Updated on 12/21/05 – The President signed this funding into law on 11/22/05.

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced that the she has secured millions to support salmon recovery, local environmental initiatives, and criminal justice projects in Washington state. The funding is provided in a House-Senate conference report on the fiscal year 2006 Science, State, Justice, and Commerce, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.

"I'm proud to have secured this funding to meet our state's needs in these critical areas, especially in such a tight budget year," Murray said. "This funding is going to boost our economy, help create good jobs, fund law enforcement, and help preserve our natural heritage for future generations. The funding will go a long way towards helping keep our communities safe, our economy growing, and our ecosystems healthy."

The conference report is in its final version, and it will now go to the full Senate and full House for approval; it will then be given to the president to be signed into law.

Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund – $67.5 million

The bill provides funding to continue salmon recovery efforts along the West Coast. Within those funds, $25 million is for the State of Washington, $4 million to Pacific coast tribes and $1.25 million to the Columbia River tribes.

“Protecting salmon is vital to preserving our way of life in Washington state and throughout the Pacific Northwest,” Senator Murray said. “Communities across the state have committed to protecting and restoring salmon runs and I’m proud that the conference report has provided funding to make this possible.”

Northwest Straits Commission - $1.4 million

The bill provides $1.4 million to support the work of the Northwest Straits Commission. Murray helped launch the innovative grassroots approach to marine protection seven years ago and has secured over $4 million for the restoration efforts in the past six years.

“I am pleased to have secured this funding for the Northwest Straits Commission. This is exactly the type of grassroots, collaborative effort needed to restore salmon runs, protect marine environments and increase environmental awareness,” Senator Murray said.

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.

Commencement Bay Conservation Initiative -- $1.55 million

The Commencement Bay Conservation Initiative is a multi-tiered plan to purchase, conserve, and restore stretches of shoreline along Commencement Bay. Once completed, the Initiative will provide a diverse range of functional and sustainable habitat types and species within the ecosystem to enhance fish and wildlife resources. Funding will be used to support the Commencement Bay Natural Resource Restoration Plan and to acquire property to help mitigate the Bay’s long history of environmental degradation, which has significantly diminished critical habitat to the detriment of marine life, including federally endangered Chinook salmon.

Methamphetamine Program for Washington State - $2 million

Washington state is combating the explosion of methamphetamine production and use through an intensive and pro-active approach. This funding will assist efforts already underway in several counties and cities throughout Washington state. These programs include the following components: intelligence, enforcement and prosecution, investigation and forensics, public health and ecology, professional training, community education and prevention, and family treatment services.

"This funding will help make our communities safer by cracking down on methamphetamine," said Murray. "Washington state's families are concerned about the safety of their children and neighborhoods, and this funding will help provide the resources to help protect our communities."

Muckleshoot Indian Tribe Gang Intervention Program - $250,000

The bill provides funding to expand the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe’s successful Gang Intervention Program. The program was established eight years ago to address gang activity on and near the tribe’s reservation. This funding will enable the tribe to hire an additional caseworker and female counselor to do outreach to female youth.

"I've been proud of the success of the Muckleshoot Tribe's Gang Intervention Program," Murray said. "This additional funding will allow them to continue – and expand – the crucial work they're doing for the future of the entire tribal community."

Pacific Northwest Regional Collaboratory - $4 million

Funding is provided to expand support the Pacific Northwest Regional Collaboratory (PNWRC). The PNWRC includes the Pacific Northwest National Lab, Idaho National Lab, the states of Washington, Idaho, and Oregon, as well as the Universities of Washington and Idaho, Idaho State, and Oregon State. The PNWRC is developing tools and techniques to enable regional resource managers and decision makers to use NASA earth science data to address pressing issues such as land and water management and regional sustainability issues

Lower Elwha River Habitat Restoration - $280,000

Restoration of salmon fisheries is a key component of the Elwha Ecosystem and Fisheries Restoration Act (P.L. 120-495). Critical habitat restoration efforts must be in place before dam removal, which is scheduled to begin in 2008. This funding will assist the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe continue their efforts in developing a fisheries recovery plan with the Olympic National Park, NOAA Fisheries, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

North Pacific Fixed Gear Research - $150,000

The bill provides funding to support research on the effects of fixed gear fisheries on marine mammals. Many marine mammal species in the North Pacific have been listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) or recommended for possible listing. These listings have required significant modifications on fixed gear fisheries. More research about the impact of these interactions is necessary to ensure that the proper steps are being taken to protect marine mammals.