Thursday, July 15, 2010

$30 Million to Restore Puget Sound

The EPA announced recently that they will be offering 30 million dollars towards restoration activities in Puget Sound in the next few years. The money is part of a federal and state push to "clean up" Puget Sound by 2020. While cleaning up the Sound is an abstraction, the damage that has been done by a century and a half of urban growth, industry and agriculture is very real. WDFW estimates that more than 80% of Puget Sounds historic estuary habitat has been lost, mostly to diking and filling to make way for agriculture and ultimately urban development. Steelhead and Chinook salmon are both listed as threatened in the Sound and NOAA has just been petitioned to list Coho salmon as well. The effort to protect what remains of the Puget Sound's naturally productive habitat and restore what can be salvage is a long process and federal involvement and dollars are essential. Since 2006 the EPA has spent $58.4 million on restoring the sound. Money from the latest round of grants will go to a variety of projects including but not limited to, improving upstream passage for migrating salmon, restoring estuaries, education and outreach, and purchasing and protecting critical habitat.

More information in the Columbia Basin Shorts:

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