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EBTJV announces $240,604 in funding for five habitat conservation projects

FY24 awards announcement

EBTJV's FY24 projects are located in Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maryland, and North Carolina.

The Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture (EBTJV) is proud to announce that five Brook Trout conservation projects were awarded a total of $240,604 in NFHP-FWS funds for 2024. These projects exemplify the kinds of science-based conservation and restoration activities that will enhance or restore populations of wild Brook Trout. These projects pull in multiple partners - and over $800,000 in other funding contributions - to ultimately improve fishable populations of Brook Trout by improving habitat complexity and riparian cover of cold water habitats, removing barriers to connectivity, controlling non-native species, and restoring (repopulating) Brook Trout to streams where they had been extirpated.

Three of the five projects will remove or make steps towards removing or remediating a total of five barriers to fish passage, including two dams, two culverts, and one vented ford. These connectivity initiatives are important to supporting or improving population persistence, genetic integrity, and climate resilience of wild Brook Trout. 

A fourth project will use genetic information to guide selection of source stock to translocate 600 native Brook Trout back into over 2 miles of stream in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, following removal of non-native rainbow trout. 

A fifth project will work with the Maine Army National Guard to transport large wood material to a restoration site on a Downeast Maine river, via helicopter. This will allow the partners to implement multiple forms of wood addition in drainage areas otherwise difficult to access to create a more habitat diverse system that facilitates sediment transport, pool and cover formation, and improves in-stream temperatures.

For more information on each of this year's projects, please visit the FY24 projects page. Congratulations to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Project SHARE, The Organization for the Assabet Sudbury and Concord Rivers, and Trout Unlimited.

Funding information:

From FY 2006 through FY 2024, the US Fish and Wildlife Service allocated $4.3 million to the EBTJV in support of 107 on the ground brook trout conservation projects, while project partners contributed $23 million, which equates to a 5:1 ratio of partner to Service funds. Over the same period, the FWS allocated an additional $1.2M to 18 EBTJV operational, outreach, and assessment grants. Hundreds of organizations have been involved in these projects, including NGOs, state agencies, federal agencies, watershed groups, indigenous tribes, businesses, educational institutions, and local governments. These projects have removed 120 barriers, reconnected 453 miles of stream, and enhanced or restored 359 acres of riparian habitat.

The FY25 award cycle closed in February, and we anticipate making an announcement on those awards next spring.  To apply for a future round of NFHP funding (FY26), visit the Funding page in October this year.

A high priority is placed on projects that utilize proven methods that address the root of the cause of decline in the catchment, rather than just treat the symptom of the impairment. Priorities are  placed on projects that address EBTJV’s Conservation Actions, the NFHP Conservation Priorities, state-level Action Plans, that occur in a brook trout patch or expand a Brook Trout patch, result in Brook Trout occupying habitat where it had been extirpated, and that expand public access (amongst many other criteria). Projects must contain an outreach component and monitor project success. 

In addition to the written proposal, applicants must coordinate with and include a letter of endorsement from the State Fish and Wildlife Agency.

The EBTJV has six priority Conservation Actions that the partnership promotes to achieve its range wide goals and objectives for conservation. 

      Increase recreational fishing opportunities for wild Brook Trout

      Conserve and increase habitats that support robust wild Brook Trout populations

      Restore and reconnect suitable habitats adjacent to robust wild Brook Trout populations

      Conserve genetic diversity of wild Brook Trout populations

      Minimize threats to wild Brook Trout populations (e.g., degraded water quality, invasive species, altered hydrologic regimes)

      Conserve unique wild Brook Trout life history strategies (e.g., lacustrine populations, large river populations, and coastal populations)

About the EBTJV:

The EBTJV is a unique network that connects the leading scientists, fisheries managers, and experts from state, federal, NGO and other on-the-ground practitioners across 17 states. We work collaboratively with partners at multiple geographic and jurisdictional scales to reverse the declining trend for wild Brook Trout, and are one of the twenty members of the National Fish Habitat Partnership.

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