Partners in each sub-basin serve a critical role in grass-roots salmon recovery, and their presence is missed by many. Below are a few examples of issues project sponsors are having due to the federal government shutdown. Some of these issues may equate to cost increases. It is possible some sponsors may need to go back to funders and request cost amendments.
Jessica Goldberg from the Methow Salmon Recovery Foundation (MSRF) describes how two projects on Upper Beaver Creek are impacted by the absence of partners who work for the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) and United States Geological Survey (USGS). The Upper Beaver Channel Restoration Project, currently under construction on private land, and the Marrachi Diversion Project, scheduled for construction later this month, both need to be completed within very tight timeframes. For the channel project, MSRF had to hire contractors for construction observation, a role that furloughed USFWS staff is unable to fulfill. Jessica said USGS staff was also unable to assist in the de-fishing phase of the channel project, removing fish in portions of the approximately 1200 foot channel that is being realigned. MSRF is extremely grateful to WDFW staff that came to the rescue last week to help with de-fishing, allowing the contractor to proceed and avoiding another project cost increase.
If the shutdown lasts more than another week, MSRF will have to cancel the Marrachi project for this year, creating additional work and expense to renew permits and re-advertise for bids next year. Unexpected cost increases are difficult for small organizations like MSRF to absorb, but MSRF would rather scramble to find needed resources than let critical projects stall in the face of the government shutdown.
Bob Clark with Okanogan Conservation District (OCD) recently described how the OCD staff had to move to an employee’s basement. Although OCD is a non-federal organization, they are unable to operate out of their office in the now closed federal building. They had to move their server, computers, copy machines and critical supplies to an alternate location to continue functioning. The OCD is continuing to serve its cooperators during the federal shutdown.
Thanks to Bob Clark/OCD and Jessica Goldberg/MSRF