(Washington, D.C.) - U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) today announced that she has secured $80 million in funding for the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund (PCSRF) in the 2009 Omnibus Appropriations bill. The $80 million for the PCSRF will support efforts to restore the endangered Pacific salmon population and improve salmon habitats throughout the West Coast and Alaska.

“Salmon are an important part of our state’s economic base,” said Senator Murray. “So with our economy struggling, this funding is more important than ever.  These funds will support research, stewardship, and restoration projects that will help restore salmon runs in our state and region.”

The PCSRF restores endangered and listed stocks of Pacific salmon through the improvement and expansion of salmon habitats. It also supplements existing state, tribal and local programs that foster partnerships in salmon and steelhead recovery and conservation.

In Washington state, the PCSRF works through the Salmon Recovery Funding Board (SRFB) which provides grants on a competitive basis to a variety of habitat protection and restoration programs. Since 2000 the SFRB has awarded grants to 695 different projects in Washington state. Projects have included fixing or removing obstacles to fish migration, opening up streams for salmon habitat, planting trees and shrubs along streams to provide ideal habitat conditions, decreasing the amount of soil flowing into streams, changing river flows and opening miles of transition areas for salmon headed to and from the sea.

Senator Murray has been a steadfast supporter of salmon recovery and has secured more than $140 million for salmon recovery efforts for Washington state alone over the past 5 years. The CJS Appropriations bill passed the full Senate Appropriations Committee today and will now move to the Senate floor.

The Omnibus Appropriations Bill provides funding for most federal government programs and targeted community projects for Fiscal Year 2009. The Omnibus bill is separate from the Economic Recovery bill passed by Congress and enacted by Barack Obama last week. 

The 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Bill will fund projects for the remainder of the 2009 Fiscal Year which runs until September 30th, 2009. The federal government is currently operating under spending levels passed for Fiscal Year 2008 because President Bush refused to sign many 2009 spending bills last year and Congress was forced to pass a continuing resolution. The 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Bill is expected to be voted on by Congress and signed by President Obama in the coming weeks. The funding levels included in this bill represent what will be sent to the President if the bill is approved by Congress.