Fiscal Year 2010 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill

Our state has been particularly hard hit by the economic downturn – unemployment levels have skyrocketed and I’ve heard from many local communities struggling to cover basic services like education, public safety, transportation and health care. As a United States Senator, part of my job is to help critical priorities in our state receive attention from the federal government so that we can help reinvigorate our economy, create new, high-paying jobs, and help our working families stay ahead in these tough economic times.


Part of that process at the federal level includes making sure that our state gets our fair share of funding from the federal government. Washington consistently pays more in federal tax dollars than we receive back in federal investment and services.

During the annual budget process, I submit requests to the Senate Appropriations Committee for congressionally directed spending for Washington state (sometimes referred to as “earmarks”) that benefits our state. Some of these include: flood control levees; airport, rail, highway and mass transit improvements; drinking water and wastewater infrastructure; gang crime prevention and intervention programs; workforce training; and, agricultural research. I am working to continue to make this process even more transparent and to ensure that we’re spending taxpayer dollars wisely.


Every year, I receive hundreds of requests for assistance from cities, counties, water and utility districts, transportation agencies, and others. I carefully review and evaluate these requests — and choose to submit a selection of these projects to the Committee.  The final outcome for any request will not be known until the bill has been approved by the House and Senate, and signed into law by the President.

I will be posting each request I make to my Web site as they are submitted to the Senate Appropriations Committee. 

Below you will find detailed information about requests I made for the FY 2010 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill. 


Comprehensive Lake Whatcom Stormwater Plan Whatcom County (Bellingham, WA)


Lake Whatcom is a large multi-purpose reservoir that supplies drinking water to 87,000 existing residents of Whatcom County and will likely supply a substantially greater population in the future.  Residential stormwater runoff is a significant concern in the Lake Whatcom watershed.  The Lake is threatened by phosphorus, and associated low dissolved oxygen levels and algae blooms.  In response to this problem, local governments have developed a management strategy for reducing phosphorus levels in Lake Whatcom.   An integral part of this strategy is managing stormwater runoff in urban areas surrounding the Lake. This will be accomplished through enhanced stormwater infiltration, stormwater treatment and reduction of phosphorous sources.  Whatcom County will mitigate future urban runoff by purchasing undeveloped land and limiting development in the watershed.


Federal funding is requested to supplement existing local efforts in the Lake Whatcom watershed to 1) comprehensively address stormwater issues and 2) ensure compliance with recently adopted National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES Phase II) and pending Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) regulations. Funding is specifically requested to stabilize eroding stream channels, reduce stormwater runoff in the Lake Whatcom watershed and strategically acquire land in the watershed.  If successful, this work will significantly reduce phosphorus and other pollutants threatening the reservoir near the City of Bellingham drinking water intake. The requested amount of $1,850,000 is required to complete the most important of three components of the Comprehensive Lake Whatcom Stormwater Plan and will help ensure Whatcom County’s compliance with the Clean Water Act.  This priority funding request will stabilize urban streams, design and construct stormwater facilities, conduct engineering feasibility analysis for stormwater retrofit opportunities and develop a long term funding strategy for stormwater management in the watershed.


Amount Requested: $1,850,000



Downtown Sustainable Storm Drainage System – City of Tacoma (Tacoma, WA)


The existing storm water infrastructure within the project location—South 8th to South 15th Streets between Broadway Street and Cliff Avenue—is between 80 and 100 years old.  The age of the storm water system in this area combined with its connection to the Thea Foss Waterway (Puget Sound) have placed it at the top of the City’s list of critical storm water infrastructure that must be replaced.  The City recently completed a $500 million cleanup of the Thea Foss Waterway.  The key to maintaining this investment is to ensure that only high quality water enters the waterway through the City’s storm water system. Funding will be used to construct a sustainable storm drainage system within the Pacific Avenue corridor in downtown Tacoma. 


Amount Requested: $1,000,000



Ice Age Flood National Geologic Trail – National Park Service (Spokane, Pend Oreille, Whitman, Lincoln, Adams, Walla Walla, Franklin, Douglas, Grant, Chelan, Okanogan, Benton, Kittitas, Yakima, Klickitat, Skamania, Clark, Cowlitz, Wahkiakum, and Pacific Counties)


This project will provide trail management and staff to coordinate with trail partners in implementation of the Ice Age Flood National Geologic Trail (IAFNGT).  The trail will link existing and future federal, state, local, private and tribal interpretive facilities into a comprehensive scientific presentation of the Ice Age Floods.


The implementation and management of the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail will present to the public the story of one of the greatest outburst floods known to science.  These cataclysmic geologic events were known only to professional geologists until recent decades.  As the public has become more aware of this amazing story, the demand for more interpretive facilities, tours and information has grown dramatically. Development of the trail will further the public understands of the earth sciences and Pacific Northwest tourism opportunities in the floods region will be greatly enhanced.


Amount Requested: $500,000



Lake Roosevelt Management/Enforcement Program – Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation (Nespelem, WA)


The Lake Roosevelt Management/Enforcement program enables both the Colville Tribe and the Spokane Tribe to employ law enforcement officers to patrol Lake Roosevelt and its shoreline to enforce federal laws (through cross-deputization arrangements) and tribal health and safety laws.  Lake Roosevelt is the 151-mile reservoir of the Grand Coulee Dam, the largest hydroelectric power plant in the United States and the third largest in the world. 

The enforcement patrols are also an integral part of combating ongoing smuggling activity involving float planes from Canada.  Since 2006, unmarked aircraft from Canada have used Lake Roosevelt and other remote waterways on the Colville Reservation as a smuggling route for cocaine, ecstasy, and other contraband.  In March 2006, Colville tribal officers apprehended one of the pilots of a float plane and recovered an estimated $2 million in illegal drugs.  The Colville Tribe continues to receive several reports of sightings of these planes every month. 


Amount Requested:  $630,000



Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership -- Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership (Clark, Skamania, Skamania, Cowlitz, Wahkiakum, and Pacific Counties in WA and Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington, Yamhill, Columbia, and Clatsop Counties in OR)


The Estuary Partnership toxics reduction and pollution abatement programs will protect, restore and clean up Pacific Northwest estuaries as well as build long term economic health and create jobs.  Thirteen species of salmonids are listed as threatened or endangered. Fifty percent of habitat has been lost and toxic contaminants exist in water, fish and sediment.  This loss of fish has had a decimating effect on the commercial fishing industry.  These toxics reduction projects are designed to address recovery of those salmonid species.


Amount Requested: $5,080,000



Madison Valley Long-Term Flooding Solution – Seattle Public Utilities (Seattle, WA)


This project would divert approximately two-thirds of the stormwater flows from the NW section of the 706-acre Madison Valley basin and divert them to a stormwater storage facility at Washington Park.  This phase of the project includes 2 million gallons of above ground and below ground stormwater storage in Washington Park as well as other flood control improvements in the area. 


Amount Requested:  $1,000,000



Mt. Rainier National ParkCarbon RiverNational Park Service (Mount Rainier National Park, WA)


Ensuring access for Mt. Rainier National Park’s many visitors has been a particular concern at the northwest entrance.  The Carbon River Road was frequently been washed out, preventing visitors from reaching the Ipsut Creek campground and picnic area, as well as day-use parking for access to the Carbon Glacier and Wonderland Trail.  To address this problem, and to eliminate the considerable maintenance costs necessitated by the frequent flooding, legislation was enacted in 2004 (P.L. 108-312) extending the park’s northwestern boundary three miles along the Carbon River Valley.  The addition of these lands will allow the National Park Service to establish a new campground with associated roads and parking, new hiking trails, and riverfront fishing areas. The expansion will also afford much needed protection to the beautiful Carbon River Valley, conserving habitat for endangered and threatened species..  The valley contains one of the last inland old-growth rainforests in the United States, and connects wildlife corridors from the park to Puget Sound.


Amount Requested:  $693,000



Office of Marine Affairs -- Makah Tribal Council (Neah Bay, WA)


The Office of Marine Affairs (OMA) will train an Environmental Response Team, and will conduct a thorough assessment of on-site oil spill response equipment and assist oil spill response contractors in reconciling equipment inventories to meet state Neah Bay staging area standards.  The OMA will develop opportunities for tribal members to become trained in spill response and as Natural Resource Damage Assessment sampling technicians and will develop training for the tribal commercial fishing fleet to engage in hands-on response training exercises. The OMA will begin to develop a guidance document for other tribes to utilize in creating and enhancing their own response programs, and will initiate work with the US Coast Guard District 13 to secure training and accreditation to become eligible to gain Basic Ordering Agreement status. The OMA will work with the state DOE to gain a Preferred Response Contractor status. The OMA will work with US Navy Northwest Region to develop a government-to-government consultation process. The OMA will initiate a Natural Resource Damage Assessment program that lays the groundwork for developing a Tribal Natural Resource Compensation Schedule and an oil spill liability ordinance.


The Makah Tribe Office of Marine Affairs will participate in existing policy,              legislative and consensus building processes with federal, state, tribal governments and        industry representatives as a Resource Trustee to address its treaty interests in protecting natural resources. This participation includes as a Tribal Representative to the Governor’s Oil Spill Advisory Council and appointed committees, the Puget Sound Partnership Leadership Council, participation with the Navy Region Northwest/Tribal Council, as a Tribal Representative to the Puget Sound Harbor Safety Committee, participation on the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council and the Sanctuary Inter-governmental Policy Council, as well as participation in the Regional Response Team/Northwest Area Committee meetings.


Amount Requested: $457,981



Puget Sound Ecosystem Research Initiative University of Washington (Seattle, WA)


The Puget Sound Ecosystem Research Initiative (PSERI) is a council formed to, in close coordination with the Puget Sound Partnership (PSP), focus regional, national, and international scientific talent on issues critical to maintaining the health of the Puget Sound. With the requested funding the PSERI will conduct research and coordinate existing research to support efforts to restore the health of the Puget Sound. In addition to research, the funding will allow the University of Washington to create research panels to review existing research to determine the best available science to inform the work of the Puget Sound Partnership.


Amount Requested: $2,130,000



Relocation of Sewer Mains – City of Fircrest (Fircrest, WA)


New sewer mains are critical for the City of Fircrest to be able to ensure that it can provide adequate water quality. Currently, the City depends on outdated and severely deteriorated clay sewers. During dry weather months the sewer system has leaked raw sewage into surrounding soils, causing potential health risk to the City’s residents.


The requested funding would allow the City to replace these outdated sewer mains. The new sewers will decrease wet weather infiltration and inflow into the sewer system, thereby decreasing the electricity cost to power the City’s six sewage lift stations, the cost of sewage treatment, and the probability of raw sewage overflows from the lift stations. The new sewers will also decrease the number of sewer backups and the associated damages and public inconvenience.


Amount Requested:  $1,000,000



Salmon Stronghold Partnership Program – Wild Salmon Center (Olympic Peninsula and Lake Chelan, WA)


The Salmon Stronghold Partnership Program will complement critical salmon recovery efforts by providing federal support and resources for voluntary public-private, incentive-based efforts to protect and restore the healthiest remaining wild Pacific salmon ecosystems in North America—“salmon strongholds”.  Complementing recovery efforts with proactive, strategic investments in salmon strongholds is vital to ensuring the long term viability of wild salmon populations for future generations. 


Funding for this program will enhance coordination and cooperation of federal and state agencies, private landowners, fisheries managers, and non-governmental organizations in developing and implementing a scientifically-based, watershed focused strategy to conserve wild Pacific salmon strongholds.  This funding will also serve as seed money, providing opportunities to leverage significant private funds for cooperative conservation in stronghold basins.  The majority of the requested funds will be used to provide watershed and programmatic grants (cost-shared) and agency technical assistance to stronghold basins for performance-based projects that target key limiting factors in the basins.


In Washington, a good example of a project that could be funded under this program is the Upper Quinault River Restoration project in the Quinault basin, an endorsed salmon stronghold. The project would further the implementation of major portions of the Upper Quinault River restoration plan, which includes habitat restoration, channel stabilization, and reforestation. This project would implement the highest value conservation actions within the basin and employ over 50 jobs for the next five years.


Amount Requested:  $5,000,000



Sammamish Valley Reclaimed Water ProjectKing County (Sammamish Valley, WA)


King County is building a new wastewater treatment plant that will produce Class A reclaimed water, and is also constructing a large pipeline for transporting reclaimed water to potential markets.  Funds requested in this proposal would support an arterial pipeline to deliver the water to agricultural and recreational parcels in the Sammamish Valley.  There are currently 12 recreation and commercial agricultural parcels in the valley (totaling 265 acres) identified as having a strong potential demand for reclaimed water.  Most of these parcels are irrigated with Sammamish River water, though some users do not have a water right.  The river suffers from low flows and high temperatures, hampering threatened salmon.


Amount Requested:  $1,000,000



San Juan Island National Historical Park -- National Park Service (San Juan Island, WA)


In 1966, Congress established the San Juan Island National Historical Park to commemorate the English and American encampments on San Juan Island from 1852-1871 and the “Pig War” of 1859 which related to a boundary dispute between the United States and England.  In its draft general management plan, the NPS identified the 312 acre Mitchell Hill tract as the Park’s top acquisition priority and recommended a boundary expansion to include Mitchell Hill in the Park to conserve an historic military road, along with important natural areas and a recreational trail network.


Pursuant to the San Juan Island National Historical Park establishment act of 1966 (80 Stat. 737), the NPS has the authority to expand the Park boundary and acquire the Mitchell Hill tract.  If acquired, the federal government would own and manage Mitchell Hill through the National Park Service. 


Under its statutory authority, the NPS can acquire the tract from a non-profit partner, such as The Conservation Fund. The land is currently owned by the State of Washington – Department of Natural Resources.   


Amount Requested:  $6,000,000



Skokomish Watershed Restoration -- U.S. Forest Service (Olympic National Forest, WA)


The Skokomish Watershed Action Team (SWAT) – a diverse collaborative group working together to restore the Skokomish River watershed – requests federal funding to implement road decommissioning and other restoration activities.  SWAT has proposed to decrease flood hazards and improve ecosystem conditions for water quality and multiple state and federal species of concern in the Skokomish River and adjacent marine waters of Hood Canal and Puget Sound.  Their three year plan documents 43 projects planned for the basin. The SWAT’s plan for the upper watershed is complementary to the Olympic National Forest’s strategic plan.


The SWAT plan will provide for the ability of local and federal partners to decommission 70 miles of roads, stabilize and maintain another 149 miles of priority roads, replace 10 failing culverts, and restore 12 miles of streamside vegetation and 4 miles of instream complexity in this critical basin.


Amount Requested:  $4,664,000



The Upper Columbia United Tribes (UCUT) Programs -- The Upper Columbia United Tribes (Nespelem, Omak, Inchelium, Usk, and Wellpinit, WA)


This cost-effective amount of BIA funding supports the base programs of the UCUT and its five Member Tribes to fulfill federal unfunded mandates and governmental trust obligations in natural and cultural resources management primarily focused on fish and wildlife habitat restoration and enhancement, as well as on-the-ground project implementation. This funding directly supports a real part of the economic security and natural resources infrastructure for the greater Inland Northwest region. The funding supports effective on-the-ground work designed to enhance both everyone’s use and the economic benefits of our shared natural resources. It supports required tribal participation in a myriad of processes that affect natural resources, including permitting such as FERC, Clean Water Act, ESA, and NEPA, as well as processes involving federal hydropower and NW Power Act implementation.  A small portion of the funding provides regional intertribal coordination, communication, and collaboration through the UCUT central office, covering a large geographic area, and where government-to-government and Tribe-to-community interface is professionally facilitated.


Amount Requested:  $500,000



Timber, Fish, and Wildlife Program - The Upper Columbia United Tribes and 26 treaty tribes (Clallam, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, King, Kitsap, Mason, Pierce, Skagit, Snohomish, Thurston, Whatcom, and Yakima Counties in WA, Nez Perce County in ID, and Jefferson and Umatilla Counties in OR)


The Colville Confederated Tribes, Kalispel Tribe, Spokane Tribe of Indians, and the UCUT organization are among the 26 Tribes and 2 tribal organizations that perform governmental functions necessary to fulfill federal trust responsibilities and required tribal participation in the landmark 1987 Timber, Fish, and Wildlife Agreement (TFW) and its evolution to the 1999 Forests and Fish Report (FFR) and its associated 2006 WA St. Forest Practices Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). Although tribal participation is required for the full 50-year implementation period of the Forests & Fish Report and its associated HCP, federal funding for tribal participation has steadily decreased and continues to be uncertain. The TFW program is a collaborative effort that through a formal Adaptive Management Program seeks to address Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act related issues through the implementation of sound policies that are informed by science and that ensure a viable timber industry in WA state.


Amount Requested: $2,500,000



U.S.Canada Pacific Salmon Treaty Implementation -- Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission (Pierce, King, Snohomish, Skagit, Whatcom, Clallam, Jefferson, Grays Harbor, Kitsap, Mason, Island, Lewis and Thurston Counties, WA)


This request will restore the reduction of $1,800,000 to the US-Canada Pacific Salmon Treaty Implementation. Successful implementation of the PST requires the tribes to develop, whenever possible, unified positions on issues addressed to the Pacific Salmon Commission, the international organization established as part of the treaty process.  The tribes seek to achieve this objective through extensive participation in the process, including work in inter-tribal and inter-agency meetings, development of issue papers and analysis of strategies, formulation of negotiation options and by the provision of technical advice.


Amount Requested:  $1,800,000



Union River Estuary Restoration – Pacific Northwest Salmon Center (Belfair, WA)


This project involves the breaching of approximately 1300-1500 feet of an existing 3500 foot long man-made dike to restore estuarine function to approximately 40 acres of land. The restoration of this land to salt marsh will increase fish and wildlife habitat and improve water quality in the Hood Canal. The project will entail breaching of dikes and the removal of some fill for the re-development of salt and freshwater wetlands. There is an existing public trail system on the property that traverses the dikes which will be maintained and enhanced by this project as well. Creation of interpretive trails and signs will fall in line with the habitat restoration of the rest of the project and complement the existing Theler Trails.


Amount Requested: $1,500,000



Wastewater Treatment Facility – City of Rock Island (Rock Island, WA)


A central sewer system is crucial to ensure water quality for the City of Rock Island and the surrounding areas. Due to inadequate soils and a high groundwater table, the City’s domestic wells and approximately 100 private wells are at risk of contamination by failing on-site septic systems.  A sewer system will provide the region with adequate water quality for both Rock Island’s residents and its fragile ecosystem.


Amount Requested: $1,000,000



Water Reclamation Facility – City of Airway Heights (Airway Heights, WA)


This is an important water reclamation project for the Spokane region and the State of Washington. The project eliminates pollutants from the water quality impaired Spokane River, provides a recharge source for a critically stressed aquifer and will provide up to 100 temporary construction jobs for two years and five permanent jobs for the region.


The requested funding will help with the construction of a new water reclamation plant and a groundwater recharge facility. The facility will consist of a headworks building with screening and grit removal, flow metering, and odor control systems; biological treatment system with anaerobic basins, anoxic basins, aeration basins, short term storage basin, secondary clarifiers, and associated pumping systems; final treatment building with membrane filtration, chemical feed systems, and a U.V. disinfection system; reclaimed water storage reservoir and percolation system for recharge; and dewatering building with sludge dewatering equipment for preparing biosolids to be hauled off-site for composting.


Amount Requested:  $1,000,000



Water Reclamation Facility – City of Battle Ground (Battle Ground, WA)


In 2018, Battle Ground’s population is expected to more than double from approximately 16,000 in 2006 to 35,000.  Because of the population forecasts, the City has been evaluating infrastructure and operational needs from transportation upgrades to emergency response.  One of the most pressing issues for the City to address is the demand for sewer capacity.   By 2018, the City will need to add approximately 1.4 million gallons of sewer capacity per day. 


In 2003, the City began looking at wastewater management options and ultimately determined that construction of a new Water Reclamation Facility will not only meet projected population growth demands but will provide a variety of added environmental benefits, including increased flows in Salmon Creek and potentially wetland enhancement. 


Amount Requested: $1,000,000



Water Treatment Facility – City of Longview (Longview, WA)


In February, 2006, Longview completed an update of its current Water System Plan.  The Plan included a detailed evaluation of all the Regional Water Treatment Plant (RWTP) components and concluded that the RWTP will be unable to reliably meet maximum day demands within the next six years due to excessive grit and suspended solids loading from the Cowlitz River supply source.  In addition, over the last few years, the RWTP has experienced a series of mechanical failures caused by the high solids loading in the raw water.


The recommended solution to ensure a stable water supply is to build a new Water Treatment Facility and tap into a groundwater supply in the southwesterly part of the city.  A test well indicated that the groundwater is easily treated to potable standards, and that the volume of water available from the aquifer is sufficient to meet the city’s needs for many years.  A new Water Treatment Facility would eliminate the increasing impact from Mt. St. Helens sedimentation of the Cowlitz River.  The RWTP is jointly owned by Longview and the Cowlitz County PUD No. 1, and both the City Council and PUD Board of Commissioners have directed staff to implement the recommended project.


Amount Requested:  $1,000,000



Whistler Canyon Trail – U.S. Forest Service (Okanogan National Forest, WA)


Rising from the floor of the Okanogan Valley to 4620 feet, Hull is an island mountain.  The west face is steep and rugged with rock bluffs, cliffs, and canyons.  Due to the western exposure snow melt occurs early in the spring and the west face hosts an early wildflower bloom.  Bunchgrass, sage, and service berry grow between scattered ponderosa pines on the ledges.  The canyons are more heavily wooded, with Lodgepole pine, Douglas fir, and Western Larch making a mixed conifer forest. This diverse habitat hosts many species of wildlife, including mule deer, bear, cougar, wild turkey, chucker, quail and grouse.  It is best known locally as a range for California Bighorn Sheep. 


This is the setting for the Whistler Canyon Trail, 2.5 miles south of the City of Oroville along Washington State Highway 97. This section of Scenic Byway had an average daily traffic count of 2000-4999 according to data from Washington State Department of Transportation.


Land acquisition is needed for development of a trailhead and short, 1/3 mile segment of non–motorized trail.  This will reestablish public access to BLM and Forest Service land and the existing historic recreation trail. Trail head and trail construction would be accomplished by volunteers from various trail groups advocating for this project (Pacific Northwest Trails, Back Country Horsemen of Washington, Okanogan County Trails Coalition and grants from the State and from Okanogan County etc.)


Amount Requested:  $250,000