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August 3, 2006

Local environment benefits from oil spill

  • A settlement with Evergreen International is resulting in 14 restoration projects in Western Washington.
  • By CARA ROSE
    National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

    Photo courtesy Nisqually Indian Tribe
    The Nisqually Indian Tribe was awarded $144,962 to restore salt marsh and intertidal habitat on 100 acres in the Nisqually Delta and Ducks Unlimited was awarded $200,000 to initiate a 700-acre estuarine restoration project at the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge.

    Fourteen projects to restore Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and associated tidal areas have received $1.7 million from the Puget Sound Marine Conservation Fund. Those funds will be combined with nearly $1.3 million in matching contributions.

    As part of a criminal case settlement involving shipper Evergreen International’s illegal discharge of waste oil in Puget Sound, the courts ordered $2 million in community service payments to be made to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to establish the Puget Sound Marine Conservation Fund.

    The fund is financing habitat conservation, restoration and education projects benefiting fish and wildlife resources. Grant recipients were announced earlier this year at the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge.

    “Because Puget Sound and Hood Canal are so beautiful, a lot of people think they are healthy, but we have growing evidence that they are in trouble from pollution and loss of critical fish and wildlife habitat,” said Ecology Director Jay Manning. “These projects will help to reverse the loss of critical habitat on our shorelines and in our estuaries.”

    The successful projects were chosen from 121 pre-proposals and 28 full proposals submitted to a screening committee comprised of representatives from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Washington State Department of Ecology and NFWF.

    Grant recipients include Shared Strategy for Puget Sound to develop a habitat protection pilot program; Nisqually Indian Tribe and Ducks Unlimited to restore salt marsh and intertidal habitats in the Nisqually Delta; The Nature Conservancy to acquire diked farmland in the Skagit Delta; and the Orca Network to expand its Whale Sighting Network.

    A complete list of projects can be found at http://www.ecy.wa.gov/puget_sound/marine_conservation_fund.pdf.


    Cara Rose is the assistant director for the Pacific Northwest Region of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, a nonprofit established by Congress in 1984 dedicated to the conservation of fish, wildlife and plants, and their habitats.



     


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