The Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program (ESRP) provides funding and technical assistance to organizations working to restore the shoreline and nearshore habitats critical to salmon and other fish species in Puget Sound. The program was established to advance urgent and obvious projects using the scientific foundation as developed by the Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration Project.
In 2006, ESRP was formally established by the Legislature, which appropriated $2.5 million in Capital funds towards habitat restoration and protection projects in Puget Sound. Since its inception, ESRP has received and invested $52.5 million of state capital funds and nearly $10 million in direct federal funding. With support from the Legislature, ESRP continues to administer a Sound-wide competitive review of grant proposals resulting in a prioritized project list for each fiscal biennium. This biennium, ESRP was awarded $10 million, providing funding to 24 projects across Puget Sound (click here for the 2019 prioritized list of projects).
A strong link to science, paired with taking an ecosystem-scale approach, ensures that ESRP’s investment decisions are strategic and that the program's efforts will translate into healthy and resilient estuaries, bays and shorelines.
Today, ESRP is a partnership between the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Recreation and Conservation Office, and the Puget Sound Partnership, comprised of four different grant programs:
- Restoration and Protection
- Small Grants
- Regional Pre-Design
- Shore Friendly
ESRP manages its grant programs by developing annual or biennial Investment Plans. These Investment Plans include a ranked list of projects, funding recommendations, any special considerations identified during the technical review process, as well as recommendations on learning opportunities presented through the project list.
ESRP is an integral part of a comprehensive nearshore ecosystem restoration strategy, helping to advance nearshore science, the Puget Sound Partnership's Action Agenda, salmon recovery, and WDFW's conservation mission.
For more information, please contact ESRP Program Manager Jay Krienitz at Jay.Krienitz@dfw.wa.gov or 360-902-2572.
ESRP Grant Program overview
ESRP distributes funds through a competitive project evaluation and selection process that results in an "Investment Plan" or ranked project list. New project proposals are solicited through a Request for Proposals (RFP) and evaluated by a technical review team made up of members from multiple agencies and organizations throughout Puget Sound. This team ranks projects using criteria made available to project applicants as they develop proposals. This evaluation results in a fair process that identifies the most promising restoration and protection opportunities that are ready to advance.
Odd-year Investment Plans: open to new and "portfolio" projects
The majority of ESRP funding is distributed in odd years at the start of each new biennium. New and "portfolio" projects are typically sought in late summer or early fall of even years and presented to the state Legislature along with a budget request during the legislative session.
Even-year Investment Plans: pending funding availability open only to "portfolio" projects
In even years, proposals are solicited from portfolio project sponsors as funding allows.
What is a "portfolio" project?
A project that has completed feasibility, has previously competed well for ESRP funding based on the results of that feasibility, and has shown good progress on previous ESRP awards.
Benefits of the portfolio process are that projects may request funding on an annual basis to move to the next project phase and are evaluated through a streamlined technical review.
Restoration and Protection
The Restoration and Protection grant program focuses on protecting and restoring the natural processes that create and sustain the nearshore ecosystem. The intent is to regain some of the ecosystem goods and services that have been lost as a result of more than a century of human development in the region.
The 2018 ESRP grant program is no longer accepting applications. Click here to see the 2018 Restoration and Protection Grant RFP.
The Small Grants program has similar goals as the Restoration and Protection program with a focus on local engagement. Projects are eligible to receive awards between $30,000 and $150,000. At least $500,000 is available each biennium for the program.
The 2018 ESRP Small Grants program is no longer accepting applications. Click here to see the 2018 Small Grants RFP.
Regional Pre-Design Program
The Regional Pre-Design grant program, also known as the "Learning Program", was developed to direct future investments by investigating potential restoration outcomes at a regional/ecosystem scale that directly inform construction siting and design. The projects help us understand how we can improve the effectiveness of habitat restoration in Puget Sound.
The 2018 ESRP Regional Pre-Design grants program is no longer accepting applications. Click here to see the 2018 Regional Pre-Design Grants RFP.
For more information about currently and previously funded Learning Program projects, visit the Salish Sea Wiki page.
The Shore Friendly grant program, new to ESRP in 2019, funds local programs to provide stewardship incentives to landowners to create healthy shorelines. For more information, see WDFW's Shore Friendly page.
The ESRP Shore Friendly Program is no longer accepting applications. Click here to see the 2019 Shore Friendly Grant RFP.