NFWF Awards Trout Unlimited $410,000 to Help Recover Coho Salmon in the Russian River

SAN FRANCISCO (August 22, 2018) – The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today awarded a $410,000 grant to Trout Unlimited to recover a viable, self-sustaining population of coho salmon in the Russian River watershed in Sonoma County, California. Trout Unlimited will provide $410,000 in matching contributions, for a total conservation impact of $820,000.

The grant was awarded through the Russian River Coho Program​, a partnership between NFWF and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that seeks to restore coho salmon in the Russian River by changing traditional water management practices on a watershed scale. 

The funds will support the Russian River Coho Water Resources Partnership, whose members include Trout Unlimited, the Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District, the Sonoma Resource Conservation District, the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, and the University of California Cooperative Extension program. Formed in 2009 with support from NFWF, the partnership aims to develop a systematic approach to improve streamflow and water supply reliability in key Russian River tributaries.

“Conservation projects can generate benefits not just for fish and wildlife, but also for local communities and economies,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “Such is the case with voluntary on-the-ground efforts supported by NFWF’s Russian River Coho Water Resources Partnership. These projects create win-win scenarios and support and complement conservation efforts of biologists, hydrologists, resource managers, nonprofits and community leaders.” 

The partnership will utilize the grant awarded today to develop projects that put more water in key coho streams, and to carry out streamflow and coho salmon population monitoring programs. Even small amounts of running water in key tributary streams can keep pools connected and allow young salmon to survive through the dry summer months. The partnership will also expand their research to identify flow thresholds that both enable coho salmon to survive, and allow for salmon movement and growth. 

Central California Coast coho salmon are considered one of the most at-risk marine species by NOAA Fisheries and have been listed endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act since 2005. The salmon start their lives in rivers like the Russian River, and then migrate to the Pacific Ocean. After three years, coho salmon return to the river from which they hatched to spawn and die. The Russian River is particularly important because it is the largest watershed in the fish’s range and contains 17 percent of the historical habitat. 

About the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Chartered by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores the nation’s fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Working with federal, corporate and individual partners, NFWF has funded more than 4,500 organizations and generated a conservation impact of more than $4.8 billion. Learn more at

About the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
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