It has now been conclusively proven - money does grow on trees.
A million dollars will be spent for an election on March 13 of this year. Seattle residents will be able to vote for or against a rebuilt elevated viaduct and they will be able to vote for or against a smaller tunnel design that has not been studied at length or priced. Yes, you can vote for or against both plans. Whether the popular vote is binding has yet to be determined. And here we have been thinking, all along, that it was just our families that were dysfunctional.
Let's move swiftly to some exciting local and regional news.
The U.S. Department of Interior recently awarded the most grants to Washington state for coastal conservation. Six federal grants, worth $3.7 million, were designated for projects that will acquire, restore, or enhance coastal wetlands for long-term conservation benefits to wildlife and habitat. The grants were awarded for: Tarboo Valley Wetlands acquisition (124 acres), Nooksack River's Smugglers Slough Estuary (246 acres), Hood Canal Basin's Nalleys Ranch Estuary restoration (108 acres), Lummi Island Coastal Conservation (355 acres), Skagit River's Wiley-Slough Estuary restoration (175 acres) and Hood Canal's Quilcene Estuarine Wetlands Restoration (50 acres).
And, the following is from a Jan. 19 news release from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration):
The federal agency charged with protecting Northwest salmon listed under the Endangered Species Act today approved a far-reaching plan to recover threatened Chinook in Puget Sound. The salmon-recovery plan, a requirement of the ESA, is the largest and most comprehensive ever approved by the federal government, according to NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service.
Today's formal approval marking adoption of the plan by NOAA's Fisheries Service is the culmination of more than five years' effort by local communities across the 14 river basins that drain into Puget Sound. The plan is aimed at restoring salmon to waters from the crests of the Cascade and Olympic mountains to Puget Sound.
Puget Sound Chinook, along with Hood Canal summer chum and Lake Ozette sockeye, were listed as threatened under the ESA 1999. The listing of Puget Sound Chinook was the first of its kind in a heavily urbanized area.
Federal approval sets the region's course for bringing salmon back to healthy numbers and provides a cornerstone for Puget Sound recovery efforts. In addition to lasting measurable results for salmon, the plan's actions are also expected to provide important ecological benefits to the overall health of Puget Sound.
Both the federal grant awards and the salmon recovery plan tell us a lot about dedicated people working together to form coalitions, do the time-consuming research work, and present plans worthy of being funded. (For more information on the salmon recovery plan, look at www.nwr.noaa.gov and www.sharedsalmonstrategy.org). It is interesting to ponder over what an extra million dollars could do to enhance any one of these plans or strategies.