Sixteen projects valued at more than $1.9 million in Thurston, Pierce and Mason counties have been approved by the state Salmon Recovery Funding Board.
The federal funds awarded to salmon recovery projects in South Sound will be used to restore river and marine shorelines, remove culverts that block the passage of fish and purchase shoreline habitat on the Nisqually River.
The grants, which total $20.7 million statewide, also are expected to create about 250 jobs over the next four years, according to funding board chairman Steve Tharinger.
Much of the money targets habitat improvements for the 17 salmon runs that the federal government has listed as imperiled under the federal Endangered Species Act. The listings began in 1991 with Snake River sockeye and encompass about three-quarters of the state.
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Some of the key South Sound projects set to move forward:
• The Nisqually River Land Trust will use a $250,000 grant to buy and conserve 84 acres of shoreline along the Mashel River near Eatonville, a nearly $50,000 grant to secure and conserve 33 acres of shoreline where Tanwax Creek flows into the Nisqually River, and nearly $167,000 to permanently protect 50 acres of shoreline and wetlands near McKenna. Puget Sound chinook and steelhead will benefit from these habitat-protection projects.
• The South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group received $105,000 to remove 150 feet of broken concrete bulkhead from the beach at Priest Point Park in Olympia, plus remove invasive plants and plant native vegetation at the former site of the park caretaker’s house.
• The Heernett Foundation secured $240,000 to purchase and protect 29 acres of white oak habitat along a half-mile of Scatter Creek. The property otherwise would likely be developed with houses, according to the salmon funding board.
• The City of Orting received $313,880 to help remove a Puyallup River levee and replace it with a setback levee that will allow the river to meander in its natural river channel, improving both salmon habitat and flood protection for city residents. The city will contribute $1.127 million in cash and state funding to the project.
Since 2000, the funding board, supported by the state Recreation and Conservation Office, has awarded about $417 million in state and federal grants for 1,775 salmon-recovery projects, figures show. The groups receiving the grants have contributed $189 million in matching resources.
John Dodge: 360-754-5444 firstname.lastname@example.org