Congress Coronavirus/Appropriations Bill Gives $65 Million to Conserve Fish in Western U.S.

A salmon sprays US President Barack Obama as he picks it up while meeting with local fishermen and their families on Kanakanak Beach in Dillingham, Alaska on September 2, 2015. AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

The legislation Congress is poised to pass that combines relief for the coronavirus with federal appropriations for 2021 includes a long list of funding for pet projects around the country, including western states and tribal communities, which will get $65 million to conserve Pacific salmon and steelhead populations.

The “Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery” portion of the bill would provide millions of dollars to six states and tribes.

This portion of the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021 says, in part:

The funds provided herein, the Secretary of Commerce may issue grants to the States of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, California, and Alaska, and to the federally recognized Tribes of the Columbia River and Pacific Coast (including Alaska), for projects necessary for conservation of salmon and steelhead populations that are listed as threatened or endangered, or that are identified by a State as at-risk to be so listed, for maintaining populations necessary for exercise of Tribal treaty fishing rights or native subsistence fishing, or for conservation of Pacific coastal salmon and steelhead habitat, based on guidelines to be developed by the Secretary of Commerce.

Provided further, that all funds shall be allocated based on scientific and other merit principles and shall not be available for marketing activities: Provided further, That funds disbursed to States shall be subject to a matching requirement of funds or documented in-kind contributions of at least 33 percent of the federal funds.

The taxpayer money would also help men and women who fish for salmon and steelhead by creating the “Fisherman’s Contingency Fund Fisheries Finance Program Account.”

“Subject to section 502 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, during fiscal year 2021, obligations of direct loans may not exceed $24,000,000 for Individual Fishing Quota loans and not exceed $100,000,000 for traditional direct loans as authorized by the Merchant Marine Act of 1936,” the bill says.

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