Funding will back a tribal-led initiative to rejuvenate salmon and steelhead populations in the basin.
The Biden administration has committed more than $200 million towards restoring salmon in the Upper Columbia River Basin.
The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, the Coeur d’Alene Tribe and Spokane Tribe of Indians signed the deal with federal officials on Thursday, The Seattle Times reported.
The funding, to be dispensed over the next two decades by the Bonneville Power Administration, will back a tribal-led initiative to rejuvenate salmon and steelhead populations in the basin.
Historically, salmon runs in the Upper Columbia were abundant and vital to tribal cultures and trade. Around 80 years ago, the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam and the Chief Joseph Dam downstream halted salmon migration into the basin and through tribal territories.
The Upper Columbia United Tribes, encompassing tribes from both Washington and Idaho, have spearheaded the salmon reintroduction plan. The initiative, currently in its second phase, encompasses extensive research spanning two decades.
The research aims to source donor and brood salmon stocks, test biological assumptions, and evaluate the program’s efficacy.
The US Bureau of Reclamation has dedicated an additional $8 million for juvenile salmon studies, genetic sampling, and the design development of fish passages.