A Washington senator is leading the way to secure more funds to help salmon.

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced that she has secured $65 million for the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund in the fiscal year 2014 Senate Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Bill.

The $65 million funding level represents an increase of $15 million above President Obama’s proposed fiscal year 2014 budget and a $30 million increase above the corresponding House of Representatives appropriations bill. The funds will be used to support state, local, and tribal programs that help improve salmon habitats.

“Strong investments in a sustainable salmon population are critically important to the economic, cultural and recreational identity of Washington state, and they’re also an important part of our federal obligation to meet tribal treaty protected fishing rights,” said Murray.

“I’m proud that we were able to secure this funding commitment for the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund, and I am committed to supporting projects that improve our economy and protect salmon habitats.”

The recovery fund was established by Congress in fiscal year 2000 to protect, restore and conserve Pacific salmon populations and their habitats, and to address the impacts of the Pacific Salmon Treaty Agreement between the United States and Canada.

The fund supports the conservation and recovery of Pacific salmon across the rivers, watersheds and coastal habitats across Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho, Nevada and California. With this funding states and tribes have undertaken more than 10,000 projects, resulting in significant changes in habitat condition and availability, as well as establishing concrete planning and monitoring programs that support prioritization and tracking for salmon and steelhead population conservation.

In Washington, the fund works through of the Salmon Recovery Funding Board, which provides competitive grants to Washington state projects.

Murray was also able to increase the funding level for Pacific Salmon under National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Protected Species funding account. She included $61.4 million for this program, an increase of $2 million above the President’s budget request of $59.4 million.

Murray’s office reported this funding is critical for NMFS to retain staff on the ground in Washington state that work on ESA consultations and permitting processes. Without this increase in funding, Washington state’s economy would have suffered because of delayed permit reviews and lack of capacity for consultation under the Endangered Species Act.


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