Tag Archives: economic stimulus

Puget Sound projects fare well in stimulus package

Using federal economic stimulus money, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has allocated $4.5 million to the removal of derelict fishing gear in Puget Sound.

This project and several other stream and estuary restoration projects in Puget Sound are part of an allocation of $167 million nationwide for marine and coastal habitats. See NOAA’s news release for a description of all 50 projects approved under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Kitsap County did not receive money for a new bridge at the Carpenter Creek estuary nor for the next phase of the Chico Creek restoration at Kitsap Golf and Country Club. These were the submissions that came out of this county. Officials held high hopes for approval, since the projects were endorsed by the Puget Sound Partnership and the Governor’s Office — but so were a lot of other projects.

As it turns out, Washington state will be provided 10 percent of the total nationwide funding, which leaves little room for complaint.

“The stimulus funds announced today by NOAA are a great win for Washington’s salmon recovery and Puget Sound restoration efforts,” Gov. Chris Gregoire stated in a news release.

Disappointed Kitsap County officials are regrouping to find another way and other funding to move the two restoration projects forward. See my story slated for tomorrow’s Kitsap Sun.

Carpenter Creek has been on one or more priority lists for years, but the project never seems to get done. In any given year, either the federal dollars aren’t available or the state match can’t be found, or both. I can only remind supporters that a new culvert for Barker Creek in Central Kitsap went through some of the same gyrations before getting built a year ago.

Puget Sound projects that did get funding appear to be quite deserving, according to observers who know the details. Those projects are:

  • Elwha River Floodplain Restoration, Port Angeles, $2 million. In conjunction with the Elwha Dam removal, this project will restore 82 acres of the floodplain of the lower Elwha River through the removal of dikes and culverts, revegetation and invasive species control.
  • Removal of Derelict Fishing Gear in Puget Sound, $4.5 million. This program will remove more than 200 metric tons of marine debris, including more than 3,000 nets. It includes the restoration of 600 acres of habitat.
  • Smuggler’s Slough, Nooksack River Restoration, Bellingham, $1.7 million. The project will raise a roadway, reconnect tidal connections and restore eelgrass habitat over 493 acres of Smuggler’s Slough in Lummi Bay. Seven miles of slough habitat also will be opened.
  • Qwuloolt Estuary Restoration, Marysville, $2 million. This effort will restore 350 acres of wetland and 16 stream miles to allow the passage of several species of salmon on the lower Snohomish River and its surrounding tidal floodplain. Included are the removal of levees, new channel excavation and planting of vegetation.
  • Fisher Slough Marsh Restoration, Burlington, $5.2 million. The project will restore 60 acres of the Skagit River floodplain by replacing antiquated agricultural floodgates and restoring 15 miles of high-quality habitat for chum, coho, chinook and other species.
  • Hansen Creek Floodplain Restoration, Milltown, $988,000. Included in this project are an excavation to reconnect 140 acres of forested floodplain habitat with the addition of woody debris for chum, coho, chinook and other species.

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:
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