For Release:
Contact: Susan Zemek
Washington Recreation and Conservation Office
Contact: Ben Anderson
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

OLYMPIA – Starting Oct. 2, the Brian Abbott Fish Barrier Removal Board will accept proposals for projects to remove barriers that prevent salmon and steelhead from swimming upstream.

The board will host an online workshop from 10 a.m. to noon, Oct. 5, to provide an overview of the grant program and review the application process. Interested parties can also attend by phone by calling 872-242-8913 and entering conference ID 426-651-668#.

Created by the Legislature in 2014, the board coordinates the removal of fish passage barriers on state, local, tribal, and private land that block salmon and steelhead access to prime spawning and rearing habitat.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) jointly administer the board’s grant program, which has invested more than $121 million in 117 projects to remove barriers to migrating fish.

“This board has a history of successfully investing in projects that help to advance our work together to remove barriers for migrating fish and support salmon recovery efforts,” said Tom Jameson, WDFW Fish Passage Division Manager. “We’re looking forward to seeing the continued impact these projects can have in communities across Washington.”

“These grants are incredibly important to ensure that salmon and steelhead have access to freshwater environments for spawning and rearing, which is critical for the next generation,” said Megan Duffy, RCO director. “We want to make sure that we are removing human-made barriers as much as possible. These grants help do that.”

The board will accept applications through Jan. 18, 2024. For more information about the grant application process and requirements, visit RCO’s website.

Project proposals will go through a robust review process, which includes administrative review by RCO, technical review by WDFW, and final approval by the board.

Following the board’s review, the board will submit a ranked list of projects to the Legislature for funding in the 2025-27 biennium. Funding comes from the sale of state bonds and the Natural Climate Solutions Account.

Board members include representatives from the Washington Departments of Fish and Wildlife, Transportation and Natural Resources; Washington State Association of Counties; Association of Washington Cities; the Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office; the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation; the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation; and the salmon recovery Council of Regions.

The board is named after Brian Abbott, a lifelong angler and salmon recovery leader, who spearheaded the creation of the board while serving as executive coordinator of the Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office. To learn more, visit WDFW’s website.

WDFW works to preserve, protect, and perpetuate fish, wildlife and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish and wildlife recreational and commercial opportunities.

RCO is a small state agency that manages grant programs to create outdoor recreation opportunities, protect the best of the state’s wildlife habitat and working farms and forests, and help recover salmon and orcas.