THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) in partnership with the Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) will begin distributing more than $15.7 million to fund dozens of local projects designed to protect and restore natural shorelines around Puget Sound.
Project sponsors include local governments, conservation districts, tribes, and non-profit organizations from Hood Canal to the Snohomish River Delta who applied for funding through a competitive grant programs administered by the Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program (ESRP).
As a partnership between WDFW, RCO, and the Puget Sound Partnership, ESRP administers grant programs designed to recover salmon, forage fish, and Southern Resident Killer Whales.
“Projects funded this year involve restoring beaches for fish habitat and public use, correcting barriers that prevent salmon from reaching key rearing and feeding areas, and restoring tidal functions altered by land-use practices over the past century”, said Jay Krienitz, ESRP manager for WDFW.
This funding also supports ESRP’s newest program, Shore Friendly, which partners with landowners and local Shore Friendly program lead organizations to provide stewardship incentives aimed at reducing shoreline armoring and restoring shoreline habitat.
“Almost 30% of Puget Sound shoreline is armored with seawalls and other structures,” Krienitz said. “These projects play an important role in restoring the Sound’s natural shorelines, helping to ensure these areas are healthy and productive for fish, wildlife, and people.”
The ESRP grant programs provide many public benefits aside from restoring Puget Sound shorelines and salmon runs, said Krienitz.
“Investments in ESRP projects fund local jobs, create shorelines that are more resilient to changing sea levels and climate conditions, and help restore and sustain important fisheries that are critical to the economies of coastal communities.”