Department of Ecology News Release - August 7, 2023

Ecology announces environmental restoration grant awards

Awards will distribute $318,478 for a variety of restoration projects around the state

Excessive vegetation can choke out a river. Grant funding will help reduce this vegetation and restore the river's flow. 


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.


Benton County

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.


King County

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.


Kitsap County

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.


Kittitas County

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.


Pierce County

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.


Skagit County

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.

Contact information

Ty Keltner
Twitter: ecologywa