OLYMPIA – The Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) today announced the award of more than $5 million in grants to protect working farms and restore wildlife habitat.
RCO awarded grants to nine projects in six counties. For details on each project, click below.
|Cowlitz County||Skagit County|
|Grays Harbor County||Snohomish County|
|Island County||Thurston County|
“These grants help us conserve working farms that are under threat of development as well as restore some valuable wildlife habitat near waterways,” said Kaleen Cottingham, RCO director. “These grants give local and state agencies the funding they need to help keep Washington a great place to live.”
The Whidbey Camano Land Trust received two grants to protect valuable farmland. One of the grants will conserve 26 acres on Penn Cove and another grant will conserve 10 acres in Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve on Whidbey Island. Penn cove is a noted shellfish growing area and the reserve is a unique unit of the National Park Service that preserves the agricultural and cultural traditions of Ebey’s Landing – both native and Euro-American, while offering recreation.
A third grant was awarded to Snohomish County to restore 250 acres of marsh in the Smith Island estuary, which is used by shorebirds and salmon listed under federal and state endangered species lists. Settlers altered the Snohomish River estuary when they harvested timber, drained thousands of acres of marsh, ditched tributaries and constructed more than 44 miles of levees. Of the 16 river deltas in Puget Sound, about 90 percent of estuarine emergent marsh, scrub shrub, and tidal forested wetlands were lost in Puget Sound.
The Smith Island project is part of a larger restoration effort that will return the tides to more than 1,200 acres of river delta, the third largest estuary restoration effort in the state. It also has received the largest amount of grant funding from RCO. With the addition of this grant, the project has received more than $15 million in federal and state grants from the Salmon Recovery Funding Board, the Recreation and Conservation Funding Board and RCO, bringing the total funding amount, including local match, to more than $16 million.
The grants are from the state-funded Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program, which provides grants for a broad range of land protection and outdoor recreation, including park acquisition and development, habitat conservation and farmland preservation. Funding comes from the state’s sale of general obligation bonds.
For more information on the agency or its grant programs, visit the Web site: www.rco.wa.gov.