Tuesday, June 9, 2009

$11 Million Dollars Allocated For Salmon Recovery and Estuary Restoration in the Puget Sound


Katy Johansson


Partnership approves $11 million in critical recovery, protection projects

OLYMPIA – The Puget Sound Partnership this week approved several salmon recovery and estuary protection projects throughout the Sound worth nearly $11 million. 

“Salmon recovery is essential to the overall recovery of Puget Sound, and vice versa. We won’t achieve one without the other,” said David Dicks, the Partnership’s executive director. “The projects we have endorsed advance the priorities of the Action Agenda and our overall mission to bring the Sound back to health.”

The projects are supported by two separate appropriations the Partnership fought for this legislative session in the 2009-11 state capital budget, signed into law last week by the governor.

The budget includes a $33 million appropriation for Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration (PSAR). The Partnership’s Leadership Council on Wednesday supported five PSAR projects, totaling almost $4.3 million, as part of an accelerated funding round in the PSAR grant program.

“These ready-to-go projects will create much-needed jobs right now, during the 2009 construction season,” Dicks said. The PSAR projects leveraged $766,797 in local matching funds, “demonstrating local support for salmon habitat acquisition and restoration in Puget Sound,” Dicks added.

The capital budget also includes $7 million for the Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program (ESRP). The Leadership Council approved a spending plan for nine top-priority nearshore and estuary protection and restoration projects. While that spending plan totals $9.7 million, three of the projects are alternates and one is only partially funded, bringing the spending total closer to $6.6 million. 

The Leadership Council endorsed the following projects:

PSAR (Request total: $4,274,849)

•    Tatrimima Shoreline Protection: This project will acquire for permanent protection approximately 30 acres of shoreline property along the Nisqually River.
o    PSAR request: $334,922 
o    Project sponsor: Nisqually Land Trust
o    Lead entity: Nisqually River Salmon Recovery

•    Nisqually River Knotweed Control: This project will preserve and improve riparian habitat function on the lower watershed of the Nisqually River and in the priority sub-basins of the Nisqually. 
o    PSAR request: $66,500
o    Project sponsor: Pierce County Noxious Weed Control Board 
o    Lead entity: Nisqually River Salmon Recovery

•    Mashel Eatonville Restoration Phase II: This funding will implement the second phase of a project that includes: installation of engineered logjams to restore and improve in-stream habitat and protect eroding banks; restoration of the riparian buffer; and the acquisition of up to 5 acres of healthy riparian and floodplain forests.
o    PSAR request: $1,165,573
o    Project sponsor: Nisqually Indian Tribe
o    Lead entity: Nisqually River Salmon Recovery

•    Little Quilcene River Delta Cone Removal: This project, the fifth in a series, will remove aggraded sediments to reconnect tidal and freshwater hydraulics, restore 7 acres of salt marsh and place four woody debris jams at the mouth of the Little Quilcene River.
o    PSAR request: $1,007,854
o    Project sponsor: Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group
o    Lead entity: Hood Canal Coordinating Council

•    Skokomish Estuary Island Restoration: Part of a greater effort to restore natural tidal hydrology to the entire Skokomish Estuary, this project will obliterate island dikes and levees, roads and borrow ditches – improving salmonid refuge, water quality and dissolved oxygen, and reducing flooding.
o    PSAR request: $1.7 million
o    Project sponsor: Skokomish Indian Tribe
o    Lead entity: Hood Canal Coordinating Council

ESRP (Spending plan total: $9,740,740. Total project spending: $6.58 million. List presented in ranked order. Please note project 6 is only partially funded and projects 7, 8 and 9 are alternates.)

•    1. Nisqually Refuge Restoration: This project includes the construction of setback dikes, enhancement of wetlands and completion of work necessary to restore tidal influence to 762 acres of tidal marsh and swamp at the mouth of the Nisqually River.
o    Project amount: $200,000
o    Project sponsor: Ducks Unlimited

•    2. Lily Point Acquisition Phase II: This project will expand on the successful protection of the southern portion of Lily Point by purchasing and permanently protecting the remaining northern portion of Lily Point – a 146-acre parcel that includes 4,200 feet of natural shoreline and 92 acres of tidelands.
o    Project amount: $860,000
o    Project sponsor: The Nature Conservancy

•    3. Smugglers Slough Tidal Reconnection: This project will use self-regulating tide gates and levee breaches to restore tidal and flood inundation and enhance habitat in 620 acres of the Nooksack-Lummi delta.
o    Project amount: $1,933,200
o    Project sponsor: Lummi Nation

•    4. Smith Island Estuarine Restoration Project: This project will design, permit, construct and monitor the restoration of approximately 400 acres of tidal marsh on Smith Island in the Snohomish Estuary – with the construction of setback dike and removal of existing levee along Union Slough.
o    Project amount: $2.6 million
o    Project sponsor: Snohomish County

•    5. Red Salmon Slough Levee Removal: This project will remove historic levees and dikes within tribal ownership on the Nisqually Delta to restore unconstrained flood water movement and associated alluvial processes across the eastern half of the delta.
o    Project amount: $214,000
o    Project sponsor: Nisqually Indian Tribe

•    6. Livingston Bay Nearshore Acquisition (partially funded): This project will acquire and protect 43 acres of ecologically important nearshore and marine riparian habitat in northwest Port Susan Bay and restore a 10-acre barrier lagoon.
o    Project amount: $1,350,000 (NOTE: only some of this amount will be awarded to the project)
o    Project sponsor: The Nature Conservancy

•    7. Kiket Island Conservation Acquisition (alternate): This project will purchase 95 acres of waterfront property with more than two miles of high-quality, near-pristine shoreline habitat to protect it from development and expand Deception Pass State Park.
o    Project amount: $2 million
o    Project sponsor: Washington State Parks and Recreation

•    8. Gull Harbor-Cushman Easement Acquisition (alternate): This project will provide the balance of funding needed to purchase a conservation easement on the last major unprotected parcel in Olympia’s Gull Harbor, one of the last nearly pristine estuarine areas remaining in Budd Inlet. 
o    Project amount: $350,000
o    Project sponsor: Capitol Land Trust

•    9. Stavis NRCA Boyce Creek Seawall Removal (alternate): This project will remove 550 feet of seawall on Hood Canal and restore 800 feet of stream channel on a DNR-managed property.
o    Project amount: $233,540
o    Project sponsor: Department of Natural Resources

“The Leadership Council and I appreciate the hard work and support of Gov. Gregoire and the Legislature, who, in difficult economic times, demonstrated their continued support for the recovery of salmon and Puget Sound by providing funding for these crucial projects,” Dicks said.

The remainder of the $33 million PSAR appropriation will be awarded to priority Puget Sound salmon recovery projects proposed in future funding rounds for construction in 2010 and 2011.

ESRP will be working with project sponsors to write contracts, which they hope to have in place by early this July.

Despite facing an unprecedented budget deficit, the Legislature demonstrated stalwart support for the protection and restoration of Puget Sound during the 2009 regular session. This continued commitment will help ensure economic, environmental and social benefits, and create and sustain new green jobs in the state’s difficult economy.

“It is gratifying to know that even under such dire economic circumstances, Puget Sound recovery remains a top priority of the Legislature,” said David Dicks, the Puget Sound Partnership’s executive director. 

The Partnership is responsible for overseeing the implementation of its recently adopted Action Agenda to recover the Sound and reporting progress back to the public.

“Thanks to the hard work of Governor Gregoire and Legislature, the Partnership is able to move forward on implementing critical actions identified in the Action Agenda to help bring the Sound back to health,” Dicks said. “The projects they supported this session will result in badly needed green jobs throughout the region, and will help ensure the region’s overwhelming desire to pass on a legacy of a healthy Puget Sound to future generations becomes a reality.”

The Legislature passed capital and operating budgets, and a handful of policy bills, that support the Partnership’s core functions and will help implement key recommendations of the Action Agenda.




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