(WASHINGTON, DC) -- U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and U.S. Representative Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) today announced that House and Senate Conferees to the fiscal year 2002 Commerce Justice State (CJS) Appropriations bill reached an agreement to boost salmon recovery efforts on the West Coast. Murray and Dicks helped secure $110 million for the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund, including $34 million for Washington state.

The bill also provides $11 million to Pacific coastal tribes and $4 million to Columbia River Tribes. The remaining funds will be divided between Alaska, Oregon and California.

"Protecting salmon is vital to preserving our way of life in Washington state and throughout the Pacific Northwest," Senator Murray said. "We have asked a great deal of local communities in protecting and restoring salmon, and the federal government must also do its part. I'm proud that the CJS conferees demonstrated their commitment to this effort by approving this important funding for salmon."

"This increased level of funding will allow us to increase substantially the commitment that the federal government has made to local salmon enhancement and habitat protection initiatives in Washington State as our state responds to the mandate to protect these threatened species of west coast salmon," said Rep. Dicks. He said the boost in funding was made possible by congressional agreement on the six-year conservation spending program that he authored in October 2000.

The Conference Report also includes $45 million for the implementation of the Pacific Salmon Treaty between the United States and Canada. Murray and Dicks worked to secure $5.49 million to buy back Washington state commercial salmon permits as called for under the Treaty. The remaining $40 million will be divided to fund the Northern and Sounthern Boundary Funds created under the Treaty.

"I am very pleased by the funding for the Pacific Salmon Treaty. The Treaty represents the cornerstone of recovery by addressing harvest levels. The buy-back money keeps our promise to commericial fisherman impacted by the reduction in harvest," said Senator Murray.

"This is a very important bill for salmon recovery. The recovery funds will allow our counties, cities, and organizations to continue to work cooperatively on recovery efforts. We are still in the early stages of protection and recovery, but the steps we are taking today will also benefit the health and well-being of our children and grandchildren down the road."

Rep. Dicks noted that the broad array of species management and habitat protection funding contained in the appropriations bill allows the affected states to address the declining salmon population in a comprehensive manner, addressing salmon health issues, harvest, conservation measures and habitat protection.