Legislative Wrap Up from Puget Sound Partnership Perspective

This is the perspective on the outcome of the legislative agenda from the Puget Sound Partnership. While I appreciate the work the Partnership does, it is worth noting as you read this that the Partnership is a governmental agency, so they are unlikely to be critical of any missed opportunities, many of which have been highlighted by People For Puget Sound, Washington Environmental Coalition, Sierra Club and others. So this is only to say that you should read this as a press release that is going to have a certain ‘spin’ on it. While all these things are good news, there certainly was some not so good news, and we will cover all sides of the concerns as we find them. Congratulations to all the people and organizations who helped achieve these goals!

Legislature passes supplemental budget with good  news for Puget Sound
OLYMPIA – The Washington State Legislature included several priority items in the 2010 Supplemental Budget that will help the effort to restore, protect and prevent pollution in Puget Sound.

Included in the supplemental budget are grants to local governments through the Department of Ecology totaling $50 million statewide for stormwater projects and funding to implement stormwater permit requirements. Stormwater is a primary source of toxic chemicals and other hazardous materials washing into Puget Sound and other water bodies. The funds will be a tremendous help to prevent pollution from entering Washington waters. An additional $42 million is also provided for grants to local governments and ports to clean-up toxic sites in Puget Sound.

Other highlights include:
$1.645 million for a wastewater treatment plant and reclamation project at Potlatch on Hood Canal. This money, through the Department of Ecology, will allow the project to be completed and will help restore the health of Hood Canal.
$2.8 million for Carpenter Creek estuary restoration in Kitsap County through the Department of Fish and Wildlife to remove a culvert blocking fish passage and restore tidal function creating approximately 28 acres of estuary habitat.
$1 million for the Puget Sound Near Shore Ecosystem Restoration Project (PSNERP) through the Department of Fish and Wildlife to complete scientific work and near shore restoration projects. Preliminary engineering and property assessments will be conducted for a portfolio of priority near shore restoration opportunities that would be eligible for federal funding through the US Army Corps of Engineers.
$381,000 for the Nooksack Forks large woody debris placement for habitat enhancement through the Department of Fish and Wildlife. This project will construct six large woody structures along 1.5 miles of the Middle Fork Nooksack River and augment 20 stable large wood structures on five channel islands in the North Fork Nooksack River.
$185,000 for the South Fork Nooksack River restoration through the Department of Fish and Wildlife. The project will remove a barrier to provide fish passage to 1.4 miles of river, placement of stable log jams, and 41 acres of riparian planting along 2,900 linear feet of stream and several adjoining wetlands.
$3 million for Commencement Bay cleanup in Pierce County through the Department of Natural Resources. This project will remove 2,300 contaminated pilings to allow completion of in-water remediation of toxic contamination at the Asarco Superfund site.
In addition, the Puget Sound Partnership played a key role in securing $15 million to help acquire the Maury Island gravel pit. This complicated transaction is still pending but the state resources will help lead to its successful culmination. The money comes from state accounts funded by polluters, not general tax revenue.

“This is great news for Puget Sound and our ongoing efforts to implement the Action Agenda by 2020,” said David Dicks, executive director of the Puget Sound Partnership. “In these difficult economic times it is very heartening to know the state Legislature, Governor Gregoire and our partner agencies have kept the focus on the long-term goal of a healthy Puget Sound, while balancing it with other very important priorities.”

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