Murray Announces $1.2 Million for Northwest Straits Funding in Senate Appropriations Bill

Jul 16 2002

Murray secures 71% increase over last year to restore, protect marine environments in North Puget Sound

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) today announced that she has secured a $500,000 increase in funding for the Northwest Straits Initiative, which represents a funding increase of seventy-one percent in this bill.

The Senate fiscal year 2003 Commerce, Justice, State and the Judiciary bill includes $1.2 million for the initiative. Last year, the Northwest Straits Initiative received $700,000 in this bill.

"The Commission is doing outstanding work to protect and restore fragile ecosystems," Senator Murray said. "I am proud to have secured this increase in funding to strengthen the ongoing efforts to protect our environment."

In 1998, Senator Murray and former U.S. Representative Jack Metcalf (R-Wash.) convened a citizen's panel to study ways to reverse environmental degradation of the Northwest Straits. Based on the panel's findings, Congress authorized the Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Initiative the same year.

The Northwest Straits Commission consists of 13 appointees: one from each of seven counties involved, along with appointees made by the Governor and the Department of the Interior.

Each county has created a Marine Resources Committee (MRC) to draw input from local government, 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 grassroots, collaborative effort needed to restore salmon and other declining fisheries while improving Washington's pristine coastline," Senator Murray added. "This community-wide effort continues to illustrate the tremendous results that can be achieved when we work together to solve environmental problems."