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State invests $45 million to restore Chinook salmon populations

The grants focus on recovering salmon populations to feed the Southern Resident orcas.

Editor's note: The above video is a Chinook salmon recovery story from June 13, 2019. 

Washington counties surrounding Puget Sound were awarded millions of dollars in grants to help restore Chinook salmon populations.  

The endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales only eat Chinook salmon. 

The grants, awarded by the Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board and the Puget Sound Partnership, focus on improving salmon habitat and conserving shorelines and riverbanks.

“The Puget Sound Partnership is committed to recovering salmon populations in this region and we are thrilled to see this funding come through,” said Laura Blackmore, Puget Sound Partnership’s executive director. “Salmon are integral to the identity and traditions of the Pacific Northwest and are a vital part of the Puget Sound food web. This funding will support projects that help recover salmon populations and feed our struggling southern resident orcas.”

A breakdown of project details can be found here. 

"When we invest in salmon recovery, it’s not just salmon that we’re saving. This funding also preserves our PNW legacy, our way of life, our jobs, our neighborhoods and our communities. Whether you live near, love to play in, or simply care about Puget Sound, this is a win for WA," Gov. Jay Inslee tweeted. 

RELATED: Saving the Orcas: Why Southern Residents struggle and how you can help

The grants awarded on Monday include projects that will remove a diversion dam on the Pilchuck River that will open 37 miles of habitat, reconnect just under a mile of the Dungeness River with 112 acres of its historic floodplain, and remove a dam on the Nooksack River that will open 16 miles of habitat. 

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