(Washington, D.C.) – Today U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that she has provided $500,000 in funding to help salmon restoration efforts in the Elwha. The funding will support a variety of efforts that will complement two dam removals on the Elwha that are scheduled to be removed in 2009. The funding was included in the 2008 Senate Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) Appropriations bill. Senator Murray is a member of the Appropriations Committee.

"The Elwha River is a vital salmon habitat that is critical to the tribal and economic livelihood of Clallam County," said Senator Murray. "This funding will support efforts to restore a healthy, harvestable salmon level to the Elwha River." 

The funding Senator Murray provided is to be used on projects that will complement the removal of two mainstem dams along the river. Restoration projects that will be funded include the removal of unnecessary floodplain dikes, additions of large woody debris as constructed logjams, correction of fish passage barriers, and riparian forest improvements. The funding is expected to help create restoration crew jobs for the Elwha Klallam Tribe. 

"The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe is delighted that, once again, Senator Murray has secured funding to support the Elwha River Habitat Restoration Project," said Frances G. Charles, Lower Elwha Klallam Tribal Chairwoman. "The Tribe commends Senator Murray for her consistent support of this effort to improve and restore fish habitat along the Elwha.  This project is an essential complement to dam removal, and will facilitate recovery of a salmon fishery which is now impaired by the dams.  When the dams are removed, restored habitat will become part of a drainage which is still in its natural state, and largely protected by inclusion within Olympic National Park."

The $500,000 that has been included in the 2008 CJS bill is the second portion of funding Murray has helped secure for this project. Previously, Murray secured $276,000 in the 2006 Appropriations bill which helped to begin the project.

The CJS Appropriations bill passed the full Appropriations Committee today and will now move to the Senate floor where it will be considered by the full Senate.