Kitsap County is set to receive roughly $1.5 million in grants from the state for salmon restoration efforts in Puget Sound.
The $1.5 million grant for Kitsap County is part of the $45 million in total grants that the Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board is awarding for counties surrounding Puget Sound. According to the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office, the grants will focus on improving salmon habitat and conserving shorelines and riverbanks.
“When we invest in salmon recovery, it’s not just salmon that we’re saving,” Gov. Jay Inslee said in a press release. “Whether you live near, love to play in, or simply care about Puget Sound, this funding is a cornerstone of doing that — and investing in that habitat kick starts a suite of other benefits.”
Specifically, three projects will be awarded grants in Kitsap County that will total $1,560,967 for the Bainbridge Island Land Trust, Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group, and designs to remove shoreline retaining walls in the county.
A $754,740 grant will be awarded to the Bainbridge Island Land Trust to buy and restore about 18 acres of undeveloped shoreline, wetland and streams in Little Manzanita Bay. The land trust will remove and manage invasive plants and plant native plants along the shoreline. According to RCO, the plants drop insects that young salmon eat while en route to the ocean. Chinook and coho salmon use the area for feeding and protection from predators.
The Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group was awarded a $569,653 grant to purchase roughly 297 acres in the lower Big Beef Creek watershed, which includes recently restored freshwater, wetland and shoreline habitat critical to summer chum salmon. RCO said the project will benefit chum salmon and steelhead, which are two salmon species listed as threatened with extinction under the federal Endangered Species Act.
Lastly, Kitsap County will receive a $236,274 grant to develop preliminary designs to remove eight to 10 shoreline retaining walls and to initiate permitting. The county will identify willing landowners through the Shore Friendly Program, which offers shoreline guidance to support Puget Sound protection. Kitsap County will rank the projects based on location, amount of sediment, habitat and species and size.
“Removing retaining walls allows waves to remove and deposit sediment on the beach naturally and can result in the creation of new habitat,” an RCO document states.
“The Puget Sound Partnership is committed to recovering salmon populations in this region and we are thrilled to see this funding come through,” Laura Blackmore, Puget Sound Partnership executive director, said in the release.
“Salmon are integral to the identity and traditions of the Pacific Northwest and are a vital part of the Puget Sound food web,” Blackmore said.