People and salmon alike will benefit from a new project to protect Smith Island outside of Everett.
The Recreation and Conservation Office recently announced that the restoration of the Smith Island estuary would receive a grant from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program. This estuary is part of the Snohomish River system, which provides the second largest volume of freshwater entering Puget Sound from a single source.
“This project will provide immense benefits, restoring salmon habitat and protecting our water quality for the next generation,” said state Senator John McCoy (D-Tulalip) . “The WWRP is a critical investment in our outdoors that is essential to preserving our quality of life.”
This single project represents nearly 5% of the entire Puget Sound Ecosystem Recovery estuary restoration target for 2020.
The local match combined with more than $15 million in federal and state grants from the Salmon Recovery Funding Board, the Recreation and Conservation Funding Board, and RCO brings the total funding amount to $16,001,958.
In addition to protecting water quality, the restoration of the Smith Island estuary will also provide new recreation access. Visitors will be able to witness wildlife in a rich tidal marsh habitat minutes from Everett’s urban core.
“Two thirds of WWRP projects protect or restore Puget Sound. This level of success would not be possible without dedicated legislators like Senator McCoy,” said Joanna Grist, executive director of the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition. “Smith Island is a prime example of how we can increase access to the outdoors while preserving the purity of our natural treasures.”
What is the WWRP?
The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (RCW 79A.15) is a state grant program funded from the capital construction budget that provides funding to protect habitat, preserve working farms and creates new local and state parks. Independent experts rank the applications based on criteria such as the benefits to the public, level of threat to theproperty, or presence of threatened or endangered species.
About the Coalition
The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition is a non-profit citizens group founded in a historic bipartisan effort by former Governors Dan Evans and Mike Lowry. The Coalition promotes public funding for Washington’s outdoors through the state Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program and the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. Members consist of a diverse group of over 280 organizations representing conservation, business, recreation, hunting, fishing, farming and community interests. The breadth and diversity of the Coalition is the key to its success — no one member could secure such a high level of funding for parks and habitat on its own.