Senators Cantwell, Murray and Representatives Kilmer, Heck Announce Critical Investments in Puget Sound Recovery

EPA awards more than $25M to support Puget Sound cleanup and protection efforts; Lawmakers push back against Trump administration’s efforts to eliminate funding for Puget Sound restoration

Washington, D.C. – Today, Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), top Democrat on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Representatives Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Denny Heck (D-WA) announced new federal investments totaling $25.2 million to support the continued cleanup and restoration of Puget Sound. Originally appropriated by Congress in last year’s budget, the grants were awarded through the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Estuary Program and will fund state, local, and tribal Puget Sound recovery and conservation efforts.

One of the region’s most vital natural resources, cleanup of Puget Sound is critical to the recovery of several Endangered Species Act-listed salmon species, the protection of tribal treaty rights, and to the environmental and economic future of Washington state. Among the efforts funded in whole or in part by the grant awards include:

  • The restoration of an additional 5,000 acres of key Orca and salmon habitat;
  • The re-opening of about 4,000 acres of shellfish beds in Puget Sound; and
  • Improvement of biological condition from fair to good for at least 30 streams.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the grants will fund projects that meet the goals of both the National Estuary Program and the Puget Sound Action Agenda which is developed by the Puget Sound Partnership, the Washington state agency charged with leading the state’s collective efforts to restore and protect Puget Sound. The grants were awarded to Washington’s Department of Ecology, Department of Health, Department of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Natural Resources, and Department of Commerce, the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, Washington State University’s Stormwater Center, the Puget Sound Partnership, and the University of Washington’s Puget Sound Institute. Senators Cantwell, Murray, and Representative Kilmer joined lawmakers earlier this year to restore funding for Puget Sound recovery and conservation after it was eliminated in President Trump’s proposed budget.