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New grant program helps pay for projects to improve stream habitat

The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) is accepting grant applications for the new Small Forestland Investment in Stream Habitat (SFISH) Program.

“Our goal is to improve fish habitat and water quality while helping small forestland owners fix their roads which are essential for the management of their forestlands,” said SFISH program coordinator Josh Hanson.

The SFISH Program is a grant program established to help small forestland owners (SFOs) with road improvement projects that increase fish habitat connectivity or minimize sediment delivery to streams.

“The grant program will provide more than $6M to fund the replacement of culverts or fords in fish streams, repair abandoned roads, and fix roads with perched fill that pose a significant hazard to fish-bearing streams,” said Hanson. “The program can fund 100 percent of the cost of a project, including project design and construction.”

SFISH is just one of the incentive programs developed and funded to help support landowners with the many changes to the Forest Practices Act brought about by the landmark Private Forest Accord (PFA). The PFA provides better protection for aquatic wildlife and regulatory certainty for forestland owners. The legislation accompanying the PFA included establishing the Small Forestland Owner (SFO) Office to provide technical assistance, supporting services, and the management of incentive programs for SFOs. One of the programs managed by ODF’s SFO Office is the SFISH program.

The application process includes filling out an application form and completing a Road Condition Assessment.

“There is no deadline for applications,” said Hanson. “But to have your project considered for the first round of funding that is anticipated to occur in Spring 2024, applications should be submitted as soon as possible.”

Visit ODF’s SFISH Program webpage to learn more about eligibility requirements and how to apply to have your project assessed and placed on a ranking list for funding. You can also reach out to your local ODF forester to learn more about the SFISH Program.

 

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