Landowners can apply for state money to restore fish passages

May 28, 2010

By Staff

NEW — 6 a.m. May 28, 2010

The state Department of Natural Resources will accept applications until June 30 for funds to help landowners protect fish habitat.

The effort, the Family Forest Fish Passage Program, grants money for landowners to replace culverts blocking fish in streams crossing the land. The state considered small-forest landowners to be those who harvest less than 2 million board feet per year, on average, from their land.

The program has helped more than 165 landowners correct 198 barriers to fish in streams since 2003. Moreover, the removals reconnected about 450 miles of fish habitat.

The program pays from 75 percent to 100 percent of the cost to remove barriers. Successful applicants must be small-forest landowners with a forest road crossing a fish-bearing stream. Qualifying projects could include removal of log puncheons — upright pieces of timber — or undersized, elevated or collapsed culverts.

Officials rank projects based on the habitat affected, location in the watershed and cost benefit. Landowners enrolled in the program receive funding based on the ranking and as funds become available. The program contracts with local conservation groups to manage the projects.

Learn more about the program at the agency website.

Besides the Department of Natural Resources, the Recreation Conservation Office and state Department of Fish and Wildlife help manage the program.

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