Salmon grants total nearly $20 million statewide

Washington state’s Salmon Recovery Funding Board on Thursday awarded nearly $20 million for ecosystem restoration projects next year.

I outlined the projects for the Kitsap Peninsula and Hood Canal in a Kitsap Sun story last week.

It’s worth noting that Gov. Chris Gregoire continues to tout the economic benefits of environmental restoration, as well as the benefits to Puget Sound, the Columbia River and other important ecosystems.

“The health of salmon populations is an indication of the health of our environment,” Gregoire said. “These grants will not only help protect and restore our land and water, but many will help stimulate our economy. Some of these grants create jobs with small companies to complete the restoration work. These grants also help keep Washington a place that people want to visit for its natural resources.”

Some observers say Puget Sound restoration will be proposed as part of this state’s economic stimulus package to be funded by the federal government.

For information about how the grants are awarded, check out the news release by the SRF Board. Because the link was not working today, I’ve pasted the information below:

Gov. Gregoire Announces more than $19.8 Million in Grants for Salmon Recovery

OLYMPIA – Governor Chris Gregoire today announced that more than $19.8 million in grants to protect and restore salmon populations have been awarded to communities across Washington.

“The health of salmon populations is an indication of the health of our environment,” Gregoire said. “These grants will not only help protect and restore our land and water, but many will help stimulate our economy. Some of these grants create jobs with small companies to complete the restoration work. These grants also help keep Washington a place that people want to visit for its natural resources.”

The grants in the Puget Sound area also work toward implementing Governor Gregoire’s initiative to restore Puget Sound.

The grants from the Salmon Recovery Funding Board ranged from $10,000 to nearly $900,000. They were awarded to organizations in 28 counties for work ranging from planting trees along streams to cool the water for salmon, to replacing culverts that prevent salmon from migrating to spawning habitat, to restoring entire floodplains.

The grants were given to projects in the following counties. (For details on each project, download from the Web.)

Asotin County…………………………. $46,410
Chelan County……………………… $956,568
Clallam County…………………….. $883,578
Clark County…………………………. $532,644
Columbia County…………………. $694,619
Cowlitz County……………………… $826,639
Grays Harbor County……………. $467,753
Island County……………………….. $267,538
Jefferson County……………….. $1,021,906
King County………………………. $1,539,572
Kitsap County……………………….. $382,395
Kittitas County……………………. $1,050,370
Klickitat County…………………….. $693,275
Lewis County………………………… $596,606
Mason County………………………. $968,161
Okanogan County……………… $1,213,432
Pacific County………………………. $448,887
Pend Oreille County……………… $400,000
Pierce County……………………….. $867,577
San Juan County…………………. $341,412
Skagit County…………………….. $1,455,558
Skamania County…………………. $417,000
Snohomish County………………. $767,766
Thurston County…………………… $296,394
Wahkiakum County……………… $663,790
Walla Walla County………………. $931,664
Whatcom County………………….. $712,550
Yakima County…………………….. $370,630

“These projects are identified and prioritized by local watershed groups, who know what’s happening in their communities,” said Steve Tharinger, chairman of the Salmon Recovery Funding Board. “The state’s scientific panel then reviews the projects to ensure that each project will be effective in bringing salmon populations back from the brink of extinction. Linking local priorities with scientific review has made Washington a national model in salmon recovery.”

Several populations of salmon were 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’s watersheds were affected by Endangered Species Act listings of salmon 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 more than $345 million in grants, funded by federal and state dollars, for 1,115 projects. Grantees have contributed more than $160 million in matching resources, bringing the total investment to more than $506 million.

The Salmon Recovery Funding Board’s citizen members are appointed by the governor and they are: Harry Barber, Washougal; Donald “Bud” Hover, Okanogan County; Bob Nichols, Olympia; Steve Tharinger, Clallam County; and David Troutt, Dupont. Five state agency directors also serve as members (Conservation Commission, Department of Ecology, Department of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Natural Resources and Department of Transportation). Information about the Salmon Recovery Funding Board is available online.

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