The Obama administration’s proposed fiscal year 2017 budget announced Feb. 9 includes $65 million for the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund.
News of inclusion of those funds in the proposed budget, which must be approved by Congress, drew kudos from US Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-WA, who said Pacific salmon are an economic driver in the Pacific Northwest.
“We must continue to protect and restore our iconic wild salmon fisheries,” she said. “Investing in salmon habitat restoration today is an investment in our economic and cultural future.
The fund is central to Washington State salmon recovery strategy, funding nearly $30 million each year in grants to the state, she said.
Congress established the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund in 2000 to reverse the declines and conserve Pacific salmon and steelhead and their habitats.
The program is essential to preventing the extinction of the 28 listed salmon and steelhead species on the West Coast and, in many cases, has stabilized the populations and contributed to their recovery course, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which administers the program.
PCSRF supports the conservation and recovery of Pacific salmon in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho and California.
Since its inception, the fund has awarded states and tribes a total of more than $1.1 billion, and restored over 1,031,000 acres of essential salmon and steelhead habitat and opened 8,700 miles of streams for fish passage.