On November 17, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced that $38 million in grant funding is available in fiscal year 2023 for fish passage projects. The goal is to award this funding to projects that address outdated, unsafe, or obsolete dams, culverts, levees, and other barriers. This funding effort is part of an overall $200 million commitment set out in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and is part of the National Fish Passage Program (NFPP). The NFPP is a voluntary program that provides direct technical and financial assistance for restoration of aquatic organism passage and aquatic connectivity.

Applications for grant funding are due by December 16, 2022. Applicants must submit a letter of intent (LOI) to a Service-designated regional fish passage coordinator (RFPC). The Service strongly recommends coordinating with the RFPC before submitting the LOI. The LOI must contain basic project information and a statement of interest. After this initial stage, the Service will invite selected applicants to submit a full proposal, which is due on December 31, 2023. The proposed project will be vetted with the Fish and Aquatic Conservation Program (FAC), and the applicant’s final proposal must be submitted in coordination with FAC.

In selecting projects for an award, the Service will score project proposals based on the following categories: (1) ecological benefits (including benefits to species and habitats, permanence of fish passage benefits, and regional and watershed context); (2) community benefit (including benefits for community resilience to climate change impacts and benefits to underserved or Indigenous communities); and (3) partnerships and timeline, community support, estimated project duration and timeline of project milestones.

Grant awards will range from $100,000 to $2,000,000. Matching funds are not required, although the goal is to leverage investments from project partners.

To view the funding opportunity, please click here.