The Washington Coast Restoration and Resiliency Initiative (WCRRI) provides valuable funds for salmon restoration projects in southwest Washington. Local restoration practitioners like the Columbia River Estuary Study Taskforce (CREST) rely on WCRRI to fund habitat restoration projects that restore essential habitat for juvenile salmonids, update and enhance aging infrastructure, create local jobs, improve our natural resources, and make southwest Washington a more vibrant place to live.
CREST is currently developing two restoration projects that are funded by WCRRI. They include Hungry Harbor in Pacific County, and Harlows Creek in Wahkiakum County, both tributaries to the Columbia River. Restoration at Hungry Harbor will improve highway infrastructure and increase the availability and quality of rearing habitat for salmon. The Harlows Creek project will work, in partnership with a private timber company, to restore degraded wetlands and improve access to salmon foraging habitat. Both projects will remove fish barriers, reconnecting important spawning and rearing habitat for salmon, thereby strengthening Columbia River populations.
In Southwest Washington, restoration means business: healthy forests, rivers, tidelands, fish and wildlife are essential to the well being of our communities, ecosystems, and economies. Coastal communities have worked for decades to steward and improve our lands and waters, but have lacked consistent funding to address diverse, ongoing restoration needs. WCRRI helps to bridge this gap, and it is important the Initiative is funded so this work can continue.
The Washington State Legislature will soon be debating WCRRI funding for Washington’s coast, and we urge local legislators to support the initiative and provide $12.5 million in capital budget funding for the 2019-21 WCRRI projects. These projects are expected to restore critical habitat and support more than 100 jobs on the southwest coast, providing valuable economic development while restoring ecosystems and creating connected and more resilient communities in rural Washington.
DENISE LOFMAN, CREST Director