Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program

The Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program (ESRP) provides funding and technical assistance to organizations working to restore shoreline and nearshore habitats critical to salmon and other species in Puget Sound. The program was established to advance projects using the scientific foundation developed by the Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration Project.

Learn more about the ESRP in this infographic. (PDF)

In 2006, ESRP was established by the Legislature, which appropriated capital funds to habitat restoration and protection projects in Puget Sound. Since its inception, ESRP has received and invested $78.2 million of state capital funds and nearly $10 million in direct federal funding.

2023-25 Final Investment Plan

The ESRP 2022 grant competition has concluded, resulting in a 2023-25 final investment plan. The coordinated 2023-25 investment plan was the result of years of work together with local project sponsors and over 50 regional technical reviewers with expertise in science, policy, and implementation. ESRP’s biennial grant process involves thousands of hours of work from local teams, representing input from hundreds of individuals and dozens of project sponsors. This comprehensive, integrated list contains priority Puget Sound nearshore recovery work through restoration, protection, landowner incentives, and pre-design projects. This work supports voluntary projects that are supported in local communities, restore key fisheries, and provide local jobs across the Sound.

ESRP requested $25,511,639 in state capital funding as part of the 2023-2025 regular state legislative session, submitted as part of the Recreation and Conservation Office capital appropriation. The 2023-25 Capital Budget resulted in a Final Investment Plan, awarding ESRP $14,309,000.

For more details, download the 2023-2025 Final Investment Plan (PDF).

A strong link to science, paired with 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 is comprised of four grant programs:

  • Restoration and protection
  • Small grants
  • Regional pre-design
  • Shore friendly

ESRP manages its grant programs by developing biennial investment plans, which include a ranked list of projects and funding recommendations. As an integral part of a comprehensive nearshore ecosystem recovery strategy, the ESRP helps to advance nearshore science, the Puget Sound Partnership's Action Agenda, salmon recovery, and WDFW's conservation mission.

For more information, contact Puget Sound Section Manager Jason Alberich at

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ESRP Grant Program Overview

The 2024 ESRP grant competition is now open. Learn more below.

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.

Grant Types

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 2024 ESRP Restoration and Protection grant competition is now open. For more information, visit the ESRP Restoration and Protection Grant Program page.

Regional Pre-Design

Regional Pre-Design grants are key investments that inform our ESRP Learning Program. These projects direct future investments by investigating potential restoration outcomes at a regional and ecosystem scale to directly inform construction siting and design. The projects help us understand how we can improve the effectiveness of habitat restoration in Puget Sound.

The 2024 ESRP Regional Pre-Design Project grant competition is now open. For more information, visit the ESRP Regional Pre-Design Projects page.

For more information about currently and previously funded projects, visit the Salish Sea Wiki page.

Small Grants

The Small Grants Program has similar goals as the restoration and protection program with a focus on local engagement and restoring and protecting beach systems. Projects are eligible to receive awards between $30,000 and $150,000. At least $500,000 is available each biennium for the program.

Final applications for the 2024 ESRP Small Grants are due by Feb. 21, 2024. For more information, visit the ESRP Small Grants Program page.

Shore Friendly

The Shore Friendly program, adopted by ESRP in 2019, funds 6-year local programs to provide stewardship incentives to landowners to create healthy shorelines.

The 2024 ESRP Shore Friendly grant program is now closed. For more information, see WDFW's Shore Friendly page.

Stories and Media

The ESRP has created a series of story maps that showcase the importance of restoring the nearshore natural environment using innovative and multi-benefit solutions. The ESRP also created a short documentary, Lifeblood, with funding through the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) and the expertise of Seattle production company CaravanLab.

Lifeblood: Connected by water, united by hope

The environmental problems we face today are rooted in the context of our histories. The documentary Lifeblood shows how groups historically at odds with one another are finding ways to come together for a better future in the Pacific Northwest. This film explores how four groups of people - anglers, indigenous tribes, farmers, and scientists - are moving beyond mistrust to forge a new path for healthy ecosystems that work for us all. 

Snohomish salmon

Salmon populations in Puget Sound have decreased due to a variety of factors. Habitat restoration can increase these numbers, and one of the most important habitat types to restore is the estuary, where freshwater and saltwater meet. Check out the story map to learn why estuaries are so important to salmon, and learn more about the work being done in the Snohomish River estuary to help increase populations.

Farm, fish, and flood

The goal of the farm, fish, and flood story map is to encourage a growing spirit of collaboration and work toward a common vision for the Snohomish delta. The story map is intended to showcase multiple benefits of focusing on farms, fish, and flood protection in an integrated way across the landscape.

Investing in Puget Sound's natural systems

This story map illustrates the benefits to investing in Puget Sound estuaries, such as local jobs, community protection, and local economies. It also highlights the integral role estuaries play in our nearshore ecosystem.

Working together to restore Puget Sound ecosystems 

This photo slider map highlights nearshore restoration and protection projects funded by the ESRP throughout Puget Sound. Together with restoration partners, these projects are key to restoring Puget Sound's estuaries, bays, and shorelines, creating the foundation for a resilient Puget Sound.