2007 Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program
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2007 Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program

Category: Habitat - Nearshore

Date Published:  2007

Number of Pages: 16


A Time for Decision

The Puget Sound is more than just a beautiful backdrop for our lives. Its coves, deltas, and basins support fisheries, an international marine highway, and are the center of a way of life that entices economic giants in technology, aerospace, and service industries to locate in our region. Even as we enjoy the Sound’s economic benefits, the natural processes that sustain the Puget Sound are being degraded, putting its health at risk. Rainfall washes poisons and nutrients off the land, contaminating sediment and reducing oxygen levels. Developed shorelines no longer provide the complex habitats that keep our fisheries productive. Many fish, marine mammals, and bird populations that depend on the ecosystem are in critical decline.

The opportunity is here to choose a future for Puget Sound that protects and restores this place for our children. Emerging science helps us understand the Puget Sound ecosystem and its components. Public awareness of the need for action is on the rise. Our Governor and Legislature understand the value of defining a healthy future for The Sound and the resources required to realize it. This is a time for decisions.

The Nearshore Partnership and Ecosystem Restoration

It was the Governor’s Puget Sound Initiative that provided the first funds in 2006 for the Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program (ESRP) under the care of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). This was a natural fit. In 2001, WDFW partnered with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to convene the Puget Sound Nearshore Partnership to build and implement an ecosystem restoration strategy. They were joined by state, federal, local, and tribal governments; academic scientists; ports; non-profits; industry representatives; and citizens.

ESRP was envisioned as not just a grant program, but rather the ‘early action’ element of that ecosystem restoration effort. ESRP investments would be driven by independent science, capital leveraged through partnership, projects managed to improve efficiency and effectiveness, and the Nearshore Partnership’s position as grantor used to build a durable ecosystem restoration capacity leading to a national restoration authority.

This report outlines that vision and progress to date, describing our growing scientific resources for decision making, partnerships for action, and an emerging strategy for effective nearshore ecosystem restoration and protection.