Salmon Recovery in Southwest Snohomish County

LWVSC’s Natural Resources Committee asks you to take action on salmon recovery in the southwest corner of Snohomish County.   Send your comments to Snohomish County Council Members within the next 60 days to support funding to rejoin the Water Resource Inventory Area  (WRIA) 8 Salmon Recovery Council.  County Executive Dave Somers submitted a budget that includes $64K in funding in the Surface Water Management portion of the budget for the County’s 2020 WRIA8 interlocal agreement cost-share.  You can communicate directly with County Council members to support the funding included in the Surface Water Management portion of the County Executive’s proposed 2020 budget.

More information is included in Key Messages Regarding WRIA 8 Interlocal Agreement Cost-Share by Jason Mulvihill-Kuntz of the Salmon Recovery Council.

Contacting Snohomish County Council members is important, and emphasis should be placed on Councilmembers Ryan, Wright, and Sullivan, whose districts include portions of WRIA 8. Phone calls are especially helpful, in addition to emails and in-person communications.

Comment suggestions could be:
“As a member of LWV-Snohomish County, I urge you to approve funding for the County’s WRIA 8 interlocal agreement cost-share ($64,053) currently included in the Surface Water Management portion of the County Executive’s proposed 2020 budget.  WRIA 8 is an important, long-standing regional partnership that coordinates and implements salmon recovery.  Snohomish County’s engagement in the partnership is critical to our ability to successfully recover Chinook salmon in the watershed.”

And add your personal note here such as:

  • I think it is essential that local governments in WRIA 8 remain committed, even during budget challenges, to implementing the WRIA 8 Chinook Salmon Conservation Plan.
  • Without a partnership that includes both of the counties in the watershed—especially in our rapidly-urbanizing landscape—implementation of salmon recovery in WRIA 8 will be hampered and effective implementation of Puget Sound recovery is put at risk.
  • The County’s engagement increases the strength of the effort at a time when success requires us to be as united and integrated as possible.
  • With salmon continuing to decline, and the Southern Resident Orcas that depend on them at grave risk, it is time to recommit to and increase support for salmon recovery.

Background
The WRIA 8 Salmon Recovery Council was founded on the idea that each local government alone cannot effectively manage aquatic resources—like salmon—that cross jurisdictional boundaries. Since 2000, the WRIA 8 Salmon Recovery Council has worked toward the shared goal of recovering sustainable, harvestable populations of Chinook salmon in the watershed. We have made great progress advancing our collective salmon recovery objectives through habitat protection and restoration, but much important work remains for local governments to continue working towards a common vision and commitment to improving habitat that will benefit the region’s salmon populations and improve the quality of life for residents.

The County has benefited significantly as a WRIA 8 partner. The County received more than $2.5 million in WRIA 8-directed grant funding since 2000, most recently a $800,000 grant for the County’s Meadowdale Beach and Estuary Restoration project construction. On two occasions, WRIA 8 directly assisted the County’s successful appeal in resolving state Technical Review Panel concerns with the Meadowdale project to secure funding—in 2015 and again in 2018. WRIA 8 also supported this project in meetings with members of the state Congressional delegation in Washington, D.C.

Other priority Snohomish County salmon recovery actions/projects that received WRIA 8 funding:

  • Clearwater School – North Creek restoration
  • Paradise Valley Protection – headwaters of Bear Creek
  • Cottage Lake Creek Forest Protection – headwaters of Bear and Cottage Lake Creeks
  • Little Bear Creek Invasive Knotweed and Riparian Conditions Assessment