Puget Sound watershed restoration and protection grants awarded

The Department of Ecology has awarded $50,000 each to 14 Puget Sound watershed groups, including the Puyallup-White and Chambers-Clover watershed councils. The Puget Sound Watershed Protection and Restoration grants will help the groups weave together the many protection and restoration plans already in place within each watershed.

There are 14 river systems or watersheds that drain to the Puget Sound, Hood Canal and Strait of Juan de Fuca. Together the grants total $700,000 and are part of Gov. Chris Gregoire’s efforts to restore Puget Sound to a healthy condition by 2020.

“For years, many local watershed planning groups, tribal governments and nonprofit organizations have been doing great work to protect and preserve Puget Sound,” said Gordon White, manager of Ecology’s Shorelands and Environmental Assistance program. “These grants will help create a coordinated approach between the many different groups and planning efforts currently under way in each watershed.”

White said coordinated action in each watershed is critical for restoring and protecting Puget Sound. The work of these local groups will help insure that dollars spent cleaning up and restoring Puget Sound is done as efficiently as possible. He noted that multiple watershed planning requirements and watershed groups — many created at separate times for different, distinct purposes — have often resulted in overlapping planning requirements and gaps in the planning process.

The money was made available through Ecology and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from a congressional appropriation secured by U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks. Ecology worked in collaboration with Shared Strategy for Puget Sound, Puget Sound Partnership and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife on awarding the grants.

The watershed grant recipients and some activities include collaborating with the Puyallup-White and Chambers-Clover watershed councils to conduct technical workshops about integrating urban development strategies for controlling stormwater runoff in the Puyallup-White watershed; conduct water quality conference in the Chambers-Clover watershed.

Others on the list include Duwamish-Green, East Kitsap, Hood Canal, Island, Kennedy-Goldsborough and Deschutes, Lake Washington/Cedar-Sammamish, Nisqually, Nooksack, North Olympic, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish and Stillaguamish.