NOAA grants $1.5 million for salmon habitat restoration

By Heather Cole, Puget Sound Community Relations Manager

We are thrilled to announce a $1.5 million-dollar grant awarded from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that will support Chinook salmon, steelhead, orcas and other listed species in Snohomish County.

With $10.4 million to grant, NOAA supported 19 new habitat restoration projects in 11 states. The funding source from NOAA’s restoration center supports productive and sustainable fisheries, healthy ecosystems, and resilient communities across the nation. We are pleased and humbled to be selected as one of those projects.   

Monitoring crew takes samples at Port Susan Bay, to prepare for a new phase of restoration. © Emily Howe/TNC

“The proposal was a truly collaborative proposal and a critical grant that supports habitat restoration alongside community driven solutions” said Jay Krienitz, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Program Manager and lead applicant for the grant. 

The Whidbey Basin is a critical “hot spot” for species recovery in Puget Sound and funding will go to the Tulalip Tribes, Snohomish Conservation District, The Nature Conservancy and WDFW to advance restoration of up to 2,350 acres of estuary habitat and 37 miles of river habitat.

Here is a sneak peek into what is being funded over the three-year grant:

  • Tulalip Tribes will be removing the Pilchuck River Dam to gain fish access of over 37 miles of uninhibited river to support listed fish species, like steelhead, Chinook salmon, Bull trout and other fish species.

  • TNC will be building tidal channels to improve fish access and increase marsh resilience at Port Susan Bay, 150 acres, preserve.

  • WDFW will be developing a plan for Ebey Island that supports agriculture, habitat restoration and other community values.

  • Snohomish Conservation District will be leading a planning process to develop a pipeline of projects that support agriculture viability, salmon recovery, flood risk reduction and tribal priorities in Snohomish County.

  • WDFW and TNC staff will be providing technical assistance to support community engagement and the development of multi-benefit actions that supports agriculture viability, flood risk reduction and habitat restoration.

This work builds upon TNC’s prior NOAA grants supporting multiple-benefit community-driven strategies—for farms, fish, and flood. NOAA has, and continues to be, a critical partner for Puget Sound recovery that supports healthy communities and ecosystem recovery.

A gigantic thank you to NOAA for funding this critical work in Puget Sound.

 Header photo by Molly Bogeberg/TNC