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Senators Cantwell, Murray celebrate $36M for Puget Sound Salmon Recovery, Conservation Projects

EPA grant funds will support state, local, Tribal, and federal partners’ recovery efforts across the 8 million acres of rivers, bays, beaches, and shorelines that make up the Puget Sound basin

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, and Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced $36 million in grant funds to state, local, Tribal and federal partners to support the continued conservation and restoration of Puget Sound.

The funding was awarded from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Estuary Program and the Puget Sound Geographic Funds to support development and implementation of the Puget Sound Action Agenda.

“With this $36 million investment in Puget Sound, government agencies and Tribes will work to stop stormwater pollution, improve water quality, restore habitat and accelerate the recovery of our salmon and orca populations. This investment will help provide a healthier Puget Sound for our people, our economy and our wildlife,” said Senator Cantwell.

“Puget Sound is vital to so many Tribes and communities throughout Washington state. It’s central to our economy, our environment, and our way of life. Salmon, shellfish, orcas, and the families who have grown up on the water’s edge count on it to be healthy and vibrant,” said Senator Murray. “We owe it to future generations to preserve this precious ecosystem and its native wildlife — and this funding I worked to pass will help Washington state do just that. I’m glad we are able to make these critical investments, and I am going to continue doing everything I can to protect the Sound and ensure it is clean, safe, and thriving for years to come.”

The total $36 million will be allocated to the following programs:

  • $8.5 million to the Puget Sound Partnership. The Puget Sound Partnership will also receive $900,000 in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding.
  • $7.0 million to 19 federally recognized Tribes, the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, Skagit River System Cooperative and Point no Point Treaty Council
  • $7.2 million to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Washington Department of Natural Resources for habitat recovery
  • $5.7 million to the Department of Ecology for stormwater work, including transportation runoff
  • $4.5 million to Washington Department of Health for shellfish restoration and pathogen reduction
  • $3.3 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding for federal science through Interagency Agreements with NOAA, USGS, USFS and DOE

According to EPA, Congress has appropriated over $420 million in Clean Water Act National Estuary Program and Geographic Program funds for Puget Sound since 2006. State, local, Tribal and federal partners have used these funds to leverage nearly $2.1 billion of additional funds largely from the state of Washington.

These grants have helped restore more than 50,000 acres of habitat, increased protection of over 150,000 acres of harvestable shellfish beds, and funded cutting edge research on chemicals in automobiles and roadway runoff.

Throughout their time in the Senate, Sens. Cantwell and Murray have been staunch advocates of conservation and restoration investments for Puget Sound, and protecting and strengthening critical salmon populations. In 2021, Cantwell and Murray secured historic investments for salmon recovery, including $89 million for the Puget Sound Geographic Program in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. That bill also included a number of provisions that would benefit salmon and ecosystem restoration, including $172 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund (PCSRF), a grant program that provides funding to states and Tribes to protect, conserve, and restore endangered and threatened salmon populations. In December 2021, Cantwell and Murray also announced $34 million for Puget Sound recovery efforts from the EPA National Estuary Fund.

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