The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) receives federal funding to support efforts to protect and restore Puget Sound. Most of the funds are used for financial assistance to state, local, and Tribal governments for their efforts to implement the Puget Sound Action Agenda.
EPA selected Ecology to receive two recent grants, one for “Toxics and Nutrients Prevention, Reduction, and Control” and one for “Watershed Protection and Restoration.” Each grant is approximately $3 million. We've used most of this money as pass-through sub-awards to local governments and other recipients.
The goal of this National Estuary Program (NEP) -funded grant is to improve human and environmental health by preventing or reducing the release of toxics and nutrients into Puget Sound.
The thousands of toxic chemicals in use today enter the air, water, soil, animals, fish, and our bodies. Some of these compounds impair development, some affect reproduction, some disrupt body chemistry, and some even cause cancer. In addition to toxic chemicals, many nutrients occur naturally in the marine and fresh waters of the Puget Sound ecosystem, but human contributions of excess nutrients such as fertilizers and phosphates can lead to lower levels of dissolved oxygen and even dead zones where fish and other animals can no longer survive.
In partnership with Washington State Department of Commerce, we are managing funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to coordinate a six-year strategy to protect and restore watersheds that drain to Puget Sound. This strategy involves working in partnership with local and tribal governments and other regional entities. Projects supported with these funds make practical contributions toward achieving the Puget Sound Action Agenda's ecosystem recovery targets. Each grant supports a project that falls under one or more of these four activity areas:
- Watershed characterization
- Land use and working lands
- Strategies to manage stormwater
- Strategies for protecting and restoring watersheds