The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently awarded $16.4 million from its American Recovery and Investment Act of 2009 funding to Washington state. Each of the six projects directly or indirectly involve seven western Washington tribes. Four tribes are direct recipients of funding; the other two involve either tribal contributions or benefit from the project.
- Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe: Elwha River Floodplain Restoration (Port Angeles, Wash.) – $2 million – In conjunction with the Elwha Dam removal, this project restores 82 acres of the floodplain of the lower Elwha River through the removal of dikes and culverts, re-vegetation and invasive species control.
- Lummi Nation: Smuggler’s Slough Nooksack River Restoration (Bellingham, Wash.) – $1.7 million – Raises a roadway and reconnects tidal exchange for 493 acres of Smuggler’s Slough channel that will flow to the restored salt marsh and eelgrass habitat in Lummi Bay. Seven miles of slough habitat will also be opened as a result of this project.
- Upper Skagit Tribe: Hansen Creek Floodplain Restoration (Milltown, Wash.) – $988,000 – Excavates and reconnects 140 acres of forested floodplain habitat and install woody debris for chum, coho, threatened Chinook salmon, and other important species.
- Tulalip Tribes: Qwuloolt Estuary Restoration (Marysville, Wash.) – $2 million – Restores 350 acres of wetland and 16 stream miles of fish passage for several species of salmon on the lower Snohomish River and its surrounding tidal floodplain by removing levees, excavating channels and planting native vegetation and trees.
- Removal of Derelict Fishing Gear in Puget Sound (Seattle, Wash.) – $4.5 million –Removes over 200 metric tons of marine debris, including over 3,000 net removals, and restore 600 acres of habitat. Tribal divers from Nisqually, Puyallup and Squaxin Island tribes will be helping with gear removal.
- Fisher Slough Marsh Restoration (Burlington, Wash.) – $5.2 million – Restores 60 acres of the Skagit River floodplain by replacing antiquated agriculture floodgates and restoring 15 miles of high quality habitat for chum, coho, threatened Chinook salmon, and other important species.