News Releases

Senator Murray Announces 66 Percent Increase in Northwest Straits Funding in Appropriations Bill

Sep 13 2001

$1.25 million earmarked for North Puget Sound will restore, protect marine environments

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash) today announced that Congress has committed $1.25 million for the Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Initiative. Senator Murray, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, secured $1.0 million in the fiscal year 2002 Senate Commerce, Justice, State and Judiciary bill (CJSJ) and $250,000 in the 2002 Senate VA-HUD and Independent Agencies bill. Last year, the Northwest Straits Initiative received a total of $750,000 in federal funding. The Bill passed by a vote of 97-0.

"I am pleased that Congress has demonstrated its support for our fragile marine environment by increasing funding for the Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Initiative," said Murray.

In 1998, Senator Murray and former Congressman Jack Metcalf (R-Wash.) convened a citizen's panel to look at ways to protect environmental resources in the Northwest Straits. Based on the panel's findings, Congress authorized the organization of the Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Initiative.

"Continued funding for the Initiative is one of my highest environmental priorities," said Murray. "The Commission is doing outstanding work, such as creating protected marine areas, assessing fish habitat, sponsoring research and increasing awareness. This funding increase will allow an even more aggressive effort to protect marine ecosystems in North Puget Sound."

The Northwest Straits Commission consists of 13 appointees: one from each of seven counties involved, along with appointees of the Governor and the Department of the Interior. Each county has created a Marine Resources Committee (MRC) to draw input from local governments, tribes, conservationists, scientists and business. Over 100 people are participating in the seven MRCs to protect and restore marine resources in North Puget Sound.

"This is exactly the type of locally-driven, collaborative effort needed to restore salmon and other declining fisheries," Senator Murray added. "The Northwest Straits Initiative demonstrates just what can be accomplished when communities come together to protect our environment."