U.S. Rep. Brian Baird, D-Wash., has announced major funding for key projects in Pacific County that were secured when the Omnibus Appropriations Bill passed the House of Representatives this week.

The bill, which was passed by the Senate last night, will now be sent to the President's desk for signature. 

"This federal funding will greatly help Pacific County expand aquaculture and agricultural research, perform vital work along the Columbia River, and ultimately improve economic development in the region," said Baird. 

Baird announced the following funding for Pacific County projects:

? $563,031 in funding to expand Washington State University's Aquaculture Research Initiative.   

Expansion of aquaculture in the Pacific Northwest has often been limited by the threat of domestic and foreign pathogens, which can close both domestic and foreign markets by competition from foreign imports. The aquaculture has also been limited by lack of innovation in husbandry technology, utilization of limited water resources, and encroachment of invasive species such as burrowing shrimp into areas traditionally occupied by aquaculture operations. 

This funding will allow researchers to begin to address the unique needs of the Washington State shellfish industry. The Aquaculture Research Initiative complements the shellfish research at the Hatfield Science Center in Newport.


? $326,697 for the Northwest Center for Small Fruits Research.

The Center is a cooperative venture between researchers and berry and grape producers in the Pacific Northwest. Past research through the Center has focused on integrated pest management to reduce chemical outputs and augmentation of genetic resources available to small fruits farmers. Emerging issues of concern to the Center include food safety and human nutrition, as well as the role of small fruit growing and processing in rural community economic development.

The research conducted by the Long Beach unit is critical to the health of the cranberry industry in the Pacific Northwest. Only through innovative technologies, produced in part by the Long Beach facility, has the cranberry industry in the Northwest survived an influx of under-priced imports. This funding will allow the Northwest cranberry industry to remain competitive in the international marketplace. 


? $598,000 in funding for the Columbia River at Baker Bay, Wash. (Port of Ilwaco). 

The funding will be utilized for maintenance dredging of the three-mile entrance channel through Baker Bay to the Port of Ilwaco Harbor.  Maintenance dredging is essential to the Port of Ilwaco, with regard to both navigation safety of the channel and economic development in the region. The Port serves vessels from the entire Pacific Rim including Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, Hawaii and Canada.


? $229,000 in funding for the Columbia River between Chinook and Sand Island (Port of Chinook), Wash.

 Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., secured this funding in the Senate version of the Fiscal Year 2007 Energy and Water Appropriations bill, which will be used for maintenance dredging of the one-mile channel from the Columbia River mile marker 5 to the Port of Chinook boat basin.


? $526,636 in funding for the Ocean Beach Hospital in Ilwaco, Wash., for the Western Washington Rural Health Care Collaborative Telepharmacy Program.

The funding will be used for the Western Washington Rural Health Care Collaborative to implement a telepharmacy program used by eight Critical Access Hospitals in rural areas of Southwest Washington. The proposed telepharmacy program will allow registered pharmacy technicians working in stores in remote or rural locations to deliver medications to customers after the prescription has been processed by a pharmacist working from a home or central pharmacy location.


? $367,500 in funding for the Discovery Trail that runs from Long Beach to Port of Ilwaco, Wash. 

The funding will be used to permit the completion of the construction of the Discovery Trail, Phase I, between Seaview and Ilwaco. Planning, design, engineering, and right of way activities have been completed. The Discovery Trail is a 35-mile linear trail that will ultimately connect units of the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, including Cape Disappointment, Fort Columbia, Station Camp and Dismal Nitch.