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Wyden, Merkley announce $27 million to support Pacific salmon recovery in Oregon

Oregon coho migration in the fall of 2009.
Oregon coho migration in the fall of 2009.

WASHINGTON (KTVZ) – Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., announced Thursday an investment of $27 million from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to help support recovery efforts for Pacific salmon populations.

The federal funds are available due to the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act. 

This investment builds on several projects Senator Wyden has supported, including a $2.5 million grant in 2022 to replace larger culverts on five rivers in the Tillamook Bay basin to increase salmon and other fish habitat.

“This federal investment is going to go a long way in making sure the salmon, which are so central to our culture and economies here in Oregon, recover from the population decline  we have seen year after year,” Wyden said. “We have much more work to do, but these actions will help build on the past successful projects such as restoring spawning grounds, establishing a Salmon Superhighway, and easing stress on migration routes.”

“The health of communities across Oregon goes hand-in-hand with the health of our state’s waterways, fish habitats, and infrastructure,” said Merkley. “These federal investments will support initiatives to help strengthen natural infrastructure and reconnect fish habitats and migration routes—initiatives critical to boosting salmon recovery efforts and investing in the long-term viability of Oregon’s coastal communities.”   

"More than ever, the health of Oregon’s salmon populations is tied to the health of ocean food webs,” said Dr. Francis Chan, Director of the Cooperative Institute for Marine Resources Studies (CIMERS) at Oregon State University. “With new science that we can advance with this award, we can paint a much fuller picture of the ocean conditions that our salmon are facing, and identify opportunities to make recovery efforts throughout their life cycles as productive as possible.”

Specific Oregon examples can be found below:

  • Cooperative Institute at Oregon State University (CIMERS): $1,319,000 to study ocean conditions modeling, measure marine predation, and assess climate impacts on marine food webs.
  • Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians: $2.7 Million for Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund to help support habitat restoration, research, and monitoring of Pacific salmon. 

Additional funding is allocated to research projects that will benefit Oregon salmon populations and recovery efforts. These investments by NOAA from the Inflation Reduction Act amount to a total investment of $42 million nationally to address issues with salmon populations and restoration programs.

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