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Congressman Young Announces USDA Funds to Restore and Conserve Salmon Habitat in Alaska

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Alaska Congressman Don Young today announced that the State of Alaska will receive $634,144 in 2005 to help restore and conserve salmon habitat in Alaska. These funds are part of the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program's (WHIP) Salmon Habitat Restoration Initiative, first announced last March.

"I am pleased Alaska will receive these funds. This initiative provides continued support for the Administration's commitment to restoring the health of critical salmon habitat in our great state. Salmon is a great resource of revenue and food supply for many Alaskans. I am pleased the administration understands the importance of this industry," said Congressman Young.

Through this initiative, USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) helps landowners with projects that restore habitat for Pacific and Atlantic salmon. Projects may include providing shade along streams, restoring gravel spawning beds, removing barriers to fish passages and reducing agricultural runoff. Maintaining healthy watersheds will ensure long-term salmon survival.
WHIP is a voluntary conservation program that provides technical and financial assistance to landowners and others to develop upland, wetland, riparian and aquatic habitat areas on their property. The program offers landowners 5- to 10-year agreements and 15-year or longer agreements.

Since WHIP began in 1998, more than 18,000 participants have enrolled more than 2.8 million acres into the program. During the first year of the Salmon Habitat Restoration Initiative, NRCS signed 47 contracts and agreements with landowners, tribes and municipalities totaling $3.3 million to improve nearly 900 acres of riparian habitat and to open hundreds of miles of streams for fish passage.

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