February 01, 2005

Crapo Wants Idaho IncludedIn New Salmon Funding Initiative

Says NRCS should correct â??oversight,â?? add Idaho landowners

Washington, DC - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo is calling on the head of the U.S. Department of Agricultureâ??s Natural Resources Conservation Service to correct an â??oversightâ?? that has left Idaho out of a new initiative on salmon recovery. Crapo asked NRCS Chief Bruce Knight to allow Idahoans to share in the $3.5 million being made available for those looking to improve salmon habitat by applying through the NRCS Wildlife Incentives Program. NRCS announced this week that residents of Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, and Maine would be eligible for apply for the federal money aimed as incentive for landowners to improve habitat for salmon.â??The facts show Idaho has roughly half the spawning habitat for steelhead and chinook salmon,â?? Crapo said. â??Just a few months ago I joined with my Western colleagues to persuade Congress that Idaho needs to be included in federal funding for salmon conservation through the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund. I am now spreading that word to the USDA. It needs to recognize Idaho is a major player in salmon and steelhead recovery efforts.â?? USDA has said the types of projects that it considers eligible for NRCS funds include restoration of gravel spawning beds in salmon streams, tree planting to shade habitat areas which will keep water temperatures lower, removal of barriers to habitat migration, and reducing farm runoff. â??All of these efforts contribute to the salmon returning to spawn and much of that spawning is done right here in Idaho,â?? Crapo concluded. â??I am confident the USDA will recognize the important role that Idahoans play in this recovery effort and will move to include Idaho in this new funding initiative for landowners and salmon.â??# # #