Tester Secures More Than $1.5 Million for Fish Passage Projects in Montana

This year, nearly $38 million from Senator’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will support diverse community and aquatic conservation needs

U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.) today announced more than $1.5 million to support Montana fish passage projects funded through his bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). This Fiscal Year 2022 funding will go toward improving connectivity for native Montana fish in Ravalli, Deer Lodge, Powell, Lewis and Clark, and Beaverhead Counties.

Tester negotiated the IIJA and helped pass it into law last year, and he was the only member of Montana’s Congressional delegation to support the bipartisan legislation.

“Clean water and wildlife conservation are two key tenants to preserving the public lands that help power our recreation economy and are at the heart of our state’s natural beauty,” Tester said. “I’m proud to have worked with my colleagues in both parties to ensure that our infrastructure bill secured funding for this critical program that will support our native fish and ensure Montana’s future economic growth.”

A breakdown of the projects is below:

  • The Ravalli and Deer Lodge County projects will receive $230,000 in IIJA funding and $846,700 in partner match funding for fish passage and infrastructure improvements to benefit native bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout. The improvements will re-open 55 miles and 270 acres of habitat to allow these species better migratory access to spawning grounds.
  • The Powell, Lewis and Clark, and Beaverhead County projects will receive $250,000 in IIJA funding and $190,000 in partner match funding to improve connectivity for native bull trout and arctic grayling by restoring 20 miles of upstream habitat.

A longtime champion for fish and wildlife preservation, Tester last September helped secure $1.3 million to help Montana, Fish, Wildlife, & Parks (FWP) acquire over 100 acres of land along the north shore of Flathead Lake for a new state park, and an additional $472,500 to help FWP clean up and renovate Westside Park in Missoula. He was also a strong supporter of President Biden’s nominee for Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Montana’s own Martha Williams, and pushed for her swift confirmation in February, citing the importance of balanced oversight and masterful management of the nation’s fish and wildlife recovery.

Since 1999, the National Fish Passage Program has worked with over 2,000 local communities, Tribes, and landowners, providing financial, engineering and planning assistance in order to reopen access to 57,736 miles of upstream habitat and 193,783 acres of wetland habitat for fish and other animals. Smart investments to improve developments help restore fish while ensuring Montanans can continue making a living on the same footprint. The IIJA includes $200 million over five years for this program, and will allocate nearly $38 million for 40 fish passage projects.