Volunteer / Cooperative Programs - Regional Fisheries Enhancement Groups (RFEG)
Date Published: January 2012
Number of Pages: 72
“Dedicated To Community-Based Salmon Enhancement In Washington State”
The Regional Fisheries Enhancement Groups (RFEGs) are a statewide network of non-profit communitybased salmon enhancement organizations. In 1990, the Washington State Legislature created the RFEG Program to involve local communities, citizen volunteers and landowners in the state’s salmon recovery efforts. The purpose of the RFEG program is to engage local communities in activities and projects that increase salmon populations throughout Washington State.
The 14 RFEGs share the unique role of involving communities in salmon enhancement activities across the state. The RFEGs have a common goal of enhancing salmonid populations and habitat in their regionsand leveraging contributions and support from local communities. The RFEGs create dynamic partnerships with local, state and federal agencies, Native American tribes, local businesses, citizen groups and landowners. Through these collaborative efforts RFEGs help lead their communities in successful enhancement, restoration, assessment, education and monitoring projects.
Each RFEG works within a specific geographic region based generally on watershed boundaries (see map on page 6). Every group is a separate, non-profit organization led by their own board of directors and supported by their members. The long term vision of the RFEG program is that Washington State communities actively care and are good stewards for abundant salmon populations for future generations.
Individual donations and in-kind contributions from local community members and businesses are essential to the success of each RFEG. Partial funding for the RFEG Program comes from a portion of commercial and recreational fishing license fees and egg and carcass sales administered by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Individual RFEGs also obtain many grants from other government and private entities. In recent years the RFEG Program has successfully worked with U.S. Representatives and Senators to secure funding from the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
During the 2010-2011 fiscal year, the RFEGs collectively completed 117 projects ranging from education and outreach to monitoring and, of course, on the ground salmon enhancement projects. RFEG volunteers donated over 85,836 hours to these salmon enhancement efforts in 2010-11. One-half of the RFEGs participated in fish production projects, releasing 1.2 million fish into local watersheds. Fifteen fish passage improvement projects opened 23.47 miles of habitat for migrating salmon. Seventeen miles of habitat was enhanced and restored for salmonids and 69,601 salmon carcasses were returned to streams to add nutrients to local watersheds for juvenile salmon, bears, eagles and over 130 other species of wildlife.
Since 1995, these accomplishments add up to:
- 3,190 total salmon projects;
- 1,159,505 volunteer hours;
- 69.2 million salmon released into Washington waters;
- 735 fish passage problems fixed;
- 846 miles of fish habitat opened;
- 524 additional miles of habitat restored;
- 962,893 fish carcasses placed back in streams for nutrient enhancement;
- $144,234,575 in additional leveraged funding for salmon restoration efforts.
The RFEG program makes a special contribution to Washington’s salmon recovery efforts by:
- leveraging local and private money;
- promoting stewardship through volunteer involvement;
- working cooperatively with diverse interest groups; and,
- building on each year’s successes.