(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Senator Patty Murray announced funding for a number of water and salmon recovery projects in and around Puget Sound. The funding is part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ budget that was approved today by the Energy and Water Appropriations Conference Committee. Senator Murray is a member of the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee and was a member of the conference committee.

The following are some projects that received funding:

Green and Duwamish River Ecosystem Restoration $500,000: Senator Murray secured funding for this river basin restoration effort that is supported by King County, the cities of Kent, Tukwilla, Covington, Renton, and numerous other cities and communities. Senator Murray’s efforts also moved the program from a study phase to actual construction. There is a general Administration and Congressional rule opposing new Corps construction projects, but Senator Murray advanced this as one of only two new construction starts in Washington state. This program encompasses a total drainage area of 438 square miles and takes in many municipalities eager to advance restoration of the watershed. There has been tremendous loss of fish and wildlife habitat and loss of 98 percent of the estuary wetlands. King County and local municipalities had only been waiting on the Corps cost-share to move ahead on projects.

“Preserving the Green and Duwamish River Basin is critical to our water supply, recreational opportunities, and salmon recovery efforts,” Senator Murray said. “King County and the cities in the basin have shown a strong desire to begin restoration work and I’m pleased to have been able to make the federal funding available.”

Puget Sound and Adjacent Waters $1 Million: This program was authorized by legislation introduced by Senator Murray in 2000. The program was authorized in order to help recovery efforts of salmon and steelhead listed in the Endangered Species Act. These funds will allow the Corps to begin a habitat restoration program throughout the Puget Sound basin. The initiative is structured to ensure that projects are done in close consultation with local, state, federal, and tribal interests. The focus is to begin restoration work that will take advantage of the Corps’s expertise and capacity for construction projects.

“I’m thrilled that this important funding will go to such a worthy program,” Murray said. “This is an effort to get the Corps involved in numerous smaller salmon restoration efforts outside of larger restoration programs.”

Alaskan Way / Elliot Bay Seawall $400,000: Senator Murray secured $400,000 for the Corps to participate in a feasibility study on replacement of the Elliot Bay/Alaskan Way Seawall. The 67 year-old Elliot Bay / Alaskan Way seawall is extremely vulnerable to earthquakes. If the seawall fails, it could lead to permanent damage to transportation infrastructure and buildings on and adjacent to Alaskan Way.

Last year, Senator Murray authorized and appropriated $100,000 for a reconnaisance study of the Elliot Bay seawall. Senator Murray had originally secured $500,000 for the study in the Senate bill, but the House had only appropriated $32,000. Senator Murray has also secured $1 million through the Transportation Appropriations bill for the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

Stillaguamish River Restoration $100,000: This project has been developed by the Corps in cooperation with Snohomish county, local tribes, citizens, and other federal and state agencies. The partners are focused on restoration of the North Meander site. Funding will be used to prepare technical analysis and design for the site. The project will reconnect the old channel to the river system providing side channel rearing habitat for chinook and other salmon.

Howard Hanson Dam Additional Water Storage $10 Million: The Corps is working with the City of Tacoma and the federal and state resource agencies on a project that restores habitat, creates new water supply and meets Endangered Species Act protection goals. Many of the elements of the Howard Hansen project are relied upon and incorporated into a habitat conservation plan (HCP) signed in 2001 between the National Marine Fisheries Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the City of Tacoma. This funding is important to keeping the project on schedule which is vital to match local sponsor funding, address serious water supply issues in the Puget Sound area, address Corps related ESA issues, and advance the project in the most cost-effective manner.