Snohomish County Gets $5.85M to Help More Local Salmon Survive to Adulthood

Project will restore 200 acres of natural floodplain habitat along a 1.5 mile stretch of the Snohomish River

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The banks of the Snohomish River will become more salmon-friendly thanks to a $5,844,800 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Coastal Resilience Fund grant announced today by U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA). The grant goes to Snohomish County, which will oversee partial removal of a large levee and restoration of natural floodplain along a 1.5 mile stretch of the Snohomish River near Thomas’ Eddy.

The National Coastal Resilience Fund invests in restoring or expanding natural coastal features that protect people, fish, and wildlife from storms, sea level rise, and other hazards. The program is funded in part through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. During negotiations of the law, Sen. Cantwell championed and delivered substantial increases in funding for coastal resilience programs, including this one.

"This $5.8 million infrastructure investment in a healthier Snohomish River is a win for wildlife, nature lovers, and local fishermen," said Sen. Cantwell. "By reconnecting the river to the floodplain, we are restoring natural resilience to shoreline and building new habitat for generations of salmon."

Snohomish County is leveraging the federal grant with a $2,120,000 contribution, making for a total infrastructure investment of $7,964,800.

“Snohomish County is honored to receive this grant, allowing us to complete the Thomas’ Eddy Floodplain Restoration Project and make more progress on my Puget Sound Initiative,” said Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers. “We want to thank Senator Cantwell’s office for her support in securing this funding and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for partnering with us. When this project is complete, critical habitat for threatened salmon will be restored, the Snohomish River floodplain will be more resilient, and there will be improved public access for people to fish, hike, and enjoy the beauty of Snohomish County’s Bob Heirman Wildlife Park.”

The 1.5 mile stretch of river being restored near Thomas' Eddy is part of a wildlife preserve managed by Snohomish County. The county planned the project with input from county residents and Tribes, including locals who fish along this stretch of the Snohomish.

The project will partially remove sections of a large levee that blocks the river, replacing these sections with woody debris that juvenile salmon are more likely to thrive in. Some sections of the levee will be retained, to preserve popular fishing holes.

The improvements will happen in phases and will include restoration of natural riverside vegetation and floodplain habitat. Initial site preparation work is expected to start in mid-2023, with completion by the end of 2026.

Throughout her time in Congress, Sen. Cantwell – who serves as Chair of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation -- has been a staunch advocate of protecting and strengthening critical salmon populations. The $2.855 billion she secured for salmon recovery in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has begun to flow to communities in Washington state. Sen. Cantwell also championed and passed the Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Project Phase III Act in 2019, which authorized an integrated and collaborative approach to addressing water challenges in the Yakima River Basin. For years, Cantwell has led the fight to protect Alaska’s Bristol Bay – one of the world’s largest fisheries – against the proposed Pebble Mine, emphasizing the devastation that the mine could bring to the Pacific Northwest.

In Washington state, five National Coastal Resilience Fund grants were announced today, totaling $18.5 million.

The National Coastal Resilience Fund is managed by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and NOAA. Nationwide, 88 National Coastal Resilience Fund grants were announced, totaling $136 million.