Restoration & Enhancement Fund
Yukon River Salmon Agreement authorizes US-sponsored appropriations for funding programs in the US. and Canada which focus on the restoration, conservation, and enhancement of Canadian-origin salmon stocks. In Canada, funding is also extended to projects and programs directed at developing stewardship salmon habitat and resources and maintaining viable fisheries within the Yukon River drainage. Through these efforts both countries anticipate a return to recent salmon harvest levels and the long-term sustainability of the salmon fisheries.
Appropriations (treaty implementation funds) to implement the provisions of the Agreement are enacted by the US. Congress through the Yukon River Salmon Act (US) and include up to $US 4 million a year, of which $US 1.2 million goes to the Restoration and Enhancement Fund (R&E Fund). Treaty implementation funds must be appropriated by the U.S. Congress each year.
The appropriations granted to the R&E Fund are managed by the Yukon River Panel to support efforts to increase understanding of the factors that affect Yukon River salmon health and abundance. According to the Agreement, of the $US 1.2 million, 50% shall be disbursed on Canadian programs and projects as approved by the Canadian section of the Panel, based on recommendations by the Canadian section of the Joint Technical Committee and determined by the full Panel to be consistent with the principles and guidelines laid out in the Agreement.
The Panel as a whole decides how the remaining 50% of the R&E Fund should be allocated for programs and projects occurring either in Canada or the US. The remainder of the treaty implementation funds, $US 2.8 million, goes towards US management efforts. Further implementation of Canadian responsibilities, as stated in the Agreement (such as Panel participation and management of fisheries), are supported by funds provided through the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), Canada.
The R&E Fund is guided by the following principles:
- Restoration, conservation and enhancement programs & projects shall be consistent with the protection of existing wild salmon stocks and the habitats upon which they depend;
- Given the wild nature of the Yukon River and its salmon stocks, and the substantial risks associated with the large-scale enhancement through artificial propagation, such enhancement activities are inappropriate at this time; and
- Artificial propagation shall not be used as a substitute for effective fishery regulation, stock, and habitat management or protection.
The R&E funding process is initiated every fall with a Call for Conceptual Proposals. It is guided by the R&E Fund priorities and evaluation framework. The JTC, after reviewing submitted proposals for technical merit, assists an R&E subcommittee to screen these conceptual proposals for the Panel. Based on the merits and appropriateness of the proposed project, the Panel decides which applicants should submit a full detailed proposal. These proposals are reviewed by the Panel and JTC members in mid-winter. Final funding decisions are made by the Panel in March or early April. (For more information visit Current Projects or search past projects at Restoration and Enhancement Projects)
The R&E subcommittee worked on a Budget Priorities Framework to identify areas where more knowledge and research is needed (Blewett, 2003; updated 2006). Criteria were set, by a representative group of JTC and Panel members, to prioritize the needs of salmon, to guide the R&E proposal process and to help distribute the R&E Fund. Seven areas, including:
- Viable fisheries
- Administration, and
have been established as areas of activity requiring R&E funding. Organizations interested in submitting a proposal for the R&E Fund are encouraged to contact the Executive Secretary of the Panel and agency technical staff. For more information about the application process visit Restoration and Enhancement Applications.