State Board Awards $21 Million in Grants to Aid Salmon Recovery

Posted September 24, 2021 at 5:45 am by

Salmon swimming upstream to spawn - Richard Lawrence photo

OLYMPIA–The Wash­ing­ton State Salmon Recov­ery Fund­ing Board today announced the award of $21 mil­lion in grants across the state to aid in salmon recovery.

The grants, giv­en annu­al­ly, went to 105 projects in 29 of the state’s 39 coun­ties. The grants will pay for work to restore salmon habi­tat, includ­ing repair­ing degrad­ed habi­tat in rivers, remov­ing bar­ri­ers block­ing salmon from reach­ing the ocean, and con­serv­ing pris­tine habitat.

“Salmon are impor­tant to every Wash­ing­ton­ian, whether they spend time fish­ing, eat salmon, rely on salmon for their busi­ness or use salmon in their cul­tur­al cel­e­bra­tions,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “It’s imper­a­tive that we improve the areas salmon need, and these grants help do that.”

Descrip­tions of Grants
Grants were award­ed in the fol­low­ing coun­ties. Click below for details on each project:

The grant recip­i­ents also invest in salmon recov­ery and will be con­tribut­ing more than $19.2 mil­lion in match­ing resources, such as staff labor, dona­tions, or equip­ment use.

Why Are Salmon in Trouble?

As Washington’s pop­u­la­tion grew, the num­ber of salmon dwin­dled. By the end of the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry, the num­bers of wild salmon and steel­head had dropped so much that the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment declared species in near­ly three-fourths of the state as threat­ened or endan­gered. The Leg­is­la­ture cre­at­ed the Salmon Recov­ery Fund­ing Board in 1999 to deter­mine how best to dis­trib­ute state and fed­er­al fund­ing to recov­ery projects.

“This fund­ing pro­vides the foun­da­tion for efforts to pro­tect and restore the habi­tat our salmon and steel­head depend upon,” said Jeff Breck­el, chair of the Salmon Recov­ery Fund­ing Board. “It sup­ports the work of many ded­i­cat­ed indi­vid­u­als and orga­ni­za­tions and lever­ages addi­tion­al gov­ern­ment and pri­vate fund­ing. These grants are one of our best tools for revers­ing the decline of salmon pop­u­la­tions. With­out this fund­ing, we sim­ply wouldn’t be able to save salmon, which are such a crit­i­cal part of our North­west cul­ture, econ­o­my and qual­i­ty of life.”

Why is Recov­ery Important?

Salmon are a key­stone species upon which many oth­er ani­mals rely. One report doc­u­ment­ed 138 species of wildlife, from whales to flies, that depend on salmon for their food. Salmon fish­ing also is impor­tant to Washington’s econ­o­my. Com­mer­cial and recre­ation­al fish­ing in Wash­ing­ton is esti­mat­ed to sup­port 16,000 jobs and $540 mil­lion in per­son­al income. Recre­ation­al­ly, an esti­mat­ed $1.5 bil­lion is spent annu­al­ly on fish­ing and har­vest­ing shell­fish in Wash­ing­ton, sup­port­ing many rur­al fam­i­lies and busi­ness­es. In addi­tion, Wash­ing­ton State is oblig­at­ed to uphold treaty-reserved fish­ing rights for Indi­an tribes and has a duty to ensure salmon are present and avail­able for harvest.

Invest­ing in salmon recov­ery also helps local busi­ness­es. Every $1 mil­lion spent on for­est and water­shed restora­tion gen­er­ates between 15.7 and 23.8 jobs. About 80 per­cent of that fund­ing stays in the coun­ty where the project is locat­ed. Over­all, salmon recov­ery fund­ing since 1999 has result­ed in more than $1 bil­lion in eco­nom­ic activity.

How Projects are Chosen

“Wash­ing­ton has a unique approach to salmon recov­ery,” said Megan Duffy, direc­tor of the Wash­ing­ton State Recre­ation and Con­ser­va­tion Office, which pro­vides sup­port to the salmon board. “The local com­mu­ni­ty decides which projects are impor­tant to them and to salmon. That process helps ensure we are fund­ing projects local com­mu­ni­ties will embrace and help sup­port. Salmon recov­ery would be less effec­tive if com­mu­ni­ties weren’t involved.”

Projects are select­ed by lead enti­ties, which are water­shed-based groups that include tribes, local gov­ern­ments, non­prof­it orga­ni­za­tions and cit­i­zens. The projects are based on fed­er­al­ly approved, region­al salmon recov­ery plans. Lead enti­ties vet projects through cit­i­zen and sci­ence com­mit­tees. The projects then are reviewed by region­al orga­ni­za­tions and sub­mit­ted to the Salmon Recov­ery Fund­ing Board for fund­ing. Region­al salmon recov­ery orga­ni­za­tions and the board review each project for cost-effec­tive­ness and to ensure they will ben­e­fit salmon.

You can support the San Juan Update by doing business with our loyal advertisers, and by making a one-time contribution or a recurring donation.

No comments yet. Be the first!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

By submitting a comment you grant the San Juan Update a perpetual license to reproduce your words and name/web site in attribution. Inappropriate, irrelevant and contentious comments may not be published at an admin's discretion. Your email is used for verification purposes only, it will never be shared.

Receive new post updates: Entries (RSS)
Receive followup comments updates: RSS 2.0