NOAA is funding four projects sponsored by National Fish Habitat Partnerships designed to enhance recreational fisheries engagement and restore habitat through the coastal National Fish Habitat Partnerships. PMEP is supporting the restoration of tidal influence to the Point No Point Estuary in Kitsap County, Washington. The Mid Sound Fisheries Enhancement Group is collaborating with the Kitsap County Parks Department to remove a malfunctioning tide gate to convert freshwater wetlands back into salt marsh habitat. Restoring tidal connectivity in this 32-acre area will provide critical nearshore habitat for juvenile Chinook salmon by restoring ecosystem processes at a key site along migratory salmon routes in and out of Puget Sound. the project also engages the local North Kitsap Puget Sound Anglers and other local fishers to collect data before and after restoration. Local engagement efforts will include education and outreach around the project and its importance. The project supports the NOAA Fisheries Puget Sound Chinook Recovery Plan, is integrated with regional salmon recovery efforts and helps PMEP reach its goal to improve connectivity within estuarine and nearshore fish habitat.
PMEP, in collaboration with the California Fish Passage Forum and the Pacific Lamprey Conservation Initiative, has launched a new Barriers to Tidal Connectivity data hub of resources developed through a collaborative project to improve our understanding of tidal connectivity issues along the US West Coast.
The data hub includes a data catalog of West Coast datasets of culverts, tide gates, levees and dikes, railways, and roads as well as maps identifying tidally restricted areas. This innovative data catalog assembles datasets managed by a variety of agencies including California’s Passage Assessment Database (PAD), Oregon’s Fish Passage Barriers, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Fish Passage Inventory, and the Washington Levee Inventory. Viewers can access all these datasets and visualize the extent of barriers to tidal connectivity for purposes of restoration, research, and planning.
Through the data hub, you can also access copies and recordings of presentations given at the recent Barriers to Tidal Connectivity Symposium held October 28, 2020. And other resources and reports can be accessed through the hub.
This data hub is a product of a collaborative effort by the three fish habitat partnerships made possible with generous support from the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.
You can find out more on Barriers to Tidal Connectivity on the PMEP website by clicking on the projects tab, or you can head directly to the data hub here.
We want to give a warm welcome to our newest PMEP steering committee member, Irma Lagomarsino! Irma is a Senior Policy Advisor for the Oregon/Washington Coastal Office of NOAA Fisheries in Portland, Oregon, helping to build strategic collaborative solutions for salmon recovery with a particular emphasis in western Oregon. Previously, Irma served as the Assistant Regional Administrator for NOAA Fisheries California Coastal Office and as the Northern California Office Supervisor where she oversaw Endangered Species Act programs for listed salmon and steelhead. In 2014, Irma received the Bureau of Reclamation’s John W. Keys, III Award for Building Partnerships and Strengthening Relationships for her collaborative work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Reclamation. As a key leader for NOAA Fisheries, she helped forage the precedent-setting Klamath Agreements with agricultural, tribal and fishing communities, conservation organizations, states and other federal agencies. With 30 years of experience in the public sector, Irma focuses on building effective partnerships across-sectors to find innovative approaches for advancing the conservation of NOAA trust resources while supporting sustainable land use and communities. A native of California, she received her B.S. Degree in Marine Biology at the University of California at Berkeley and a M.S. Degree in Marine Environmental Science from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
The America’s Conservation Enhancement Act, was enacted into law on October 30th, 2020, and reauthorizes the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) and codifies the National Fish Habitat Partnership (NFHP), which represent two of the most successful voluntary conservation efforts in the United States.
The NFHP is comprised of 20 individual Fish Habitat Partnerships, each focusing on improving fish habitat and aquatic communities at regional and local levels. The NFHP has supported over 1,000 projects supporting fish habitat in all 50 states since 2006. Annually, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provides funding and technical assistance to the partnerships to implement aquatic conservation projects nationwide and is also supported by many federal, state, and local agencies as well as regional and national conservation organizations.
With the signing of the bill into law, the National Fish Habitat Partnership is authorized for the next five fiscal years (2021-2025) at $7.2 million annually. The National Fish Habitat Board will report to Congress, particularly the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the Senate, and the Committee on Natural Resources of the House of Representatives. The law will also expand the NFHPB to 26 members to include representatives from private landowners, agricultural production, representative involved in fish habitat restoration, corporate industries, and a member of an active FHP.
Technical and Scientific Assistance funds are authorized to be appropriated for up to $400,000 annually to each of the following agencies: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. Geological Survey in support of the National Fish Habitat Partnership. Within one year of enactment, the agencies receiving Technical and Scientific Assistance funds, led by the Department of the Interior, will develop an interagency operational plan outlining the implementation needs and interagency agreements.
A coalition of conservation organizations commended the sponsors of this bipartisan legislation for their commitment to fish and wildlife conservation: Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE), Sen. John Boozman (R-AR), Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), and Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) as well as Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA), Rep. Robert Wittman (R-VA), Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-SC), Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX), and Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) in getting it to the President’s desk for signature during this Congressional session.
We’re happy to welcome Carrie Byron, Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration (PSAR) Program Manager at the Puget Sound Partnership, to the PMEP Steering Committee! Carrie manages a salmon habitat protection and restoration grant program that supports local priority and regional large capacity salmon recovery projects throughout Puget Sound. Before coming to the Partnership, she worked at the Washington State Department of Ecology, where she managed the Watershed Protection and Restoration Lead Organization grant from EPA’s National Estuary Program. Carrie has also served as the Marine and Nearshore Lead for EPA’s Puget Sound Team and coordinated the Department of Ecology’s Coastal Zone Management Program for five years, where she oversaw the state’s Shoreline Master Program Grants program. She has a Master of Marine Affairs and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Washington’s School of Marine Affairs and Evans School of Public Affairs, respectively, and a B.A. in English from Whitman College. Carrie lives in Seattle and enjoys practicing yoga, hiking, camping, and exploring the outdoors with her family in her spare time.
The National Fish Habitat Partnership released its 2019 Annual Report highlighting progress on its mission to “protect, restore, and enhance the nation’s fish and aquatic communities through partnerships that foster fish habitat conservation and improve the quality of life for the American people.” Through the National Fish Habitat Partnership program, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners provided more than $18 million to support 83 fish habitat conservation projects in 34 states. The Service provided $4 million in 2019, with state resource agencies, non-governmental organizations, and other partners contributing an additional $14 million. read the report here.
Evan Hayduk, Coordinator of the MidCoast Watersheds Council, was recently awarded the prestigious American Fisheries Society Rising Star Award, which recognizes outstanding early-career contributions in fish habitat conservation. Hayduk recieved a masters degree from the Evergreen State College in 2012 and since 2016 has worked with the Watersheds Council to restore fish habitat. He has overseen several large projects such as the North Creek Culvert Replacement, which restored over 13 miles of habitat with old growth forest for Chinook, coho, sea-run cutthroat trout, steelhead, and lamprey and the Yaquina Estuary Tidal Wetland Restoration project, which is currently under construction and will enhance 20 acres of tidal marsh habitat benefiting Chinook and coho. All Hayduk’s work focuses on restoring ecological processes that sustain the clean water and diverse habitats necessary for salmon and other fish and wildlife.
The award comes with $250 prize money to be provided to a Fish Habitat Partnership of the winner’s choice. PMEP has supported the MidCoast Watershed Council’s Yaquina Estuary Tidal Wetland Restoration Project and so Hayduk chose PMEP to receive the prize money.
PMEP is pleased to announce the following projects have been selected for funding through the National Fish Habitat Partnership. These projects represent important conservation priorities of PMEP. $192,817 has been awarded to the partnership through the Fish and Aquatic Conservation Program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the following five projects:
- Seestrom Tidelands Restoration Project
- Columbia-Pacific Passage, Hungry Harbor Restoration
- Neskowin Fish Passage Improvement Project
- Enhancement of Olympia oysters to provide heterogeneous habitat for fish and invertebrates
- A regional scale assessment of fish habitat along the nearshore of greater Puget Sound
Read more about these and other PMEP funded project here.
PMEP-supported Bear River Estuary Restoration is included in the National Fish Habitat Partnership list of “Waters to Watch” for 2020. This annual list represents a collection of strategic conservation efforts implemented on rivers, streams, estuaries, and lakes to protect, restore, or enhance fish habitat. These voluntary, locally-driven projects represent some of the top conservation activities completed or in progress by 20 regionally-based Fish Habitat Partnerships throughout the country. These projects are carried out under the goals and objectives of the 2012 National Fish Habitat Action Plan. These conservation projects conserve freshwater, estuarine, and marine habitats essential to many fish and wildlife species. These activities are fundamental to the overall success of the National Fish Habitat Partnership that was established in 2006.
“The projects, which focus on the protection, restoration, and enhancement of fish habitats across the country, are a sampling of the top priorities of our partnerships,” said Ed Schriever, Chair of the National Fish Habitat Board. “The Waters to Watch campaign provides people an opportunity to learn about our projects in a more in-depth way, which exemplifies collaborative conservation involving many partners.”
The 2020 “Waters to Watch” list and associated Fish Habitat Partnerships
- Bear River Estuary, Washington (Retrospective) – Pacific Marine and Estuarine Partnership
- Boone River Watershed, Iowa (Retrospective) – Fishers and Farmers Partnership
- Chipola River, Florida (Retrospective) – Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership
- Deep Creek Town Diversion and Warner Basin, Oregon (Retrospective) – Western Native Trout Initiative
- Maunalua Bay, Hawai’i – Hawai’i Fish Habitat Partnership
- Minsi Lake, Pennsylvania – Reservoir Fish Habitat Partnership
- San Juan and Santiago Watersheds, California – California Fish Passage Forum
- San Luis Obispo Creek, California – Pacific Lamprey Conservation Initiative
- Shoshone Springs, California (Retrospective) – Desert Fish Habitat Partnership
- Tularosa River, New Mexico – Desert Fish Habitat Partnership
PMEP welcomes Bree Yednock, Reserve Manager at the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR), to its Steering Committee. Bree has been the Reserve Manager at the South Slough NERR since 2018 after serving as the Reserve’s Lead Scientist and Research Coordinator for four years. Before coming to the reserve, she worked for more than 15 years in the fields of science education and research at various non-profits, academic institutions, and agencies in Oregon, Maryland, Georgia, Maine, and Washington. Her research background ranges from field ecology to molecular biology and includes projects related to population genetics of fishery species, environmental adaptation in marine organisms, and estuarine habitat use of fish and invertebrates. She holds a PhD in Environmental and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Louisiana, a MS in Coastal Marine and Wetland Studies from Coastal Carolina University, and a BA in Environmental Studies from the University of Oregon.