News Releases

ENVIRONMENT/SALMON: Murray Secures Critical Investments for Washington Environmental Priorities in 2015 Spending Bill

Dec 10 2014

Murray secures Pacific Salmon funding at $15 million above President Obama’s budget proposal

2015 omnibus bill also includes funding for Land and Water Conservation Fund, Puget Sound cleanup

 (Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced that she has secured critical federal funding for Washington state in the 2015 annual spending bill, including funding for environmental priorities including Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery fund, Puget Sound cleanup, and the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The bill is expected to pass the House of Representatives and the Senate in the coming days.

The 2015 omnibus appropriations bill was made possible by the bipartisan budget deal that Senator Murray reached last December with U.S. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) that prevented another government shutdown, rolled back cuts to investments in education, research, and jobs—and restored certainty to the federal budget process. 

“I fought hard to make sure that we continue to make strong investments at the federal level for these important environmental issues,” said Senator Murray.  “In Washington state, protecting our natural resources is important not only for the environment, but also for our economy, and I believe these investments reflect that.  From enhanced recreational access for existing public lands to improved habitat for wildlife, these programs will help move Washington state forward.”  

A list of funding secured by Senator Murray for environment and natural resources priorities is below:

  • $65 million for the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund (PCSRF), representing an increase of $15 million above President Obama’s FY15 Budget Request in order to support state, local, and tribal programs that help improve salmon habitat. 
    • Multiple stakeholders including Chelan County, the Yakama Nation, and the Forest Service worked together to reduce stream barriers, reconnect river channels, and conduct post-construction monitoring on Nason Creek to support spring Chinook salmon, steelhead, and bull trout.
    • States and Tribes have undertaken more than 10,000 projects since PCSRF was created, resulting in improvements to habitat condition and availability.  Over 458,000 acres of upland habitat have been treated, and instream habitat improvements have been completed or are ongoing on over 2,500 stream miles.
  • $28 million for Puget Sound under the EPA’s Geographic Programs, an increase of $8 million above the House Appropriations bill, in order implement the Puget Sound Action Agenda to continue efforts to restore the Puget Sound ecosystem.
    • Puget Sound is an economic driver in Washington state, and the Sound’s recovery, protection, and cleanup are funded through the Geographic Programs account in EPA.
    • This funding provides federal leadership and supports implementation of the Puget Sound Action Agenda, a coordinated plan to recover, restore, and protect the Puget Sound watershed and relying on the coordinated efforts of tribal, business, nonprofit, local government and state agencies.
    • The environmental and economic future of Washington state is closely tied to the health of Puget Sound, and this money will help continue those efforts as well as support the recovery of several Endangered Species Act-listed salmon species.
  • $40 million for Legacy Roads and Trails to address decaying roads on federal forest lands: Under the President’s Budget Request, Legacy Roads and Trails were combined into Integrated Resources and Restoration.
    • Senator Murray included language to target funds to the United States Forest Service Regions with the highest need; USFS Region 6, consisting of Washington and Oregon, contain approximately a quarter of the nation’s Forest Service road miles.
    • This program plays an important role in protecting water quality in our upper watersheds.
    • Fish and wildlife habitat restoration is a critical benefit and LRT’s road decommissions reconnect habitat, reduce road sediment in streams, and improve passage of fish to additional habitat.
    • LRT dollars provide environmental and economic benefits in rural areas.
    • Ongoing projects in Washington National Forests, including the Okanogan-Wenatchee and the Olympic, can be completed using these funds.
  • $306 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)to protect some of America’s most treasured landscapes, enhance recreational opportunities, and support local economies.
    • LWCF dollars have been used in projects across Washington state, and with funding this year acquisitions can be made along the Pacific Crest Trail and the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail, in the upper Yakima River watershed, and to support working forests in the South Puget Sound region.
    • 2015 is the 50th Anniversary of passage of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act, and continued funding for LWCF demonstrates the lasting importance it plays in our national landscape.
    • Land and water conservation has traditionally enjoyed broad, bipartisan support and funds have been used to acquire land, improve access for hunting, angling, and recreation, and support rural economies across the country.
  • $59.5 million for Earthquake Hazards, including language to transition the earthquake early warning demonstration project into an operational capability on the West Coast.
    • The Puget Sound region experienced a magnitude 4.0 earthquake in September 2014; this funding will allow existing early earthquake warning efforts to expand beyond the existing pilot project locations in California while benefitting from the technological expertise and existing seismic observing networks up and down the West Coast.