Local communities are getting critical tools to respond to oil spills, hazardous material emergencies, and fires, plus they’re getting funds to pay for environmental restoration projects thanks to grants from the Washington Department of Ecology.
Ecology is providing 25 equipment cache grants
totaling about $2.8 million to tribes, local fire departments, agencies, cities, ports and other public enterprises.
When an oil or hazardous spill happens, damage to the environment happens quickly, so the faster first responders can act to manage the spill with the best tools, the better.
Grant recipients include:
Coastal Protection Fund grants
- White Salmon Fire Department: $188,000 for radios.
- Lummi Indian Business Council: $100,000 for a spill response boat.
- San Juan County Fire District 4: $30,250 for foam, boating safety equipment and spill response training.
- Swinomish Tribe: $186,400 for safety and air monitoring equipment and spill response training.
- Seattle Fire Department: $247,000 for firefighting foam accessories.
Ecology is also awarding $80,000 for four environmental restoration projects through the Coastal Protection Fund.
Coastal Protection Fund grants
- Mud Bay, Sucia Island salt marsh restoration project: Friends of the San Juans and Washington State Parks will receive $30,000 to restore salt marsh and pocket beach habitat on Sucia Island and at Mud Bay on the island. The areas are top-priority juvenile Chinook and forage fish sites. The funding will pay for project designs, permitting, removal of a low-lying road and associated fill, monitoring, and educational interpretive signage.
- Puget Sound derelict crab pot removal project: The Northwest Straits Foundation is getting $15,000 to locate and remove 550 to 630 derelict crab pots from the marine waters in Puget Sound that are lost or abandoned by recreational crab fishers. Derelict crab pots can trap, wound and/or kill fish, shellfish, birds, and marine mammals, degrade marine ecosystems and sensitive habitats, and entangle divers or damage propellers/rudders on boats. The project will include an outreach component to raise awareness of the issue, including what can be done to avoid lost crab pots and prevent the re-accumulation of harmful derelict fishing gear.
- Tarboo Creek protection and restoration: Northwest Watershed Institute will receive $25,000 to permanently protect and restore a 33-acre private property – known as the Radka property – along the main stem of Tarboo Creek in Jefferson County. The site will be protected as a conservation easement as part of a whole watershed conservation effort underway in the Tarboo Creek-Dabob Bay watershed. It will also fund five years of streamside vegetation maintenance.
- McMurphy Creek fish passage restoration project: The Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife is getting $10,000 to enhance the health of Lewis County’s Olequa Creek, which suffered a significant fish kill and loss of habitat due to the Winlock warehouse fire and oil spill in 2015. The project will remove two privately owned fish barriers on McMurphy Creek, a tributary to Olequa Creek, opening up 1.6 miles of fish habitat.
are funded by fines paid by the companies or individuals responsible for spills. These fines, called “natural resource damage assessments,” are intended to pay for the damage spills cause to the state’s environmental resources.