News Releases

Murray Secures Funding for Northwest Straits Commission

Jul 13 2006

$1.6 Million Will Support Local Efforts to Protect Washington State's Marine Habitats

(Washington D.C.) - U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash) today announced that she has secured $1.6 million in funding for the Northwest Straits Commission. Murray included the funding in the Senate Commerce, Justice and Science (CJS) Appropriations bill, which passed the full Senate Appropriations Committee today.

"The Northwest Straits Commission is protecting our state's delicate marine habitats, and I'm pleased this funding will continue important restoration and conservation projects," Murray said.

The Northwest Straits Commission is an innovative, grassroots program which Senator Murray played a key role in founding in 1997. Since its inception, Senator Murray has worked to secure federal funds for the program which supports a locally driven approach to protecting marine resources in the Northwest Straits. Today's announcement brings the total funding Senator Murray has secured for the commission's restoration efforts to $5.6 million.

In the late 1990s, Washington communities were divided over how to protect marine resources in the Northwest Straits; an area in the northwest part of Washington from the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Northern Puget Sound to the Canadian border.

In 1997, Senator Murray helped found the Commission, bringing opposing stakeholders together, to create an advisory commission that would address local issues. At a time when few thought the experiment would work, their coordinated efforts created an innovate model of restoring and protecting marine habitats. As a result, the Northwest Straits Commission was created a year later as the best approach to restoring the marine resources of the Northwest Straits.

Murray secured funding for the Northwest Straits Commission with the requirement that after five years an independent panel would evaluate its progress. In April 2004, a national evaluation panel declared the program worthwhile, encouraging Congress to continue supporting the Northwest Straits Commission.

"I helped to form the Northwest Straits Commission because of my belief that there is no substitute for local expertise and experience in conservation efforts," said Murray. "This funding will allow communities to use their own unique ideas to protect the resources they know best."

The CJS Appropriations bill will now go to the Senate floor where it will be voted on by the full Senate.