California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Coho Salmon Habitat Enhancement Leading to Preservation Act (Coho HELP Act)

Fish and Game Code Section 6950 et seq.

On January 1, 2013, the Coho Salmon Habitat Enhancement Leading to Preservation Act, or Coho HELP Act, went into effect.  The Coho HELP Act allows persons, public agencies, and nonprofit organizations to request approval from CDFW for a “coho salmon habitat enhancement project,” defined as a restoration project in a region described in an adopted state or federal coho salmon recovery plan with the primary purpose of accomplishing one or more of the following:

  • The removal of a road crossing and/or the replacement of a culvert either of which prevents, impedes, or tends to prevent or impede the passing of fish up and down stream.
  • The restoration of eroded or denuded streambanks using predominantly nonrock bioengineering practices and revegetating stream corridors with native riparian species focused on promoting tree establishment along the active channel and on streambanks for the purposes of bank stabilization, bank development, and live wood complexity.
  • Wood placement that benefits naturally reproducing fish stocks by creating or enhancing fish habitat and/or increasing stream complexity.

If CDFW approves a project under the act, the project proponent does not need to obtain any CDFW permit, license, or approval for the project, including, but not limited to, an incidental take permit under the California Endangered Species Act (Fish & G. Code, § 2050 et seq.) and a lake or streambed alteration agreement under Fish and Game Code section 1600 et seq.

To request CDFW approval of a project under the act, the project proponent must submit to CDFW a Coho HELP Act Project Request Application (DFW 739 (New 1/13)) in accordance with the instructions to complete the form, and the applicable project fee.

A copy of the Coho HELP Act; the Coho HELP Act Project Request Form and applicable attachments; the instructions to complete the request form, which includes the fee schedule; and other materials that relate to the Coho HELP Act are available on this web page.

For more information regarding the Coho HELP Act and CDFW’s review and approval of Coho HELP Act projects, please contact:

Mary Olswang: (916) 445-7633 or
Kevin Shaffer: (916) 327-2241 or