(Washington D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced that she included $1.8 million for the Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Initiative in the Fiscal Year 2011 Senate Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Bill that was approved today by the Appropriations Committee. The funding will help protect and restore marine waters, habitats and species at priority sites along the Northwest Straits, which run through Clallam, Island, Jefferson, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish and Whatcom counties.
"The Northwest Straits Initiative continues to be a leading example of a successful, innovative, and grassroots conservation effort," said Senator Patty Murray. "This investment will allow the group to continue their excellent research and expand upon their work restoring and conserving our marine environment.”
The Northwest Straits Initiative works to restore and protect marine habitat in the straits, which promotes ecosystem health and strengthens the Northwest Straits’ marine-based economy. Using community input and grassroots support, the Northwest Straits Commission is able to design projects that target the most urgent ongoing and emerging issues in the marine environment.
Senator Murray led the effort to first authorize the commission in 1998, and has secured over $10 million for the Northwest Straits Initiative. Last year, she also partnered with Rick Larsen (D-WA 2nd) to author legislation that will ensure the continuation of the Northwest Straits Initiative for years to come.
The NSCMI was first created in 1997 when Senator Murray and Republican Congressman Jack Metcalf joined forces to create a local advisory commission to address marine issues. At a time when few thought their experiment would work, their coordinated efforts were able to bring together opposing stakeholders and create an innovative, successful program for restoring and protecting marine habitats.