Congress substantially increases funding for Puget Sound recovery

Congress substantially increases funding for Puget Sound recovery Main Photo

23 Dec 2022

Sustainability, Puget Sound



December 23, 2022
MEDIA CONTACT: Kevin Hyde, 360.819.3045, 

OLYMPIA — Congress passed a funding bill that will provide $54 million in fiscal year 2023 for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Puget Sound Geographic Program, a $19 million increase over the previous fiscal year and nearly double the amount from as recently as three years ago. The Puget Sound Geographic Program helps funds implementation of the Puget Sound Action Agenda, the long-term plan for Puget Sound recovery developed by the Puget Sound Partnership.

“This historic increase in funding for the Puget Sound Geographic Program comes at a crucial time for Puget Sound recovery,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “We need to redouble our efforts to protect and restore habitat for our salmon, orcas, and other wildlife, clean up the water, and cool our rivers and streams. We thank our delegation for their leadership in securing this funding and their support of the region’s work to restore Puget Sound.”

“This is a welcome and long-overdue down payment on Puget Sound and Salish Sea recovery,” said Russ Hepfer, Vice Chairman of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and member of the Puget Sound Partnership Leadership Council. “Our salmon are in crisis and tribal treaty rights are at risk. We’ve been losing habitat faster than we can restore it and our waters are being contaminated by chemicals and stormwater pollution. We are restoring the Elwha River, but what good is it if our salmon have to swim through contaminated waters to get home? Fixing these issues requires more funding, so it’s gratifying to see an increased level of investment that will help accelerate the recovery actions we know we need.”

“We’re grateful and heartened to see this substantial increase in funding for the Puget Sound Geographic Program,” said Laura Blackmore, executive director of the Puget Sound Partnership. “This level of federal investment in Puget Sound recovery will help the community accomplish more and make progress towards a healthy and resilient Puget Sound. We thank Rep. Kilmer and Rep. Strickland for their strong leadership in fighting for Puget Sound recovery and working with their colleagues in Congress to secure this crucial increase in funding. We also thank our partners and others who have built support throughout the region to make this happen.”

The Puget Sound Geographic Program provides funding to state, local, and tribal governments to implement the Action Agenda through projects that improve water quality, enhance fish passage, increase salmon habitat, and protect shorelines. Several Washington State agencies manage programs to address the three Strategic Initiatives for Puget Sound preservation and recovery: stormwater, habitat, and shellfish.

“Protecting and restoring Puget Sound is essential to preserving our way of life in the Pacific Northwest,” said Laura Watson, director of the Washington State Department of Ecology. “This will be a historic investment by Congress in critical water quality, habitat restoration, and toxics reduction work. It will pay dividends for generations to come in a cleaner environment, the return of our threatened salmon runs, and a strong economy for our region.”

“We applaud our federal legislative leaders for championing this critical investment in Puget Sound recovery,” said Kelly Susewind, Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife director. “We look forward to working alongside our partners to put this important funding to work.”

“We applaud the passage of the omnibus spending bill, in particular the increased investments in Puget Sound recovery for the Environmental Protection Agency,” said Lauren Jenks, assistant secretary of Environmental Public Health, Washington State Department of Health. “This reflects the strength of the existing collaborative approach. Increased resources will support the increasing financial needs of the Puget Sound recovery process and will allow the Shellfish Strategic Initiative to achieve even greater success improving environmental health and protecting public health.”

The Puget Sound Partnership is grateful to the entire Washington State delegation who have advocated for increased federal funding to uphold treaty rights and deliver Puget Sound recovery. The Puget Sound Recovery Caucus, led by Representative Derek Kilmer and Representative Marilyn Strickland, has played a key role in advancing support for the restoration and protection of Puget Sound, including by championing legislation to spur federal engagement with Puget Sound conservation. The Partnership is also grateful to the entire Puget Sound recovery community who have – through events like Puget Sound Day on the Hill and others – raised awareness about the need for sustained federal investment in Puget Sound restoration and salmon recovery.
About the Puget Sound Partnership
The Puget Sound Partnership is the state agency formed to lead the region’s collective effort to restore and protect Puget Sound. Working with hundreds of government agencies, tribes, scientists, businesses, and nonprofits, the Partnership mobilizes partner action around a common agenda, advances Sound investments, and tracks progress to optimize recovery.
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