WE MUST INVEST IN HEALTHY HABITAT TO SAVE OUR ICONIC SALMON
Increasing development and a growing population are putting unprecedented pressure on our iconic salmon. The healthy habitat and clean water they depend on is in jeopardy. And the impact is undeniable.
Orcas are starving. Salmon runs continue to decline. We can no longer fish for some salmon species. Pollutants linger in our waterways and shorelines. This may be our last, best chance to protect and restore salmon habitat and water quality.
The existential struggle of many of Washington’s native species requires us to wait no longer. We must make immediate and significant investments to protect our natural resources, our economy, and our communities.
As stewards of nearly 6 million acres of public land — including 2.6 million acres of aquatic land — the Washington State Department of Natural Resources plays a central role in creating healthy, resilient landscapes.
That is why DNR is putting forward a multi-tiered approach to protect and restore our water quality and salmon habitat.
This package funds solutions to:
• restore and strengthen habitat to help reverse the downward trend of salmon runs,
• protect rare and threatened environments,
• secure and increase revenue production on state trust lands,
• help small landowners sustainably manage over 3 million acres of forest,
• remove legacy toxics from aquatic environments,
• reduce sediment loads into fish-bearing streams, and
• improve the quality of stormwater runoff in urban settings.
These investments will sustain the salmon that have — and must continue to — sustain our state’s culture, economy, and ecosystem.
AQUATIC RESTORATION AND CREOSOTE REMOVAL
$7,000,000 in 2019-21
DNR’s aquatic restoration crews have removed more than 50 million pounds of marine debris since 2004, making it one of the most successful components of the Puget Sound Partnership’s Action Agenda.
This work has been historically funded by one-time dollars, making long-term planning, contracting, and work prioritization challenging. This proposal will fund 2 full-time positions to identify and remove marine debris, restore eelgrass beds, and remove creosote structures.
OCEAN ACIDIFICATION, GEODUCK, AND ZOOPLANKTON RESEARCH
$1,502,900 in 2019-21
Acidifying oceans hamper shellfish development and jeopardize the $20 million DNR generates annually through wildstock geoduck harvesting and the millions of dollars private growers earn through the state’s shellfish industry.
DNR’s Acidification Nearshore Monitoring Network is leading efforts to assess ocean acidification impacts in Washington. Geoduck larvae and zooplankton research reveal the health of our aquatic ecosystems. This package will provide 3 aquatic scientists to advance this work and meet deliverables in the Puget Sound Partnership’s Action Agenda.
$303,600 in 2020, one-time only
A state-owned aquatic lands site on Lake Union in Seattle is contaminated with hazardous levels of lead, chromium and arsenic. In 2007, DNR negotiated a lease that split cleanup costs with the agency’s lessee and is now requesting $303,600 from the Model Toxics Control Account to complete the work and meet goals in the Puget Sound Partnership’s Action Agenda.
LARGE DERELICT VESSEL REMOVAL
Derelict vessels endanger habitat, oyster beds, and navigation channels. There are currently 14 large derelict vessels needing removal. This funding will allow DNR to safely remove and recycle approximately 5 of those vessels.
$2,101,100 in 2019-21
$502,200 in 2022
Healthy urban forest canopies reduce the volume and velocity of stormwater into salmon-bearing streams — the number-one source of pollution in Washington’s waters. This request funds 3 FTEs to help municipalities strategically expand urban forest canopies to improve stormwater retention, filtration, and habitat.
$1,526,800 in 2019-21
Washington’s booming population has increased development pressure on the state’s most valuable and precious habitat. DNR’s Natural Areas have received terrific support from the Legislature in acquiring natural lands and preserving native species, but the maintenance budget remains below 2007 funding levels.
This request provides reliable funding for natural resources staff, allowing them to focus on maintaining natural areas, providing low-impact public access, and identifying important areas for protection.
RIVERS AND HABITAT OPEN SPACE PROGRAM (RHOSP)
RHOSP purchases permanent conservation easements of essential riparian forests in critical habitat protected by Forest Practices rules for state-listed threatened or endangered species.
DNR uses Puget SoundCorps youth and veterans to restore urban forests, shorelines and natural areas; perform trail work; treat for noxious weeds; eradicate invasive species; maintain aquatic reserves; recycle fishing line; and assess forage fish. This funding will allow this effective, efficient program to continue.
LANDSLIDES AND PUBLIC SAFETY
$1,433,200 in 2019-21
The devastating 2014 SR530 “Oso” landslide revealed our need to better understand landslide hazards and glacial geology in Washington.
This proposal funds 2 geologists to research, map, and monitor the 50-square-mile SR 530 corridor, allowing us to gain a detailed understanding of landslide mechanisms in that area and the 18 counties with similar geology.
FOREST PRACTICES AND PUBLIC SAFETY
$820,400 in 2019-21
Washington sees regular landslides due to its steep slopes and rainy climate. With this understanding, we must ensure that roads built for forest practices purposes do not trigger landslides or add sediment to salmon-bearing streams. This proposal increases DNR’s expertise in this area by adding 2 licensed road engineers to partner with foresters and geologists on forest practices applications.
GROUSE RIDGE FISH PASSAGE
This funding, in partnership with the Washington State Patrol, replaces three fish barriers, upgrades 9 stream crossings, and installs or replaces 10 cross drains near Grouse Ridge Road near North Bend.
ROAD MAINTENANCE AND ABANDONMENT PLAN
Over the past 16 years, DNR has repaired or removed over 1,543 fish barriers. This funding will correct 21 injunction culverts and a newly discovered injunction barrier, opening up streams to salmon migration along with other RMAP water quality and public safety projects.
SMALL FOREST LANDOWNERS ASSISTANCE
$1,602,900 in 2019-21
Families own more than half of Washington’s private forests. DNR is seeking 4 full-time professional foresters to meet an increasing demand from family forests for help enhancing fish and wildlife habitat and meeting timber regulations. Funding also makes forest landowners aware of the incentives DNR provides to preserve working forests.
FOREST PRACTICES ONLINE APPLICATION
$2,100,500 in 2019-21
Review of forest practice applications is important to assure water and habitat are protected. Forest practice applications are managed by a 20-year-old online tool that is inefficient, cumbersome for forest owners, and unwieldy for those seeking information about forest practice applications. This proposal will develop a user friendly portal for filing and reviewing forest practice applications online.
FAMILY FOREST FISH PASSAGE PROGRAM
FFFPP helps family forest owners eliminate fish passage barriers. This request will correct an estimated 160 fish passage barriers, opening 430 miles of stream habitat.
FORESTRY RIPARIAN EASEMENT PROGRAM
FREP funding will purchase about 205 conservation easements to compensate landowners for protecting streams and areas around potentially unstable slopes.