The Puget Sound Institute is one of more than a dozen organizations in the state of Washington to receive funds this year from the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Estuary Program. The agency awarded $27.5 million in grants in 2019 to organizations working to protect and restore the Puget Sound ecosystem. A news release from the EPA announcing the funding is available below. You can view the original announcement on the EPA’s website.
News release from EPA Region 10
EPA announces $27.5 million in funding for Puget Sound
National Estuary Program provides funds for state, local, tribal, and federal projects
Over this past year, highlights of efforts funded in whole or in part with National Estuary Program funds include:
- The protection and restoration of an additional 2,474 acres of key Orca and salmon habitat;
- Funding of seminal stormwater toxicology research to reduce toxics in fish and to benefit Orca recovery.
- Re-connection of many dozens of miles of stream to support fish passage to and from spawning and rearing habitats; and
- Development of sophisticated computer models on nutrients’ impact on the Sound.
“The administration and Congress recognize the unique economic and cultural value of the Sound,” said Chris Hladick, Regional Administrator for EPA’s Region 10 office. “The partnerships and significant environmental progress that these funds help deliver are much-needed fuel for recovery of Puget Sound.”
EPA distributes most of its National Estuary Program funds to Washington’s Department of Ecology, Department of Health, Department of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Natural Resources, and Department of Commerce, the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, tribal governments, Washington State University’s Stormwater Center, the Puget Sound Partnership, and the University of Washington’s Puget Sound Institute.
These organizations then fund projects that meet the goals of both the National Estuary Program and the Puget Sound Action Agenda which is developed by the Puget Sound Partnership, the state agency charged with leading the state’s collective efforts to restore and protect Puget Sound. The Puget Sound Institute leads conducts science-based work to develop recommendations that inform local and watershed-wide strategies and decision-making.
Since 2006, Congress has appropriated $360 million in National Estuary Program funds for Puget Sound that EPA has used to help restore 56,720 acres of habitat (more than 88 square miles), protect 157,489 acres of harvestable shellfish beds. These federal funds have leveraged nearly $2.1 billion of additional funds, largely from the state of Washington.
In addition to providing grant funds, through the National Estuary Program and other programs, EPA experts provide their scientific expertise to local, state, tribal, industry, and NGOs on strategy development, and are typically involved in scientific research and restoration projects throughout the watershed. The EPA Puget Sound Program also co-leads the Puget Sound Federal Task Force that works to align federal programs and resources to support Puget Sound Recovery.
Encompassing 8 million acres of rivers, bays, beaches and shorelines, the Puget Sound watershed serves as an economic and cultural hub for the region’s more than 4.7 million people, including 19 federally recognized tribes.
Learn more about EPA’s work to protect Puget Sound: https://www.epa.gov/puget-sound
Find more information and project photos at: https://pugetsoundinnovationstories.blog/
More information about EPA’s National Estuary Program: https://www.epa.gov/nep
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