Tag Archives: U.S. Sen. Patty Murray

Salmon restoration continues with special funding

The Salmon Recovery Funding Board has approved the list of salmon-restoration projects put forth by regional planning entities — a total of nearly $43 million in all.

In a story in today’s Kitsap Sun, I list the projects in the Hood Canal and East Kitsap areas and remind readers of the work going on in the Skokomish River watershed. A grant of $1.7 million to the Skokomish Tribe was the largest given out for next year, though it actually was approved last May.

If you haven’t seen my four-part series, “Taming the Skokomish,” you may wish to take a look. It outlines the historic problems in the watershed and describes actions being taken to correct them.

In a news release (PDF 20 kb), Steve Tharinger, chairman of the Salmon Recovery Funding Board, explains the purpose of the grants:

“Salmon are an important part of Washington’s economy and culture. These grants are helping us reverse the decline in salmon populations we’ve seen over the past two decades. These grants are not only good for salmon, the environment and the people of Washington, but they are good for the economy because much of this money will be awarded to local organizations to do restoration work in their local communities.

“Local watershed groups develop these projects based on regional recovery plans and with the support of regional salmon recovery organizations. This ‘bottom-up’ approach to salmon recovery ensures that funding is focused on what they see happening in their communities. The projects are then checked by the state’s technical review panel to make sure they will help recover salmon in the most cost-effective manner. This local and state partnership has made Washington a national model in salmon recovery.”

To review all the projects listed by county, download the project document (PDF 178 kb) from the SRF Board’s Web site.

Last week, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray announced in a news release that she was able to keep $80 million in the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund for FY 2010. This is the fund that provides much of the money for these salmon recovery grants.

Earlier this year, the Obama administration eliminated this fund dedicated to Northwest states and put money into a fund for the recovery of fish stocks nationwide. I was told at the time that it was kind of an oversight by some staffers who had proposed the change during the Bush administration.

U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair, secured a promise of $50 million in the overall fund to be set aside for Northwest salmon. But Murray and other senators were able to restore the fund itself and increase the federal contribution. That fund has now survived the conference committee’s review and is expected to become law. Some of that money will come to Washington state for the next round of funding.