Water violation fines fund Pacific County project

Fines paid for water quality violations in Washington in the last few years will fund $331,000 in projects designed to restore local ecosystems.

This includes $45,000 for Pacific County projects in the lower Green Creek and Willapa River.

The Washington Department of Ecology is awarding up to $45,000 for each of 12 projects that will improve water quality through environmental enhancements.

Nine projects are located in eastern Washington and three in western Washington. Grays Harbor saw no funding in this announcement.

The grants support work that will start in May.

Ecology awarded the grants to 12 local governments and nonprofit organizations who will use the grants to remove illegally dumped materials from local streams, install fencing to keep livestock off impaired streams, remove invasive plants and animals, and plant native shoreline vegetation to cool water temperatures and improve salmon and wildlife habitat.

The grants are provided through the Ecology department’s Terry Husseman Account to help local and tribal governments; conservation, port and utility districts; fisheries enhancement groups, and other organizations pay for a wide range of environmental projects.

“This is a great program because we are taking a portion of the money we receive from those who harmed state water quality and are returning it to our community partners to help them enhance and restore streams and rivers,” said Gordon White, who oversees Ecology’s statewide shoreline, floodplain and wetland management  activities.

The account is named after Terry Husseman, a long-time Ecology deputy director who died in 1998, to honor his contributions in environmental management. The account is funded by penalties the department issues for violations of the state Water Pollution Control Act.

This year, Ecology considered 32 grant requests. The department weighed each proposal’s local support and involvement, expected environmental benefits, cost effectiveness, and readiness to proceed and be completed on time and on budget.

More than two-thirds of Ecology’s budget goes to Washington communities through grant and loan programs, including the Terry Husseman Account, that support environmental programs and projects.

List of 2019-20 Terry Husseman Account grant awards

  •         Benton County—$22,585 awarded to Mid-Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group to increase the cool water influence of a disconnected oxbow on the lower Yakima River, north of Benton City.
  •         Chelan County—$10,100 awarded to Chelan County Department of Natural Resources to remove about 10,000 pounds of illegally dumped material from Eagle Creek.
  •         Chelan County—$6,800 awarded to Chelan County Department of Natural Resources to support a larger restoration effort to replant a section of stream bank along Mission Creek in Cashmere.
  •         Garfield County—$29,500 awarded to Pomeroy Conservation District to improve water quality in Deadman Creek.
  •         Grant County—$16,000 awarded to Grant County Conservation District to remove invasive common carp in Moses Lake.
  •         Okanogan County—$25,883 awarded to Cascade Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group to restore riparian forest and enhance floodplain conditions on 1.6 acres along the Methow River in Winthrop.
  •         Pacific County—$45,000 awarded to Coast Salmon Foundation to improve water quality, stream functions and habitat conditions in lower Green Creek and Willapa River.
  •         Skagit County—$37,364 awarded to Skagit Conservation District to enhance an existing riparian project to improve water quality in the lower Skagit River.
  •         Snohomish County—$42,692 awarded to Sound Salmon Solutions to improve water quality and salmon habitat along Woods Creek and Skykomish River.
  •         Spokane County—$15,000 awarded to Spokane County Parks Recreation and Golf to plant native riparian vegetation along Hangman Creek in the Hangman Valley Golf Course.
  •         Stevens County—$45,000 awarded to Stevens County Conservation District to improve water quality in North Deep Creek.
  •         Whitman County—$33,861 awarded to Whitman Conservation District to protect and improve water quality in Alkali Flat Creek.