California Distributes $50 Million to Boost Salmon Population

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Funds will support Governor Newsom’s Salmon Strategy and other critical actions to restore salmon habitats, part of an overall investment package to restore California’s salmon populations.

SACRAMENTO — The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has awarded $50 million in grants for 15 projects to support a diverse array of habitat restoration projects in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, McCloud River, and wetland and meadow projects statewide.

Several projects will directly support Governor Newsom’s recently released California’s Salmon Strategy for a Hotter, Drier Future, which outlines six priorities and 71 actions to build healthier, thriving salmon populations in California.

WHAT GOVERNOR NEWSOM SAID: “These new investments are a key component to how we will restore California’s salmon population for the long-term, and we’re doing it in partnership with the local communities and tribes who have been dealing with these issues for generations.”

This funding is part of the $200 million that CDFW is distributing for restoration, including $100 million in emergency drought funding for protecting salmon against drought and climate change – projects that will address water and habitat impacted by climate, as well as restoring wetlands and mountain meadows, and creating wildlife corridors.

“Timing is everything and we have an opportunity to address the unrelenting threat of extreme climate and weather patterns through supporting these projects,” said CDFW Director Chuck Bonham. “This support and collaboration from the restoration community is ensuring the long-term sustainability of our natural resources for generations to come.”


$3.3 Million for Winnemem Wintu Tribe Participation in McCloud River Salmon Restoration Projects. “The Winnemem Wintu Tribe looks forward to continuing the work to restore salmon to the Winnemem waywacket (McCloud river),” said Winnemem Wintu Tribe Chief Caleen Sisk. “Wild salmon are essential to the health of the river, the oceans and to our survival as a Tribe. We understand that whatever happens to salmon, happens to the people, and we must all work together to ensure a thriving and healthy future.”

$1.6 Million for McCloud River Winter-Run Chinook Salmon Reintroduction Implementation and Monitoring. This project will assist with monitoring and evaluating of ongoing reintroduction efforts of endangered Sacramento River winter run Chinook salmon to their ancestral waters on the McCloud River upstream of Shasta Reservoir. This project further supports the drought emergency action enacted in summer of 2022 by CDFW, the National Marine Fisheries Service, and the Winnemem Wintu Tribe.

$6.6 Million for Juvenile Salmonid Collection System. “The Juvenile Salmonid Collection System has been successful in collecting dozens, and sometimes hundreds, of salmon a day when operating,” said Karla Nemeth, Director, Department of Water Resources. “The system’s success will inform DWR and our partners if this nature-based solution can assist in reintroduction of salmon above dams in the Winnemem Wywaket (McCloud River) to continue to restore this valuable ecosystem.”


$1.3 Million to Support Coho Salmon in the Shasta River. The Montague Water Conservation District (MWCD) was awarded $1.3 million for the MWCD-Main Canal Lining Project, which will include treatment of to prevent water loss through the existing surface of the 1.36-mile canal. As part of this grant, MWCD will also permanently provide 821 acre feet annually for instream benefit in the Shasta River, supporting critical spawning and rearing reaches used by Coho Salmon.

$2 Million to Bring Southern Steelhead Back to the Los Angeles River. Supporting the effort to restore passage for Southern Steelhead to the upper tributaries of the Los Angeles River, the City of Los Angeles was awarded just over $2 million for the L.A. River Fish Habitat Pilot Project-Reach 8A. This project will include installation of fish habitat and passage improvement features in the river, as well as efforts to modify flows, velocity, and depth of water to support passage.


$2 Million for CDFW Beaver Restoration Program. The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center was awarded $2 million for the California Beaver Coexistence Training and Support Program, a first ever project supporting beaver coexistence for landowners. The project will provide financial and technical support to landowners through a new block grant program and California Beaver Help Desk.

“We are excited that our proposal to create a new California Beaver Coexistence Training and Support Program Proposal was awarded by CDFW,” said Brock Dolman, Co-Director, Occidental Arts & Ecology Center WATER Institute. “Our program will allow landowners and tenants to share in the climate-smart and nature-based benefits of living with beavers. This is an exciting win-win for people, beavers and habitats across California.”


$9 Million for Ackerson Meadow Restoration Project’s Phase 2 Implementation. “American Rivers would like to thank CDFW for supporting this landmark project which is the result of a decade-long collaborative effort to restore 230 acres of critical wildlife habitat for multiple listed species, including the Great Gray Owl, Little Willow Flycatcher and Northwestern pond turtle,” said Matt Freitas, Director of California Headwaters Conservation for American Rivers. “Funding from CDFW will allow American Rivers and our partners, the Stanislaus National Forest, Yosemite Conservancy and Yosemite National Park, to restore the final piece of Ackerson Meadow.”

$1.4 Million for Corral Gulch Meadow Restoration. This project will return floodplain connectivity to 1.5 miles of the currently incised and degraded Corral Gulch. Restored hydrologic connectivity will facilitate the return of native wet meadows and improve floodwater storage to sustain releases of cool groundwater during low flow periods.

$1.3 Million for Sugar Creek Ranch Acquisition. The acquisition of 79.2 acres in the Yuba Dredge Tailings within Scott Valley, in the Klamath Basin, for the benefit of coho salmon. The property contains 12 acres of cold water ponds that can be connected to the Scott River to provide extensive coho rearing opportunities, as well as .25 miles of Sugar Creek.

“Having the backing of CDFW to aid in acquiring and preserving these areas for ecological conservation and the welfare of coho, beavers and other wildlife in perpetuity is truly exciting,” said Charnna Gilmore, Executive Director for the Scott River Watershed Council. “The possibilities presented by these properties hold the potential to generate immediate and long-term ecological benefits for the Scott River salmonids.”

$437,000 for Shiloh Ranch Regional Park Riparian Restoration Supplemental Funding. Further supporting the construction, including materials and permit requirements, for the Shiloh Ranch Regional Park Riparian Restoration Project.

“Regional Parks is thrilled to partner with CDFW to be able to restore the Shiloh pond area,” said Minona Heaviland, Natural Resources Park Program Supervisor.  “Measure M provided the seed funding for this project and allowed us to bring in outside resources from the state.”


$9 Million for Feather River Sturgeon and Salmon Passage Project. This project will expand habitat connectivity, remove barriers to fish passage, and restore natural riverine habitat and processes. The existing boulder weir on the Feather River is a significant barrier for adult fish passage, particularly Central Valley fall-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley spring-run Chinook salmon, Southern Distinct Population Segment green sturgeon and Central Valley steelhead.

$750,000 for Delta Islands and Levees. This project will finalize plans to restore 340 acres of intertidal marsh, a critical and greatly reduced habitat type. The grantee will collaborate with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who will implement the project.

$825,000 to Putah Creek Bypass for Salmon Passage at Los Rios Check Dam. This project will implement a 1,600-foot-long bypass channel, 1.2 miles upstream of the Toe Drain in the Yolo Bypass, which has long been considered problematic for free passage of salmonids and other native fish species.

$1.2 Million to Broadening our Understanding of Causes, Impacts and Treatments of Thiamine Deficiency in California Salmon. This project supports an objective identified in the Governor’s Salmon Strategy, supporting improved research on improving research on thiamine deficiency in salmon.

“Thiamine deficiency in our California salmonid populations has been identified as a significant stressor for these fish,” said Anne E. Todgham, Ph.D., University of California Davis, Department of Animal Science. “This funding will allow us to continue to understand the impacts of thiamine deficiency on salmonids in California and the downstream implications for population abundance, and outmigration and return success of different runs.”

$9.7 Million for Knightsen Wetland Restoration Project. The project will restore a 645-acre property to a mosaic of wetland and upland habitats and support state and federally listed species. The East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservancy will undertake the project with its conservation partner the East Bay Regional Park District.

“Restoration efforts like this are essential for protecting and providing habitat for threatened and endangered species and restoring and enhancing the environmental quality of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta,” said Habitat Conservancy Executive Director Abigail Fateman.