Tester Secures $900,000 for Fish Passage Projects in Western Montana

Funding will come from Senator’s bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

U.S. Senator Jon Tester announced today he has secured more than $900,000 from his bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) for Montana fish passage projects. This funding will help open and improve more than 66 miles of rivers and streams in western Montana through barrier removals, culvert repairs and replacements, and other stream improvements.  

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.

“Restoring our watersheds and improving the resiliency of our native species is good for Montana’s rivers and our state’s recreational economy that relies on them,” Tester said. “That’s why I’m proud to have secured this funding to expand critical infrastructure for wildlife and support the small businesses that power Montana’s outdoor economy.”

This funding will go toward projects across Beaverhead, Lewis and Clark, Missoula, and Powell Counties, and will benefit fish and recreation opportunities by improving access to habitat, providing colder water, restoring stream function, and reconnecting floodplains. These projects will contribute significantly to local watershed restoration efforts and economic development.

A longtime champion for fish and wildlife preservation, Tester secured more than $1.5 million from IIJA for fish passage projects in Montana last April. And in September of 2021, Tester 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 last year, 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, allocating nearly $38 million for 40 fish passage projects in this announcement alone.


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