Fish Passage Program - Southeast Region
The Fish Passage Program’s primary focus is to remove barriers to fish passage. Secondarily, the program strives to replace or retrofit barriers to passage and to provide funding for fishway design. Monitoring and evaluation of these activities can also be funded so long as they are part of an overall project that improves passage and they do not represent more than about 30% of the total funding.

Potential fish passage projects should first be discussed with either Tom Sinclair in the Regional Fisheries Office (404-679-7324) or with Tripp Boltin at the Wadmalaw Island Fish and Wildlife Management Assistance Office (843-819-1229). This initial review will help to minimize your project development investment and also work to improve your project’s chances of being funded. Once this informal review is completed, fish passage projects can be submitted to a Fisheries Field Office or the Regional Fisheries Office anytime during a fiscal year. A one-page request form that describes the project and a pre-project photo are all that are initially required. Information from this form and the photo are then loaded into the Fisheries Operational Needs System (FONS) for further consideration

During October of each year, submitted projects are evaluated as to their overall priority with regard to permanence of fish passage benefits, ecological benefits for Federal trust species, minimum cost to the Service for operation and maintenance, the number of partners involved, maximizing matching fund contributions, addressing objectives in approved fishery management plans, use of current scientific knowledge and proven technology, and their cost-to-benefit ratio (miles or acres of habitat to which access is restored/dollars expended).

The National Fish Passage Program (NFPP) is a voluntary, non-regulatory initiative that provides funding and technical assistance to reconnect the aquatic habitat by removing or bypassing barriers.

NFPP was initiated in 1999 to address structures built on rivers and their effects on fish and other aquatic species. NFPP program coordinators work with local communities and partner agencies to restore natural flows and fish migration by removing or bypassing barriers. Perched culverts and sediment inputs are common problems that impact fish passage at road stream crossings. Dams and other artificial barriers can also interfere with the movement patterns of fish. 

National Fish Passage programs benefits the local communities by providing ecological and recreational benefits such as: increases river connectivity creating healthier aquatic habitat for fish and wildlife, improving water quality and quantity, improving sediment management, restoring and protects aquatic and riparian habitat and It provides a solution to continued decline of freshwater species in the face of climate and other ecological uncertainties.

National Fish Passage Program project funding benefits the economy of local communities at the same time as enhancing the vitality of our critical and unique aquatic resources. More than 70% of the NFPP’s total funding goes directly to on-the-ground project implementation.

NFPP Benefits local communities faced with the expense of maintaining obsolete dams removes the threat of unsafe-killer dams and culverts and help withstand catastrophic events such as flood due to not properly designed culverts. Culverts survive the 100 to 500-year flood event if fish-friendly sizing and positioning put in place and reduces the local communities’ loss to important road infrastructure at stream crossings from flooding.

Proposals must be submitted to a Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office Biologist to be formally considered for funding.  To begin this process, please contact your Regional Fish Passage Coordinator, or your local Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office.  Service Biologists will discuss the project with you and help in ensuring it is a good fit for the National Fish Passage Program.  It is recommended that you do this early in the process so that they can help guide the creation of the proposal and provide templates or formatting instructions.  NFPP funding cannot be used for mitigation projects or for those required by other regulation.

Proposals are accepted year round, however, the funding cycle for Fish Passage projects begins each year in August and ends with funds awarded the following spring.  Funding is administered through the Regional and local Fish and Wildlife Conservation Offices.

Please note that fish passage projects are not eligible for funding if they are eligible for any Federal or State compensatory mitigation or if fish passage is a condition provided by existing Federal or State regulatory programs.

Contact Fish Passage Program - Southeast Region

Walter “Tripp” Boltin
Fish Biologist
7030 Bears Bluff Road
Wadmalaw Island, South Carolina  29487
Phone: 843-819-1229
Fax: 843 559-3002


Service Area

Statewide Program in:
  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • North Carolina
  • Puerto Rico
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee

Office Locaters

To request additions or corrections to this entry email the Administrator