News Releases

Murray, Cantwell Secure Millions in Funding for Energy and Water Projects Across State

Jun 29 2006

Senators secure funding for research, dredging, irrigation, flood control, fish passage, and environmental restoration projects

WASHINGTON, DC – Thursday, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) announced more than $20 million in funding for water-related projects across Washington state that will enhance effective resource management and irrigation, improve waterborne transportation, and invest in environmental restoration initiatives. The funding, requested by Murray and Cantwell, was approved this morning by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“Water is central to our state’s economy and quality of life,” said Cantwell. “I am pleased that we were able to secure funding to help restore Puget Sound’s special ecosystem, revitalize salmon habitat, and clear vital maritime traffic routes. These projects will also enhance irrigation and water storage in our state, strengthening Washington’s agricultural backbone, and will help control floods that would otherwise slow our roads and our economy.”

“I’m very pleased to secure these funds to protect, enhance and restore Washington’s waterways,” Murray said. “Dredging projects are vital to keep our channels open and safe for commerce and recreation. These dollars will also restore sensitive shorelines along Puget Sound and Washington’s rivers and streams. In particular, I am glad to continue studies to address the pressing water needs of our farmers. I’m excited that we’re investing in biomass research that connects WSU and PNNL to help develop the next generation of alternative energy.”

Washington state projects slated to receive funding include:

Elliot Bay Seawall Study - $500,000

These funds will complete all planning and economic analysis necessary to determine how best to replace the nearly 70-year-old Alaskan Way Seawall. This vital structure is failing due to marine organisms that are weakening its wood timbers and damage sustained during the 2001 Nisqually Earthquake. In addition, the monies will allow the Army Corp of Engineers to complete much of the environmental review work for the project.

Swinomish Channel Dredging - $627,000

These funds will support maintenance of the key Swinomish Channel that provides access between Skagit Bay to Padilla Bay, a distance of 11 miles, and a protected channel from south Puget Sound to the San Juan Islands and north Puget Sound. The Channel provides access to the La Conner waterfront, Swinomish Tribal commercial facilities and several marinas and is used by recreational boaters and for log and barge towing.

Lake Tapps Operations and Maintenance and Fish Passage - $8.1 million

These funds will fund interim operation of White River barrier dam and fish passage facilities for Mud Mountain Dam. Additionally, the funding will complete final design for the replacement of the diversion dam and fish passage facilities. Construction on the project will help improve fish passage at Mud Mountain dam, maintain the current lake level, and help continued development of an important source of drinking water.

Odessa Subarea Special Study - $600,000

These funds for the Odessa Subarea Special Study will continue an ongoing investigation of continuing development of the Columbia Basin Irrigation Project to deliver irrigation water to lands currently served by wells in four Eastern Washington counties. Unless action is taken soon, deep well irrigated lands and municipalities in Adams, Franklin, Lincoln and Grant Counties will lack the water they need to support agriculture and other human needs.

Washington State University Biomass Research - $500,000

This funding will support WSU's growing partnership between Washington State University and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in their joint research efforts to aid the nation and the state of Washington in reducing its dependence on imported petroleum, boost rural farming economies, and protect our environment. These monies will support ongoing research and development into harnessing our abundance of agricultural, forest and other biomass materials for transportation fuels, bioproducts, and electrical energy and industrial power.

Puget Sound Nearshore Restoration Study - $1.5 million

These funds are part of a broad based regional effort to identify the most important and cost effective sites and projects to restore Puget Sound nearshore function and health. Working collaboratively with local, state, and other federal government organizations, tribes, industries and environmental organizations, these monies will help evaluate how implementation of new large scale management and restoration measures can achieve ecological sustainability and maintain beneficial uses of natural resources in the Puget Sound Basin.

Walla Walla Watershed Study - $650,000

These funds will help complete a regional cooperative effort to provide a minimal amount of instream flows to enable salmon reintroduction. The Walla Walla Basin Project is a high-priority project for the CTUIR, local communities and the agricultural sector and will guide future efforts to to fully restore stream flows and protect the local agricultural economy.

Lake Washington Ship Canal - $400,000

These funds will allow completion of a prioritized list of habitat restoration needs in the Lake Washington watershed and the Ship Canal and help continue feasibility work for 45 critical early action projects in the Lake Washington basin and continue the fish passage studies at the Hiram Chittenden Locks.

Skagit River Flood Control Study - $300,000

These funds will help identify options for flood control needs in the Skagit River valley. Identifying viable alternatives is key to for ongoing efforts to secure a new license for the Baker River Hydroelectric Project.

Centralia Flood Control - $150,000

These funds will continue critical efforts to design and construct a flood control project that would stop the closure of Interstate 5 during flood season. I-5 is a major transportation corridor up the west coast of the United States, and its closure for any loss of time would servely impact commerce in Western Washington, and could restrict deployment of military assets from Fort Lewis in case of an emergency.

Baker Bay Dredging - $750,000

These funds will allow competition of critical dredging of the channel leading into Ilwaco. Approximately 30 million pounds of fish are landed in Ilwaco each year supporting several hundred local jobs.

Puget Sound and Adjacent Waters Restoration – $1.5 million

These funds will support ongoing restoration efforts of Puget Sound’s remarkable and unique ecosystem. This successful program brings together stakeholders to prioritize projects that will generate immediate and critically needed restoration of Puget Sound’s ecosystem.

Duwamish Green Ecosystem – $2 million

These funds will support ongoing efforts to improve fish passage through the Howard Hanson Dam and restore habitats and migratory corridors along the Duwamish and Green rivers from the headwaters in the Cascade Mountains to Elliott Bay on Puget Sound.

Shoalwater Bay Shoreline - $1.5 million

These funds will fund a critical erosion protection project near Willapa Bay.

Port of Chinook - $750,000

This will fund the dredging of the Port of Chinook channel to keep the port open for businesses and support the local economy.

Olympia Harbor - $1.9 million

This funding will help maintain the channel’s depth to serve international commerce at the Port of Olympia Marine Terminal.

Everett Harbor and Snohomish River Dredging - $895,000

This funding will allow for the expansion of the downstream settling basin and ensure adequate navigational depths in the lower Snohomish River navigational channel. This project will benefit downstream users including Naval Station Everett and the users of Everett’s new 12th Street Marina.