(Washington D.C.) – U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) today announced that funding for several critical Washington state programs has been included in the Senate Commerce, Justice and Science (CJS) Appropriations bill. The bill includes vitally important funding for salmon recovery, marine habitat protection, as well as key law enforcement and methamphetamine needs.
"This bill includes funding for a variety of programs that will make a difference in the economic growth of our state and the lives of Washington residents," said Senator Murray. "I have fought to include funding for statewide priorities like salmon recovery and marine life restoration, because they are critical to our way of life in the northwest. As I travel around our state I am always reminded that the federal government needs to make a greater investment here at home," said Murray. "The funding in this bill addresses many of the economic and environmental concerns we have right here in Washington state. It also advances important emergency response and safety investments."
“Supporting these critical investments in our state will help keep our communities safe and secure, and will boost economic development all across Washington,” said Senator Cantwell. “I’ve worked to deliver better, faster emergency response, to open doors for new small businesses, and to boost opportunity for all Washingtonians.”
Washington state projects slated to receive funding include:
Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund (Washington state) $ 25 million
These funds will assist in the recovery of endangered stocks of Pacific salmon. Throughout Washington State, local cities, counties, tribes, and the state are working cooperatively to create salmon recovery plans. These funds will be matched by millions of state and local dollars to implement these plans. Washington state has more listed salmon species, more river miles, and more of its population impacted by salmon than any other state in the nation.
Northwest Straits Citizens Advisory Commission $1.6 million
These funds will continue supporting a citizen-driven, “bottom-up” approach to protecting and restoring the vital marine resources of the northern Puget Sound and the Straits of Juan de Fuca. Seven counties bordering the Northwest Straits are partners in the Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Initiative. Senator Murray was a key partner in establishing the Commission in 1997. The Commission offers technical assistance, training and financial support to local Marine Resources Committees (MRC) and helps mobilize and coordinate scientific research.
Columbia River Hatchery Reform $500,000
This funding will go towards a comprehensive reform effort of the 200 hatchery programs in the Columbia River basin. The funding will ensure that individual hatcheries and programs are fiscally prepared to recover wild salmon runs while simultaneously maintaining hatchery populations.
Smuggler’s Slough Estuarine Wetlands Preservation $1 million
This funding will go towards the acquisition and restoration of wetlands in Bellingham Bay and Lummi Bay, which are distributaries of the Nooksack River and that are connected by Smuggler’s Slough. This project is a top priority of the area’s fish, wildlife, and natural resource agencies. This habitat is at significant risk for development in the next twenty years due to the projected increase in population in this area.
Lower Elwha River Habitat Restoration $481,000
This funding will go towards critical salmon habitat restoration efforts that must be in place before the Elwha Dam removal, which is scheduled to begin in 2008. This restoration is being undertaken by the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe in coordination with Olympic National Park, NOAA Fisheries, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and the Environmental Protection Agency. This funding will help ensure that the effort is complete before dam removal.
Fixed Gear Seabed Interactions Study $350,000
These funds will be used to research the relationship between the use of bottom-longline gear and adverse effects on the Essential Fish Habitat (EFH), which was established in the 1996 Sustainable Fisheries Act. The funding would support a research program that includes gathering data and designing a program for research to establish actual affects.
Northwest Agricultural Business Center $400,000
This funding will be used to help the Northwest Agricultural Business Center create a web-based, interactive, central information resource for agricultural entrepreneurs. The Center serves Snohomish, Skagit, Whatcom, San Juan and Island counties. The center works as a regional tool that local farmers can use to pool their energy and resources to face growing foreign competition and help find new markets for local products. It is an essential resource for a region whose agricultural sector is rapidly declining.
The CJS bill also includes language supporting several funding priorities. The specific funding levels will be set by House-Senate Conference Committee in the future. These priorities include:
Washington State Methamphetamine Initiative *
These funds will directly support the Washington State Methamphetamine Initiative, a coordinated statewide effort that focuses on cleanup, treatment, prevention, and law enforcement in an effort to combat methamphetamine in Washington state. Washington state currently faces one of the most challenging Meth problems in the country, and these federal funds are invaluable to the crisis response effort.
National Training and Technical Assistance Center on Methamphetamine *
This funding will go towards building The National and Technical Assistance Center on Methamphetamine in Washington state. This facility would serve as a national center on the effort to fight the meth epidemic. Washington state has been recognized as an ideal location for the facility because of its successful statewide efforts to combat the use and production of methamphetamine.
Pacific Science Center/ Washington state LASER *
These funds will go towards the Pacific Science Center's "Leadership and Assistance for Science Education Reform" or LASER program. LASER is a professional development program offered to Washington state teachers. Recent studies have found a correlation between the percentage of students meeting the science standard on Washington state's "Assessment of Student Learning Exam" and those teachers who participated in the LASER program.
Citizens for a Safe Yakima Valley *
These funds will help Yakima expand and solidify its gang task force efforts in an affort to fight back against rising gang activities. Yakima is working to increase enforcement through an emphasis on increased patrol sweeps, and expanding law enforcement's presence in neighborhoods in gang affected communities.
City of Bellevue 911 Center *
This funding will go towards the Bellevue 911 Center, which serves a population of 650,000. The Center was recently relocated to City Hall and has been updated with new equipment. The Center has also been co-located with the City's Traffic Management Center in order to consolidate equipment and coordinate emergency responses.
*The specific funding levels for these programs will be set by a House-Senate Conference Committee in the future.