Inslee announces $187M plan for salmon recovery

  • The Associated Press
  • Thursday, December 16, 2021 6:14pm
  • News

The Associated Press

BELLINGHAM — Gov. Jay Inslee has proposed investing $187 million in salmon recovery as part of his 2022 budget and policy proposals.

Inslee announced his salmon proposals Tuesday at the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community reservation’s Swadabs Park, The Bellingham Herald reported.

The legislation would set new standards for salmon habitat protection and conservation efforts. The Lorraine Loomis Act was named in honor of the Swinomish tribal elder and salmon advocate who died this summer.

Inslee said the legislation is the result of two years of discussions with tribes in the state. Salmon are an important resource to Pacific Northwest tribes, many of which through treaty rights are guaranteed the right to fish, hunt and gather.

“Our fight is simple: to be able to practice our culture and feed our spirit with the foods we are accustomed to,” Kim Murphy, Loomis’ daughter, said on Tuesday.

Inslee’s proposed investments in salmon recovery include $123 million in new protections for salmon riparian habitat along the banks of rivers and streams and more than $16 million for water quality and temperature improvements.

He also wants to invest $5 million in green infrastructure grants for projects that store water during high flows and release it during low flows, as well as $6.5 million to improve science and monitoring.

Some of the specifics of Inslee’s plan include removing more fish passage barriers, such as culverts, and reintroducing salmon to their historic habitat above areas blocked by barriers such as dams and bridges.

The plan also includes goals to integrate salmon recovery with hatchery and hydropower operations.

Federal dollars for nationwide salmon recovery are coming to Washington through the recently passed bipartisan infrastructure law, and there could be more in the Build Back Better Act.

“I commend Governor Inslee for his leadership in supporting the Pacific Northwest’s vital salmon populations, and I am going to make sure the federal government is doing its part to recover our iconic salmon runs,” U.S. Senator Patty Murray, a Washington Democrat, said in a Tuesday statement.

Salmon populations are struggling. Over 70 percent of endangered or threatened salmon and steelhead trout populations are “not keeping pace” with recovery goals or are “in crisis,” according to the 2020 State of Salmon in Watersheds report. Salmon are losing more habitat than they are gaining, Inslee said.

“We are running out of time,” Willy Frank III, chairman of the Nisqually Tribal Council, said at Tuesday’s event.

“I think we are past the point of emergency now when it comes to salmon habitat and clean water.”

More in News

Wind returns for Day 3 of Race to Alaska

Teams pushing north along Vancouver Island

Port Townsend pool on track to open in July

Task force favors Chimacum Park for replacement

‘Positive support’ shown for Recompete grant

Port of PA extends lease with Homeland Security

Jason Minnoch, left, and Jim deBord move a set of musical chimes as Al Oman and Jo Johnston look on during preparations on Wednesday for Sunday’s playground opening of the Dream Playground at Erickson Playfield in Port Angeles. The playground, rebuilt by volunteers in May after much of it was destroyed by arson in December, will host an official reopening and dedication ceremony at 3 p.m. Sunday. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Reopening ceremony Sunday

Jason Minnoch, left, and Jim deBord move a set of musical chimes… Continue reading

Port Townsend, YMCA sued over 2022 pool ban

Confrontation with transgender employee at center of lawsuit

More muscle than wind in Phase 2 of Race to Alaska

Winds die down, force sailors to alternate with human power

Chris Fidler.
Port Angeles man honored with Distinguished Alumni award

Chris Fidler of Port Angeles has received the Distinguished Alumni… Continue reading

Members of the Makah Tribe bring a gray whale to shore on May 18, 1999. A federal ruling Thursday will allow the tribe to take 25 whales in a 10-year period. (Peninsula Daily News file)
Makah Tribe granted waiver to hunt gray whales

Ruling to allow tribe 25 in 10-year period

Team Roscoe Pickle Train of Port Townsend, which includes Chris Iruz, Enzo Dougherty, Odin Smith and Pearl Smith, were first out of the Victoria Inner Harbour at the start of the Race to Alaska on Tuesday. The cannon fired at noon and 38 racers headed to Ketchikan, a 750-mile contest that started in Port Townsend on Sunday. (Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News)
Racers restart in Victoria on their way to Alaska

One rescued by Coast Guard; two others try wheeling over land

Sequim city council members approved a $2.45 million purchase of 16.52 acres off West Hendrickson Road to be used for a future park. It remains closed to the public as it’s being leased for agricultural use until plans and funding can be put in place for the future park. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
Sequim purchases 16 acres for park

City negotiated with McCord family for 2 years

Clallam sheriff pursuing $9.6M grant for public safety facility

Defense program geared to supporting military installations