Conservation program nets funds for preservation
February 12, 2014
The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) was awarded $2.2 million in grant funding by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to support three critical coastal wetland projects in Washington state, including Ellsworth Creek and the Naselle River.
Washington was one of 12 states and Puerto Rico to receive funding under the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grants Program.
“The projects selected for the grant funds will help restore and enhance our wetlands which are vital habitat for fish and wildlife,” said Lauren Driscoll, wetlands manager for Ecology’s shorelands and environmental assistance program. “This is a significant opportunity for the selected communities to leverage their local dollars with matching federal grant funds. These projects will help preserve our wetlands for future generations.”
The National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program is a matching grants program administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service). The program is designed to acquire, restore and enhance wetlands, which are experiencing a dramatic annual loss according to a new study by the Service. Using matching funds from this grant program, Ecology has partnered with tribes, cities, counties, federal and state agencies and others to acquire, restore and enhance coastal wetlands throughout Washington.
About the projects:
--Lower Naselle/Ellsworth Creek Acquisition: Ecology, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), was awarded $921,767 to conserve 386 acres of estuarine wetlands and adjacent uplands at Willapa Bay in Pacific County. This project includes estuarine tidal lands along the Lower Naselle River and within TNC’s adjacent Ellsworth Creek Preserve. The project supports ongoing conservation efforts of a large number of agencies and partners, including the nearby Willapa Bay National Wildlife Refuge, to protect and restore the bay.
--Elliott Slough Acquisition: Ecology, in partnership with the Chehalis River Basin Land Trust was awarded $310,000 to permanently protect 175 acres of high quality coastal surge plain and six miles of sloughs at the head of Grays Harbor, in Grays Harbor County.
--Skokomish Estuary Restoration: Ecology, in partnership with the Mason Conservation District and Skokomish Tribe, was awarded $1 million to complete the restoration of estuarine wetlands located on the Skokomish Reservation at the mouth of the Skokomish River in Mason County.