Water quality projects in the Snohomish and Skagit counties are among more than a dozen statewide environmental enhancement projects to receive Department of Ecology restoration grants.
Ecology is awarding nearly $450,000 to fund 14 projects — six in Eastern Washington, five in Western Washington and three others of statewide relevance — that will significantly improve the natural environment in multiple watersheds.
Skagit Conservation District will receive $18,500 for the Wilson Riparian Planting and Neighbor Outreach project to improve water quality in Skagit County’s Bulson Creek. Ecology describes the creek as a priority sub-basin that drains south to Skagit Bay. The conservation district will install 2.18 acres of riparian plantings along a wetland buffer to the creek.
Snohomish County Public Works Department was awarded $25,000 for its Pilchuck Native Trees Restoration project. The county will work to improve water quality in the Pilchuck River by planting about 5 acres of native trees and shrubs along its banks. The project builds upon previous efforts to control knotweed and restore salmon habitat.
Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission won $50,000 grants for each of its three projects, of importance statewide. One project is at Hope Island State Park, a 200-acre marine park/island between La Conner and Whidbey Island on Skagit Bay. State Parks will hire a Washington Conservation Corps crew to remove and reduce populations of invasive woody and non-woody plant species on the island in Puget Sound.
Another Parks project involves invasive species removal and stream restoration to enhance salmon habitat and restore function to two small urban watersheds at Dash Point/Saltwater State Park.
The third project involves several central and eastern state parks, where Parks will hire a WCC crew to manage or eradicate noxious weeds, address erosion impacts from informal roads and other land disturbances, construct livestock exclusion fencing and plant native species in riparian zones.
Ecology evaluated 27 different project submittals worth about $945,000 in choosing the 14 projects. The department weighed each proposal’s expected environmental benefits, local support and involvement, cost effectiveness, and readiness of the project to proceed and be completed on time and on budget.
The grants are funded through Ecology’s Terry Husseman Account, which is funded with payments from penalties the department issues for violations of the state Water Pollution Control Act. The account is named after long-time Ecology deputy director Terry Husseman who died in 1998 and honors contributions in the field of environmental management.