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Pierce County Receives Grants to Fund Salmon Recovery Projects

Pierce County will use $229,621 of the grant to restore the Puyallup River floodplain at a location called South Fork, north of Orting.

Pierce County will receive nearly $1.1 million to improve and protect salmon habitat.

The grants were awarded to the county and other local organizations by the state’s Salmon Recovery Funding Board, which approved more than $19 million for salmon recovery projects throughout the state.

“This funding provides needed money to help fulfill our commitment to restoring healthy salmon populations,” said Harold Smelt, Pierce County Public Works and Utilities surface water manager. “The projects also support jobs and small businesses for the contractors hired to build them.”

The projects and project sponsors that received funding are:

Pierce County will use $105,520 to open up fish passage in Schoolhouse Creek on Anderson Island, and $229,621 to restore the Puyallup River floodplain at a location called South Fork, north of Orting.

Greater Peninsula Conservancy will use a $135,570 grant to buy 6.5 acres of coastal inlet estuary at the head of Case Inlet’s Rocky Bay, which is used by various fish species.

Nisqually Land Trust will use $200,000 to buy and restore 11 acres in the lower Ohop Valley near Eatonville.

Pierce County Conservation District will use $55,998 to inventory and remove Japanese knotweed near the Nisqually River.

South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group will receive $332,395 to install log jams in the Greenwater River, near the town of Greenwater, and $39,979 to restore shoreline in Filucy Bay, near Longbranch.

All project sponsors will contribute additional funds or donate labor and materials for each project.

Each project was rigorously reviewed by local panels of scientific and community members. The prioritized projects were forwarded to the state Salmon Recovery Funding Board for review, and the most effective and scientifically-sound projects were selected.

Salmon populations in Washington have been declining for generations. In 1991, the federal government declared the first salmon, Snake River sockeye, as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). In 1999, Chinook salmon was listed as a threatened with extinction under the ESA. This and other ESA salmon listings in the state set off a series of activities including the formation of the Salmon Recovery Funding Board to oversee the investment of state and federal funds for salmon recovery.

- Information courtesy of Pierce County.

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