Whole Watershed Restoration Initiative
The Whole Watershed Restoration Initiative is a public-private competitive grant program that focuses on salmon habitat restoration efforts in areas of high ecological importance in Oregon and Washington.
Who We Are
Started in 2007, the Whole Watershed Restoration Initiative (WWRI) is a partnership between Ecotrust, the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, USDA Forest Service, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration Restoration Center, the Bureau of Land Management and the Natural Resource Conservation Service. Each of the state and federal agency partners contributes restoration dollars to the Initiative. Ecotrust then makes this pooled fund available as grants to local groups for on-the-ground restoration work.
We work together in order to bring new restoration funding to the Pacific Northwest so as to increase our impact. The partners' shared philosophy is that by concentrating and coordinating salmon habitat restoration efforts where there is strong community support, effective collaboration, and high ecological value, measurable and sustainable recovery can be achieved faster than when efforts are spread randomly across the landscape. The WWRI also endeavors to create local jobs, promote awareness of watershed issues, and increase citizen participation in salmon recovery.
Where We Work
Together the partners first identify Priority Basins and Focus Watersheds in the Pacific Northwest that have the highest ecological values and potential responsiveness to restoration efforts. We provide funding for projects in these areas that aim to restore and protect major ecological functions by removing risk factors and restoring damaged habitat-forming processes in the watershed. Once the work restoring major ecological processes is completed within an individual Focus Watershed, restoration efforts and funding will then be concentrated on other areas; thus the geographic focus will change over time.
Initial priority areas were identified using Ecotrust's conservation planning priorities tool combined with outputs from the Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Region Basin-scale Restoration Prioritization Process. The current WWRI working geography includes twenty-six Focus Watersheds within seven Priority Basins across Oregon and Washington (see map).
Each year the WWRI supports restoration projects with between $1 and $2 million in grant funds. Projects funded to date range from dam and culvert removal to re-establishing river flow patterns and restoring riparian areas to road decommissioning. Successful projects improve the health of streams and anadromous fish while engaging and building capacity in local communities. Grantees include tribes, local governments, non-profit organizations such as watershed councils and Soil and Water Conservation Districts, educational institutions, and other non-governmental community groups. Federal agencies also receive grant funds, often in partnership with non-federal local organizations.
Requests for Proposals
for 2014 WWRI funding were due January 9, 2014. Award decisions will be announced by the end of March 2014.
Previous RFPs and application forms are available for download.
If you would like to be added to the distribution list for future RFP announcements,
please contact the
WWRI Fast Facts
- 382 miles of rivers and streams have been re-opened to anadromous fish since 2008.
- 1,500 hours of family-wage work are generated, on average, with each funded project.
- More than 4,600 acres of habitat are projected to be restored from projects started during 2008 to 2010.
- Over 5,160 volunteer hours have been contributed to WWRI projects by local citizens in four years.
- Seventeen independent films were submitted to the Stories From Our Watersheds Film Contest in 2010, giving us insight — beyond numbers — into what watershed restoration means to local communities.