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$1.65 million to restore streams, wetlands, prairies

Oregon streams, wetlands, and prairies will get $1.65 million in federal funds to restore wildlife habitat, the state's senators announced this week.

The money is part of the $26 million the U.S.Bureau of Land Management will spend nationally this year to restore ecosystems and comes from last year's bipartisan infrastructure law.

"Most Oregonians will tell you that our forests, coastline, rivers, mountains, high desert, and more are what make this state such a special place to live," said Sen. Jeff Merkley, who chairs the Senate subcommittee that oversees the bureau.

Animals ranging from salmon to Western Monarch butterflies are at risk from climate change and human encroachment, Merkley said. The restoration projects aim to restore and protect pockets of nature to allow those animals and the plants that form their habitat to survive.

A little more than $500,000 will be spent surveying and designing fish passages in streams along the mid-coast. Another $350,000 will go toward fish passage and improving irrigation on Honey Creek in Lane County.

BLM will spend $275,000 to replace culverts and ensure safe passage for fish in Smith Creek in Tillamook County, and $40,000 to do the same in Michaels Creek in Lane County.

There's $95,000 to repair the habitat for Coho salmon in Swartz Creek, also in Lane County. Woodward Creek, a stream in Coos County, will get $75,000 worth of fish habitat improvements.

In eastern Oregon, the bureau will spend $198,000 repairing riparian fences along the North Fork John Day River. Years of heavy grazing by cattle has damaged the natural plants that grow along riverbeds, and losing that shade causes stream temperatures to rise to unhealthy levels for fish.

Another $95,000 will go toward eradicating invasive plants in prairies and in wetlands west of Eugene.

The bureau manages 15.7 million acres in Oregon, about a quarter of the state's land.


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