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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, December 3, 2003
Mark Swartout, Natural Resources Program Manager, 360-709-3079

Foundation Grants Support Local Salmon Restoration Efforts

Olympia- Local salmon recovery efforts in Thurston County received a $158,000 vote of support in grant funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The Foundation, in partnership with Thurston County, awarded four grants through the new Thurston County Community Salmon Fund (Fund), established to support the restoration of important salmon habitat and community stewardship of Thurston County streams.

"This program is a great opportunity for Thurston County communities," said Cathy Wolfe, Chair of the Thurston County Commission.  "Our county's salmon resources are vital and our communities are excited to get involved in recovery.  Programs like this help spread the word that Thurston County and its residents care about salmon."

The Fund awards grants for a variety of projects, from culvert replacements to streamside planting.  Up to $50,000 is awarded to restoration projects that involve multiple community partners including schools, stewardship groups, local governments and private landowner associations. 

"We are extremely pleased with our partnership in Thurston County," said Krystyna Wolniakowski, Director of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's Pacific Northwest office.  "Our program strives to fund projects that bring substantial habitat benefit with local community involvement and stewardship- these projects will accomplish just that." 

The four funded projects include:

  • Budd Inlet Project Development: South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group will design and develop plans for the restoration of important estuarine habitat.   
  • Restoration of Lackamas Creek: Thurston County Roads and Transportation Services will replace two parallel culverts and plant native species on Lackamas Creek with the help of volunteers from the Nisqually Stream Stewards, opening 2.5 miles of stream to salmonid access.
  • Lower Eld Inlet Habitat Restoration: The Capitol Land Trust, in partnership with YMCA Earth Service Corps, Squaxin Island Tribe, Cascade Land Conservancy, Griffin Neighborhood Association, Sound Native Plants, and others will restore salmonid access to key salt marsh and wetlands, crucial for juvenile rearing. 
  • Yelm-Tenino Trail Culvert Replacement: Thurston County Parks and Recreation Department will work with the Heernet Foundation and Backcountry Horseman to replace 3 culverts on Scatter Creek with a bridge, restoring access to upstream habitat for coho salmon.

A second grant round of the Thurston County Community Salmon Fund is planned for spring 2004. For more information about the program, contact Mark Swartout of Thurston County at (360) 709-3079, e-mail swartom@co.thurston.wa.us; or Helena Wiley of Evergreen Funding Consultants at (206) 691-0700, e-mail hwiley@evergreenfc.com.


County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3