The Washington state Department of Ecology will invest up to $20 million to support local river and streamflow protection and improvement projects across Washington. The new grant program carefully selected 15 projects out of 46 applicants in 11 watersheds for funding. Those with existing water rights to offset new uses, those planning to develop infrastructure to release and store water, and those looking to alter how water is managed to align availability with demand were given priority according to a press release.
A few of the approved projects include the Clallam County Community Development where up to $4 million will be put towards benefitting aquifer recharge and streamflows in the Dungeness watershed. Whatcom County will receive upwards of $700,000 to relocate water to restore a fish habitat. Spokane and Stevens counties will use approximately $1 million each to offset water use associated with rural development and growth, and the Nisqually Land Trust will protect flood plains that provide valuable recharge to groundwater connected to surface streams via hydraulics with a $1.3 million grant.
This grant was part of the Streamflow Restoration law that seeks to protect streams and rivers while providing water for rural communities. Mary Verner, the manager of Ecology’s Water Resources program, comments, “These grants will help enhance and restore watersheds for threatened and endangered fish and balance the need for secure water supplies.” She continues, “We’re excited to invest in local solutions to water supply challenges.” Discover the full list of applicants as well as the 15 funded projects online at https://bit.ly/2tBzamY.