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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray and eight other members of the Washington state Democratic congressional delegation sent a letter to Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Michael Connor and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Acting Director Shalanda Young requesting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and OMB prioritize funding for the planned Howard A. Hanson Dam fish passage facility on the Green River as part of the $17.1 billion in funding included for the Corps in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

“Completing the downstream fish passage facility would ensure drinking water storage capacity, continue to protect the Green River Valley from flooding, and reopen over 60 miles of prime habitat for Endangered Species Act-listed salmon and steelhead populations, which also support the endangered Southern Resident orca population,” the members wrote to Assistant Secretary Connor and Acting Director Young.

“Securing funding for construction will also leverage significant investments made by non-federal partners and complete a multi-benefit infrastructure project that could make the largest single gain in salmon production in Puget Sound.”

The letter was signed by U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) U.S. Representatives Kim Schrier, M.D. (D, WA-08), Derek Kilmer (D, WA-06), Suzan DelBene (D, WA-01), Rick Larsen (D, WA-02), Marilyn Strickland (D, WA-10), Adam Smith (D, WA-09), and Pramila Jayapal (D, WA-07).

The full text of the letter is available HERE and below.

November 16, 2021

Dear Assistant Secretary Connor and Acting Director Young,

We write to request that funding for the construction of a downstream fish passage facility at Howard A. Hanson Dam (HAHD) be prioritized from funding made available to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) appropriated under Title III – Construction of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Completing the downstream fish passage facility would ensure drinking water storage capacity, continue to protect the Green River Valley from flooding, and reopen over 60 miles of prime habitat for Endangered Species Act-listed salmon and steelhead populations, which also support the endangered Southern Resident orca population.

In February 2019, the Corps and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration agreed to the Howard A. Hanson Dam Biological Opinion (BiOP) which outlined the Corps’ responsibility to design and construct a downstream fish passage facility to improve the recovery of salmon and steelhead listed under the Endangered Species Act and uphold the federal government’s treaty and trust responsibilities to Native American Tribes. The BiOp requires an operational downstream fish passage facility by 2030 and funding is needed to commence construction and meet this obligation. Securing funding for construction will also leverage significant investments made by non-federal partners and complete a multi-benefit infrastructure project that could make the largest single gain in salmon production in Puget Sound.

Downstream fish passage at HAHD is an urgent priority that is supported by members of Washington’s federal Congressional delegation, the state of Washington, and local governments. Completion of this significant water storage and ecosystem restoration project that will benefit communities and critically threatened species in Washington state. It is vital that funding for construction of this fish passage facility at HAHD is prioritized by the Corps.

Sincerely,

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