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Senators Said Funding Will Protect Unique Fish Species, Like American Eel, Brook Trout, & Atlantic Salmon Living In Boquet River, Which Impacts Sports Tourism And The Local Economy

Funding Comes From Biden Administration’s Recently Announced $70 Million For National Fish Passage Program Projects To Address Climate Resilience and Strengthen Local Economies

Schumer: Fed $$ Are Now Flowing To The North Country To Protect Vital Wildlife And Boost Tourism Economy!

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $500,000 in federal funding from the National Fish Passage Program to replace an existing dual culvert crossing over the North Branch of the Boquet River with a 120-foot bridge. The funding will improve fish passage around this outdated culvert, a barrier which is fragmenting the river, protecting key wildlife species. The senators said this will federal support will improve climate resilience, protect vital wildlife, increase recreational tourism opportunities, and strengthen the local economy.

“This $500,000 in federal funding is flowing to replace the Boquet River culvert with a new bridge, protecting critical wildlife species, boosting North Country infrastructure, and boosting sports tourism and the local economy. This major infrastructure improvement will not only protect the river’s flourishing wildife, from Atlantic Salmon to Brook trout, but make a vital upgrade that will benefit the local community and the region’s beautiful waterways and natural habitats,” said Senator Schumer. “I am proud to deliver this critical investment for Essex County, which will turn the tide on the River’s aging infrastructure and increase climate resiliency for the entire region.”

“New York’s rivers and waterways are home to various wildlife species that drive tourism and boost local economies,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This $500,000 in federal funding will bring much-needed infrastructure improvements to the North Branch of the Boquet River by replacing the aging culvert with a new bridge that will help protect local wildlife species and habitats. I’m proud to deliver this funding for the North Country and will continue to fight for federal resources to protect New York’s vital wildlife.”

The senators explained the current conditions at the Boquet River at Moss Road Barrier include a perched invert aquatic passage barrier, a sheet pile cut off wall aquatic barrier, and complete fragmentation of bank and flood plain connectivity for aquatic and terrestrial passage, with the current opening representing a constriction for the estimated 85-foot bankfull width of the river at that location. The senators said removing this barrier will open 49 upstream miles of river and coldwater tributary habitat for native brook trout, American eel and landlocked Atlantic salmon.

The National Fish Passage Program is a national leader connecting watersheds and people. The program has decades of experience implementing infrastructure projects with partners. Fish passage project proposals can be initiated by any individual, organization, government, or agency.

This investment builds on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2022 and 2023 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law National Fish Passage Program investments of nearly $73 million in funding for 79 projects spanning the U.S. The  Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, championed by Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, included $200 million for restoring fish and wildlife passage by removing in-stream barriers and providing technical assistance under the National Fish Passage Program.