Up to $22 million in grants is now available for projects that will protect rivers and streams while providing water for rural homes in Washington. The Washington Department of Ecology is accepting applications as part of its streamflow restoration competitive grant program.
The grant funding is intended for water storage projects, fish habitat improvements, water rights acquisitions, or improvements in water management and infrastructure.
This is the second year of grant funding. The Legislature intends to authorize $300 million for streamflow restoration projects over 15 years. In 2019, Ecology awarded $20 million to 16 projects in 11 watersheds.
Those projects included $ 75,250 to the Grays Harbor Conservation District for an in-stream restoration pilot project for streamflow improvement.
“We funded some really strong projects in our first year, and we’re looking forward to seeing what applications are submitted this time,” said Vanessa Brinkhuis, Ecology’s streamflow restoration planner. “We’re really looking for projects that will measurably improve streamflows.”
Funding is open to projects across the state, but priority will be given to projects based in watersheds and areas specified in the 2018 Streamflow Restoration law.
That law includes the Lower Chehalis watershed.
Eligible applicants are limited to tribal governments, public entities, and nonprofit organizations within Washington. Applications are due by 5 p.m. March 31.
Additional background from Department of Ecology
In January 2018, the Legislature passed the Streamflow Restoration law that helps restore streamflows to levels necessary to support robust, healthy, and sustainable salmon populations while providing water for homes in rural Washington.
The law was in response to the Hirst decision, a 2016 Washington State Supreme Court decision that limited a landowner’s ability to get a building permit for a new home when the proposed source of water was a permit-exempt well. The law clarifies how counties issue building permits for homes that use a permit-exempt well for a water source.