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Puget Sound and Adjacent Waters Restoration Program Overview

The program is authorized under Section 544 of the Water Resource Development Act of 2000 and received first appropriations in federal fiscal year 2003. The program focuses on implementing critical projects for the preservation, protection and restoration of critical ecosystem processes, habitats, and functions within the Puget Sound basin.

Priority projects are selected by consulting with regional stakeholders including non-profit organizations, tribes, the state and federal agencies. 

Projects constructed include Seahurst Beach Restoration (Phase 1) in Burien and Lake Washington Salmon Restoration at Seward Park in Seattle. The program also assisted the Skokomish Tribe, City of Tacoma, Mason County and Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife in the restoration of Skokomish Estuary (Phase 1) and Northwest Straits Commission’s pilot study of marine reefs.

Construction underway in 2013-14 includes the Seahurst Beach Restoration (Phase 2) and Qwuloolt Estuary Restoration near Marysville with the Tulalip Tribes.  Design is complete and construction is scheduled to begin in 2014 on the Dungeness River Ecosystem Restoration with Clallam County.

Puget Sound and Adjacent Waters Restoration is a key component of the Puget Sound Partnership Action Agenda, the overarching document prioritizing Washington’s actions for Puget Sound recovery.  The program is part of the ongoing effort to restore and improved anadromous fish habitat throughout Puget Sound. The program is supported by the Puget Sound Federal Caucus, local communities, state agencies and tribes, because it is critical for the delivery process of scientifically sound ecosystem restoration.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.) Where can projects be implemented?

Answer: Projects can be implemented within the watersheds, shorelines, or marine waters of the Puget Sound, Hood Canal, Strait of Juan De Fuca, or Rosario Straits.

2.) How much will the Corps of Engineers fund to implement projects?

Answer: The program provides for the Corps of Engineers to fund up to 65 percent of the total cost to implement projects. The funds are combined with the local sponsor's contributions by the Corps of Engineers to accomplish site restoration after a project cooperative agreement is signed.

3.) Who can sponsor a project within the Puget Sound and Adjacent Waters program?

Answer: A local sponsor can be Native American tribal governments, port authorities, cities, counties, and State of Washington agencies. Essentially a general-purpose government may be a non-federal sponsor for this program. Non-profit organizations who advocate for projects may work through their local government to implement projects with us.

4.) What responsibilities does a sponsor have during project implementation within the program?

Answer: Sponsors actively participate during project planning, design, construction, operations and maintenance. Their responsibilities change as the project progresses through the stages of implementation. Sponsors contribute 35 percent of the total project costs for planning, design and construction. They earn credit for real-estate value they own, in-kind services they perform and money they contribute. After construction is completed, sponsors are responsible for 100 percent of operations, maintenance, repair, rehabilitation, and replacement of the restored and preserved site.

5.) How long will the program exist?

Answer: The authorizing language states the program will remain while the authorized funds -- $40,000,000 -- are unexpended. Essentially, the program is not limited by time.

6.) Why is the program necessary in Puget Sound?

Answer: The cumulative effects of human development have damaged the Puget Sound ecosystem. People now realize that human health is linked to ecosystem health. The Puget Sound and Adjacent Waters Restoration Program -- by implementing a series of individual projects in partnership with local sponsors -- will cumulatively contribute to restoration of Puget Sound health.

7.) Will the projects have any economic impact?

Answer: Projects are selected because of ecological benefits. Economic benefits are not explicitly evaluated. The Corps' civil works authorities--including Puget Sound and Adjacent Waters Restoration Program--do allow for limited recreational features that are compatible with the project ecological goals. Local sponsors often report that restoration projects contribute to the economic vitality of their communities, particularly with nearby opportunities for walking and nature watching.

8.) Who do I contact about sponsoring a project or for additional information?

Answer: For assistance or general questions and comments contact Seattle District's Civil Works Branch at 1-855-828-7015, or by email at NWSCivilWorks@usace.army.mil.