Critical Infrastructure Grants Awarded to Alaska Will Help Salmon Habitats
The Alaska Congressional Delegation hailed the funding for culverts in communities across Alaska that will offer meaningful restoration for critical salmon habitats. Awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) National Culvert Removal, Replacement, and Restoration Grant Program through the Culvert Aquatic Organism Passage (AOP) Program, over $44 million will be distributed to nine Alaska communities looking to strengthen fish habitats.
“Our work on the bipartisan infrastructure law has provided major investments to Alaska, strengthening our state’s core infrastructure—and today’s announcement to replace culverts across the state will help fulfill longtime local priorities and protect critical fish populations and habitats,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski. “The infrastructure law is allowing Alaska communities to repair and replace failing and aging infrastructure. Projects from Metlakatla to King Salmon will not only build more resilient culverts to address future flooding events, but also support critical salmon and fish populations so many communities in Alaska rely on. I’m proud of my work on the bipartisan infrastructure law that is making a real difference for Alaska’s infrastructure.”
“I appreciate the Department of Transportation’s recognition of the request Alaska’s Congressional delegation made to fund much needed infrastructure to help ensure the health of our salmon species across the state,” said Senator Dan Sullivan. “These projects will not only support Alaska salmon, but will also help continue to provide a much-needed food source for Alaskans.”
"Protecting our fish doesn't just happen in the ocean--how we build our roads and other infrastructure on land matters, too,” said Representative Mary Peltola. “In some places across Alaska, fish have been unintentionally blocked from moving up or downstream by culverts or other obstacles, preventing them from reaching the ocean or returning to spawn. This funding, nearly $45 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will help improve our infrastructure and restore crucial habitats across several regions to help a variety of fish species complete their life cycles and find their way home. Additionally, these projects will help reduce flood risks, provide jobs and protect the lives and livelihoods of Alaskans who rely on fish every day. This is one more example of bipartisan, pro-fish policy working for Alaska."
“In communities across the country where people depend on fishing for their livelihoods, culverts are vital infrastructure for ensuring fish passage,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Through this investment, we are repairing or removing culverts, protecting jobs, mitigating the risk of flooding, and strengthening local economies.”
The AOP program is an annual competitive grant program that selects eligible entities for the replacement, removal, and repair of culverts to improve and restore passage for fish born in freshwater streams and rivers, and migrate back to freshwater for spawning. The communities selected in Alaska include Metlakatla Indian Community, Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Klawock, King Salmon, Valdez, Cordova, Yakutat City and Borough, and Houston.