Watershed restoration grants to protect Puget Sound

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SEATTLE, WA, July 6, 2010 -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is announcing nearly $30 million dollars in federal grants today to help protect and restore Puget Sound. The funds are the latest infusion of federal dollars in an ongoing effort to address decades of industrial contamination, urban pollution and habitat alteration in Puget Sound.

The grants are geared towards tribal projects; watershed projects and outreach and education initiatives. EPA is announcing the grants in Suquamish, Washington at the Suquamish Tribe Long House. Click here to find out if there is a project in your community.

Congressman Norm Dicks joins EPA in announcing and rolling out the 36 grants. Suquamish Tribe Chairman Leonard Forsman and Martha Kongsgaard, Vice Chair of the Puget Sound Partnership Leadership council, are also speaking.

"Puget Sound is our region's icon," said Dennis McLerran, Regional Administrator for the EPA. "Every grant dollar we're announcing today directly supports the goal of a healthy Puget Sound by 2020. We have a strong team working for progress we can all be proud of."

EPA received over 100 grant applications for this round of grants. The grants cover a wide range of projects including:

• Removing invasive species from watersheds
• Improving salmon migration and increasing fish population
• Protecting watersheds from the impacts of urban growth
• Reopening shellfish beds
• Purchasing and preserving critical habitat and watershed lands
• Funding research to track progress
• Protecting shorelines
• Educating communities, homeowners and students about reducing impacts to Puget Sound

The grant recipients include Washington State, Tribes and local governments, many of which will work directly with communities and homeowners on projects to restore and protect Puget Sound.

The Suquamish Tribe is receiving a grant worth nearly $600,000 for a project that will restore the Chico Creek estuary, which will result in improved fish passage and water quality in shellfish growing areas.

The State and grantees are together matching dollar for dollar the $30 million announced today.

Every year, millions of pounds of toxic pollution enter Puget Sound. Since 2006, EPA has dedicated $58.4 million dollars to protecting and restoring Puget Sound.

Link to interactive map of grants: http://www.epa.gov/region10/map/funding/pugetsound_funding_map.html

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