$60 million in environmental awards headed to WA state

Apr 21, 2023, 4:14 PM

green crabs...

European green crabs can damage habitat for local sea life. (Photo courtesy of Sea Grant Washington)

(Photo courtesy of Sea Grant Washington)

Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) announced almost $60 million in grant funding for 14 conservation projects across the state.

The grants are from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate-Ready Coasts initiative.

“This investment will help make progress on salmon recovery, eelgrass beds restoration, and removal of invasive European green crabs, and help communities and Tribes adapt to the impacts of climate change,” said Cantwell.

“These grants will support…projects across the State of Washington from the Columbia River to Hood Canal, the Nooksack, Nisqually, and Skagit Rivers, and all the way to Willapa Bay and the Olympic Coast.”

The monies were secured through the Biden-Harris Infrastructure Law (BIL) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

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The awards announced by NOAA on Friday include:

$9,600,000 for the Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group. These funds will benefit threatened Hood Canal Summer chum and other key fish species, including steelhead, coho, pink, fall Chinook, and fall chum.

$7,500,000 for Lower Columbia Partnership. These funds will help restore habitat along three miles of the lower East Fork Lewis River that have been severely impacted by legacy gravel mining and residential development.

$4,200,000 for Lummi Nation – South Fork Nooksack River Restoration Project. These funds will advance three high-priority salmon habitat restoration projects along the South Fork Nooksack River. The work will increase flood resilience, improve water quality, and enhance tribal fisheries.

$11,600,000 for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). These funds will be used to support large-scale restoration in the North Whidbey basin of the Skagit River estuary in Puget Sound. The work is expected to reduce flooding on county roadways and tribal lands.

$12,100,000 for the WDFW. These funds will be used to restore 1,200 acres within the South Whidbey Basin of Puget Sound. They will implement seven restoration projects and continue work to develop five future projects.

$5,200,000 for Nooksack Indian Tribe – Lower South Fork Nooksack Chinook Recovery. These funds will address priority habitat limiting factors for salmon and steelhead in the South Fork Nooksack River.

$817,000 for Edmonds College. The funds will be used to create a bilingual restoration workforce development program to educate and train members of the Latino community. The program will include paid internship opportunities, providing participants with hands-on experience restoring salmon habitat in the Stillaguamish and Snohomish watersheds.

$502,000 for Long Live the Kings. These funds will allow Long Live the Kings to build capacity for the Nisqually Indian Tribe to incorporate their vision and voice into restoration in the Nisqually River Delta.

$868,000 for Lummi Nation.  These funds will help the Lummi Nation conduct an assessment to help determine the potential risk that invasive European green crabs pose to eelgrass beds and other important natural resources on Lummi Reservation tidelands.

$649,000 for the Skagit River System Cooperative. These funds will restore estuary habitat to support the recovery of Tribal fisheries in the Skagit River. 

$3,976,788 for the Washington State Department of Transportation. These funds will support the restoration and protection of Graveyard Spit, on the north shore of Willapa Bay, to help protect community infrastructure and cultural resources that are threatened by sea level rise and other coastal hazards.

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$2,332,854 for the Washington State Department of Ecology. These funds will allow Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve to protect and restore 74.5 acres of former and current tidal marsh, as part of a larger overall effort to restore up to 105 acres of tidal marsh to Padilla Bay.

$299,965 for Washington CoastSavers Clean Coast Quest. In partnership with the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation’s Washington CoastSavers, the Washington Sea Grant will use these funds to support annual beach cleanups in Washington state and work with the Quinault Indian Nation.

Nationally, NOAA announced $561 million in recommended funding under the BIL and IRA to support the Climate-Ready Coasts Initiative. This overall funding includes $14,999,292 for the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, of which a portion will be allocated to the State of Washington to remove large marine debris from the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary and Neah Bay, in partnership with the Makah Tribe and the Quileute Tribe.

As chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Sen. Cantwell secured a historic $2.855 billion investment in salmon and ecosystem restoration programs, as well as tens of billions of dollars allocated for water infrastructure in the BIL.

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$60 million in environmental awards headed to WA state