WASHINGTON, D.C.—An effort spearheaded by Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) – along with other members of the Washington delegation – to authorize $451 million for the Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration Project has been approved by the House as part of the bipartisan Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (formerly called the Water Resources Development Act).
The bill, which is the result of ongoing negotiations between the House and the Senate, now moves to the Senate for a vote.
“Puget Sound is central to the heart and soul of Northwest Washington,” said Larsen. “These resources will supercharge efforts to restore the Sound today while protecting against future environmental degradation. And with the increasing environmental strains that come with the region’s booming population – this investment is as timely as it is important.”
Larsen’s history-making measure is a milestone for the Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Project – a collaboration between public, private and not-for-profit organizations aimed at protecting and restoring Puget Sound’s shorelines, supporting salmon restoration and biodiversity in the Sound. The project will develop a unique set of strategies tailored to the specific needs of the deltas, beaches, embayments and inlets that comprise Puget Sound.
The legislation also includes a provision directing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation to return the Kennewick Man, also known as the “Ancient One,” to local tribes in Washington state for proper reburial within 90 days.
Additionally, the legislation includes language authorizing Congress to appropriate funds for toxin cleanup in the Columbia River Basin and creates a voluntary grant program to support stakeholders with cleanup efforts.
Larsen has a long record of fighting to protect the environment. In May of this year, Larsen’s bipartisan bill to fund the National Estuary Program – which supports the comprehensive plan for Puget Sound recovery – became law. Larsen also successfully fought to designate San Juan Islands National Monument in 2013 and to protect 106,577 acres of national forest as part of the Wild Sky Wilderness in 2008.