(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) today announced $500,000 in the fiscal year 2002 Energy and Water Development Conference Report for the Army Corps of Engineers to begin a study on coastal erosion threatening the Shoalwater Bay Tribe's reservation.

Significant erosion has occurred along the southern Washington coast for decades but the situation became more urgent after a breach in an outer protective barrier in the winter of 1998-1999. Although authorized in the Water Resources Development Act of 2000 (WRDA), the erosion study remained unfunded before inclusion in today's Conference Report.

"Severe erosion has eliminated most of the Shoalwater Bay Tribe's shellfish beds and threatens to reduce the community's land. I am very pleased that this year's Energy and Water Conference Report includes funds so the Army Corps of Engineers can begin work to find a solution to this problem," Senator Murray said.

Senator Murray serves on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development. She was a conferee to the Conference Committee, which met today.

Funding for the erosion study was not included in the Senate or House bills. The Energy and Water Conference Committee represented the last opportunity to provide funding for the project in the fiscal year 2002 Energy and Water Development bill. Language in the Conference Report requires the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct the erosion study at full federal expense.