of life in our state,” said Geoffrey Haskett, the Service’s Alaska Regional Director.
The funding is provided for priority projects identified through seventeen Fish Habitat Partnerships established under the NFHAP. The partnerships strategically direct funding and other resources to habitat improvement projects offering the highest long-term conservation returns for aquatic species.
Aquatic ecosystems are especially vulnerable to changes in climate according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Healthy habitats can help fish and other aquatic life to withstand flows and temperatures that have been altered due to climate change. Forty of the projects, supported by $2 million in Service funds, will improve stream flow, remove barriers, or acquire scientific information needed for long-term protection against the effects of climate change.
Quoting the news release, more than 40 percent of U.S. fish populations are currently considered declining, half of the waters in the U.S. are impaired, and fragmented conservation efforts are not reversing these declines. Besides climate change, principal factors contributing to these declines include: habitat destruction and fragmentation, toxic substances, invasive species, harmful algal blooms, and altered thermal regimes.
By helping stem these declines NFHAP projects provide fishing opportunities for the public, and enhance economies and quality of life in local communities.
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Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews
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