Washington Project Showcased to New NOAA Leader: Restoration Benefits Fish, Wildlife, and Local Communities
February 8, 2018
Rear Admiral Tim Gallaudet, USN Ret., acting under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere, toured the Qwuloolt Estuary restoration project in Marysville, Washington, on January 26, 2018, to see an example of NOAA’s Damage Assessment Remediation and Restoration Program (DARRP) success.
The 350-acre project reconnects a former marsh to provide critical habitat for salmon and wildlife, while also allowing local communities access to the area via a trail system. Funding for this project stems from a natural resources damage claim at the nearby Tulalip Landfill Superfund Site. Since 1994, NOAA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Washington Department of Ecology, and the Tulalip Tribe, have recovered $2.4 million in natural resource damages at this site, and these funds created the financial foundation to complete the Qwuloolt Estuary restoration project.
NOAA also provided over $2 million in funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Grants Recovery Act, Open Rivers Initiative, NOAA Restoration Center's Community-based Restoration Program, and $800,000 of Pacific Coast Salmon Recovery Funds. This example shows how NOAA focused the energy and funds from a number of internal programs to complete a restoration project.
The estuary restoration project, which cost $20 million in total, created over 350 acres of estuarine marsh and over 15 miles of access to stream habitat, crucial for growing salmon. The Qwuloolt Estuary lies within the Snohomish River floodplain, adjacent to Ebey Slough and three miles upstream from its outlet into Puget Sound.
RDML Gallaudet was confirmed as the assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere in October 2017, and is currently serving as the acting under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere. He was briefed at the estuary site by members of the DARRP team.