Larsen Bill to Support Estuary Restoration Moves Forward

WASHINGTON—A bill to provide continued funding to improve estuaries in the Puget Sound region that Rep. Rick Larsen, WA-02, introduced passed the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee today. Larsen introduced the bipartisan bill with Rep. Frank LoBiondo, NJ-02 earlier this summer. H.R. 5266 would reauthorize the National Estuary Program through 2018, funding local efforts to restore and protect sensitive estuaries and their wildlife.
“Estuaries are a critical habitat for salmon, birds and many other species in the Pacific Northwest, where we know that protecting our natural resources is good for both the environment and the economy. In addition to improving salmon habitat, restoring estuaries can have important carbon sequestration effects, as a recent report on the Snohomish Estuary found. Healthy estuaries support our strong fishing industry and are one of the many draws for tourists who visit Northwest Washington because of recreational opportunities. This bill will continue federal support for local efforts to keep these sensitive habitats vital today and for future generations.
“I have long supported estuary restoration in the Puget Sound region, like the Qwuloolt Estuary Restoration Project, which will be one of the largest tidal marsh restoration projects ever completed in our state when it is finished.
“I am pleased to work with Rep. LoBiondo on this bipartisan bill that will ensure local organizations across the country can continue their work to protect and restore estuaries,” Larsen said.
Funding from the National Estuary Program, which is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency, helps build the comprehensive plan for Puget Sound recovery through the Puget Sound Partnership.

Smith Island restoration project a huge win for water quality

Senator McCoy champions conservation project

Source: The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition

People and salmon alike will benefit from a new project to protect Smith Island outside of Everett.

The Recreation and Conservation Office recently announced that the restoration of the Smith Island estuary would receive a grant from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program. This estuary is part of the Snohomish River system, which provides the second largest volume of freshwater entering Puget Sound from a single source.

“This project will provide immense benefits, restoring salmon habitat and protecting our water quality for the next generation,” said Senator John McCoy (D-Tulalip) . “The WWRP is a critical investment in our outdoors that is essential to preserving our quality of life.”

This single project represents nearly 5% of the entire Puget Sound Ecosystem Recovery estuary restoration target for 2020.

The local match combined with more than $15 million in federal and state grants from the Salmon Recovery Funding Board, the Recreation and Conservation Funding Board, and RCO brings the total funding amount to $16,001,958.

In addition to protecting water quality, the restoration of the Smith Island estuary will also provide new recreation access. Visitors will be able to witness wildlife in a rich tidal marsh habitat minutes from Everett’s urban core.

“Two thirds of WWRP projects protect or restore Puget Sound. This level of success would not be possible without dedicated legislators like Senator McCoy,” said Joanna Grist, executive director of the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition. “Smith Island is a prime example of how we can increase access to the outdoors while preserving the purity of our natural treasures.”