Clallam and Jefferson counties received $8.5 million from the state’s Salmon Recovery Funding Board for habitat restoration projects.
Clallam received $5,096,327, the third highest amount among the state’s counties, and Jefferson received $3,472,642, eighth among counties.
The funding was announced on Wednesday.
“Back in 1998, when the Legislature faced Endangered Species Act listings, this board was formed to address habitat restoration to improve survival chances for salmon,” said Steve Tharinger, Clallam County commissioner, D-Dungeness, and the chairman of the Salmon Recovery Funding Board, which is appointed by the governor.
“The board focuses on restoration projects such as improving stream channels and placement of large woody debris in rivers.”
Some funding also goes to irrigation districts to line irrigation ditches, he said.
Tharinger said Clallam received so much money because it was a member of Shared Strategy for Puget Sound.
That group is part of the Puget Sound Partnership restoration effort being championed by Gov. Chris Gregoire.
Jefferson County received a large share because it is a member of the Hood Canal Coordinating Council, which also is a part of the partnership, he said.
Jefferson County Commissioner Phil Johnson, D-Port Townsend, was delighted by the news.
“We’ve been working really hard on this Tarboo-Dabob project,” he said.
That project, which received $693,186, will buy 10 acres on the Tarboo-Dabob Bay waterfront and pay for half of 4,000 feet of tidelands, with the Nature Conservancy paying the other half, Johnson said.
The project also involves Jefferson County, state Department of Natural Resources, Jefferson Land Trust, Pope Resources and the Northwest Watershed Institute, Johnson said.
“These projects are developed and supported by local watershed groups and reviewed by a panel of scientific experts to ensure that the projects funded will be the most effective in bringing salmon populations back from the brink of extinction,” Tharinger said.
“This strategic approach, linking local priorities with scientific review, has made Washington a national model,” he said.
The money is part of more than $60 million in state grants to restore salmon habitat, including $35.5 million from Governor Gregoire’s Puget Sound Partnership.
Since 2000, the Salmon Recovery Funding Board has awarded more than $233 million in grants, funded by federal and state dollars, for 889 projects.
Grantees have contributed about $100 million in matching resources, bringing the total investment to more than $333 million.
Information about the Salmon Recovery Funding Board is available online at www.rco.wa.gov.