Improving habitat, collecting derelict fishing gear, and removing invasive species are just some of the highlights of the latest round of environmental restoration grants awarded by the Washington Department of Ecology. Seven organizations in six counties will benefit from $318,478 in grants.
Funding for the grants comes from penalties paid following oil spills. When oil is spilled, the responsible party is liable for the cleanup and may incur a penalty for spilling to state waters. A spiller may also need to reimburse the public for the damages the spill caused to state natural resources such as water quality, fish, wildlife, habitat, cultural areas, beaches, and shellfish beds, known as a Natural Resources Damage Assessment. When paid, the money is deposited into several different accounts and used for grants to those who want to do environmental restoration work around the state. The grants are available to local and tribal governments, state and federal agencies, and public benefit non-profit organizations.
“Oil spills are a threat to human health, our environment, and economy, and they can have a lasting impact on our state. These grants are a way to offset damage by restoring areas of our environment that need it the most,” said Geoff Baran, Ecology’s Natural Resources Damage Assessment lead and grant administrator. “We are excited to award these grants and look forward to working with all the recipients for the benefit of our state.”
One key addition to this year’s grants is a focus on environmental justice – which means prioritizing people facing disproportionate environmental and health disparities. Projects with a strong environmental justice component were prioritized in the award process.
See below for a complete list of grant awards.
Habitat Management on the Lower Yakima River
Benton Conservation District, $47,606
This project will remove overabundant aquatic vegetation from a number of locations on the lower Yakima River to improve fish passage during low-flow conditions.
Saint Edward State Park Shoreline Restoration
Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, $50,000
This project will replace shoreline boulders and concrete with habitat logs, improving habitat for aquatic species in Lake Washington.
North Kitsap Derelict Fishing Gear Removal Project
Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe of Indians, $50,000
This project will remove derelict fishing gear from Port Gamble Bay and other areas. Removing fishing gear from this area will aquatic species, such as crabs, salmon, and groundfish, all of which are important cultural, economic, and subsistence species.
Mercer Creek Streambank Restoration
Mid-Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group, $49,992
The project will remove invasive trees and plant native trees and shrubs in a salmon-bearing urban stream in Ellensburg.
Henderson Bay Armor Removal and Shoreline Restoration
Pierce Conservation District, $50,000
This project will remove shoreline armor and other human-made materials from the shoreline of Henderson Bay near Purdy. The goal of this project is to restore the shoreline to its natural state, expanding habitat for out-migrating Puget Sound Chinook and forage fish spawning.
Lower Horn Creek Fish Passage
South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group, $25,000
This project will replace a culvert with a bridge, removing a fish passage barrier to open up 8 miles of upstream potential fish habitat.
Hart Slough Restoration
Skagit County Public Works Department, $45,880
The goal of this project is to remove 24 creosote pilings from within Hart Slough and the floodplain, and to restore 4.15 acres of riparian habitat along the slough.