SANTA ROSA, Calif., Jan. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Wine grape growers and other agricultural operators along California's northern coast have long been committed to improving fish habitat while running sustainable agriculture operations. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and local partners today announced $2 million in financial assistance to help these landowners take additional steps to boost local salmonid and other aquatic-species populations. "This has long been a priority for us at NRCS," said James Gore, assistant chief. "I know how important it is for local landowners and other stakeholders to support these fish and restore them back to record numbers. The steps we are taking today will go a long way to accomplishing this." A number of partners met today for the announcement and to tour a sample restoration site in Camp Meeker, Calif. An old fish barrier dam had been removed, a new pedestrian bridge was constructed, and rock wiers for fish migration were installed along with other stream and habitat restoration efforts. These types of practices and more will be available to landowners through this new financial investment. The funding will be divided amongst five Northern California watersheds located in Humboldt, Mendocino and Sonoma counties.
South Fork Eel
Eligible practices include stream habitat improvements, wetland wildlife habitat management and other complementary conservation methods. The funding will be made available to landowners through the NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program – a federal cost-share program, through the Farm Bill, to help landowners implement on-farm conservation practices. "This is a great opportunity for local landowners to enhance the riparian corridors which pass through their properties within the Russian River Watershed. The efforts made by the Natural Resource Conservation Service and the local Resource Conservation Districts are validated by the many successful projects implemented in our watersheds," said Joe Pozzi, Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District manager. Today's announcement is part of a larger effort to restore salmonid and other aquatic species back to abundant and sustainable levels along the Pacific Northwest.