"These grants will do a number of things,” said Steve Tharinger, chair of the Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board. “They will put people to work repairing damage to salmon habitat, and they will help us conserve land important for salmon recovery. Without grants like these, there would be no hope that we ever would recover salmon from the brink of extinction.”
Grant funding comes primarily from the Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration fund, which was created in 2007 as part of Governor Chris Gregoire’s intiative to restore Puget Sound. Additional funding comes from state salmon recovery funding and two federal programs – the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Puget Sound Critical Stock program for addressing the needs of listed fish in Puget Sound.
“Projects funded by the Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration fund, with local government, non-profit, tribal, and federal matches, are the centerpiece of implementing the recovery plan for Puget Sound,” said David Dicks, director of the Puget Sound Partnership, a state agency created to lead the efforts to restore Puget Sound. “The fund has already enabled implementation of more than 150 high priority projects around Puget Sound to reconnect river floodplains, restore estuaries and remove barriers to fish passage. Further, these projects have created much needed jobs.”
The grants range from $35,000 to more than $1.3 million and cover a variety of activities, including fixing barriers to fish migration, restoring estuaries and floodplains, rerouting stream channels and protecting shorelines.
“These projects were developed by local communities and reviewed by a state panel of scientists. It helps us ensure we are funding the best projects from a scientific and engineering perspective and those with the most community support around the Puget Sound,” said Kaleen Cottingham, director of the Recreation and Conservation Office, which administers the grants. “The communities believe in these projects and are contributing more than $7.5 million in matching resources to ensure these projects get done.”
Grants were awarded to organizations in the counties below. Visit the board’s Web site for project details:
San Juan County
Salmon, a cultural icon for Washington State, were first put on the federal list of endangered species in 1991. By then, the number of salmon had fallen to only 40 percent of historic levels in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and California. By 1999, almost three-fourths of Washington was affected by Endangered Species Act listings of salmon, steelhead and bull trout.
Those listings set off a series of activities including the formation of the Salmon Recovery Funding Board to oversee the investment of state and federal funds for salmon recovery. Since 2000, the board has awarded nearly $460 million in grants, funded by federal and state dollars, for more than 1,800 projects. Grantees have contributed nearly $200 million in matching resources, bringing the total investment to more than $600 million. Funding for the grants announced today was approved by the Washington Legislature earlier this year.