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Nearshore & Estuary Restoration and Protection

ESRP Overview

Dungenss River Estuary The Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program (ESRP) provides funding and technical assistance to restore Puget Sound shorelines. Created in 2006, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and its partners designed ESRP to provide a coordinated strategic and cost effective approach to nearshore ecosystem restoration.

Informed by the Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration Project, ESRP develops projects that restore physical processes (for example, the movement of tides and sediment) that create and maintain coastal habitats in Puget Sound, as recommended by current scientific literature. Restoration of coastal processes is vital to ensure that both existing habitats and the benefits of complementary restoration efforts (like salmon recovery) are sustained over time in the face of increasing development pressures and a changing climate.

Funding for ESRP comes primarily from state capital project funds as well as from federal partners including NOAA's Restoration Center and EPA's National Estuary Program. ESRP is managed in partnership with the Recreation and Conservation Office, which provides contract management and fiscal oversight.

Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration

Port Susan The Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration Project is a large-scale initiative that affords a unique opportunity to tackle some of the foremost habitat restoration needs in Washington State's Puget Sound basin. It is a partnership between WDFW and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), along with other state, local, and federal government organizations, tribes, industries, and environmental organizations.

The focus of PSNERP is to define problems and develop solutions for the nearshore of Puget Sound. Through this investigation, PSNERP has produced a number of valuable technical products including "Technical White Papers", a geo-spatial database, a Strategic Needs Assessment, restoration and protection strategies and conceptual designs for a number of potential large-scale restoration actions in Puget Sound. PSNERP has also been formally recognized as the nearshore component of the Puget Sound Partnership's Action Agenda.

For more information visit the main PSNERP website here >> Puget Sound Near Shore

Lower Columbia River Estuary Restoration

Columbia River A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed between Washington and the federal hydropower Action Agencies on September 16, 2009 provides an additional $40.5 million for habitat restoration actions throughout the Columbia River estuary. The MOA reinforces the federal commitment, through 2018, to ensure NOAA Fisheries Biological Opinion will meet estuary habitat restoration goals. Washington's restoration partners in the Washington Columbia River Estuary Habitat MOA include: To augment ongoing efforts, the Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership focuses on bringing together the whole picture; building capacity of partners, leveraging resources, providing information, and removing barriers to better management through collaboration, convening and coordination.

Estuary habitat projects will include acquisitions and easements, existing wetland protection, levy removal, floodplain reconnection, tidal inundation, large wood recruitment, and re-vegetation with native species. MOA Projects will provide survival benefits for a wide array of fish species protected under the ESA, including: Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), coho salmon (O. kisutch), chum salmon (O. keta), sockeye salmon (O. nerka), steelhead (O. mykiss), eulachon (Thaleichthys pacificus), and green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris). This estuary effort is one part of a comprehensive basin-wide plan to recover ESA-listed anadromous fish stocks.

All Columbia River basin species and stocks of anadromous salmonids spawn in tributary and mainstem river reaches, either within or upriver of the Columbia River Estuary. Thus all anadromous salmonid stocks, including 13 ESA-listed stocks, use estuarine habitats during certain phases of their life histories. The Lower Columbia River estuary is also critical for the survival of migrating juveniles, especially wild stocks, to the extent it provides refugia from predators, feeding and rearing habitats, and areas for fish to transition physiologically from freshwater to saltwater environments. The need for salmon and steelhead protection from mortality factors (e.g., predation) related to increased habitat restoration is predicated upon the significant historic losses of floodplain and tidally influenced habitats in the Lower Columbia River estuary.

For more information on
salmon recovery and conservation, please contact
the WDFW Fish Program.

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