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The White House says no response is planned to reported Russian bounties on U.S. troops; House Democrats unveil an ambitious plan to curb climate change.

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Coastal Restoration: A Lifeline for WA Communities

Commercial and recreational fishing supports about 60,000 jobs on the Washington coast. (Bill Perry/Adobe Stock)
Commercial and recreational fishing supports about 60,000 jobs on the Washington coast. (Bill Perry/Adobe Stock)
July 1, 2020

SEATTLE -- An infrastructure bill in Congress would give a big boost to restoration projects along the Washington coast.

Dr. Erin Meyer, director of conservation programs and partnerships at the Seattle Aquarium, said investments in the coast would benefit the habitats of endangered fish species such as salmon, which also are a critical food source for the Southern Resident orcas of Puget Sound.

"There are about 10 projects in Washington that are currently unfunded, shovel-ready projects that if restored, would restore those exact habitats to really help support and restore our salmon populations in here in the Pacific Northwest," she said.

The Moving Forward Act would create a $3 billion program to invest in coastal restoration projects. The House is expected to vote on the bill today.

Commercial and recreational fishing on the Washington coast supports a robust economy -- about 60,000 jobs, according to Meyer. But Jean Flemma, who heads the Ocean Defense Initiative, said the coast is struggling in the coronavirus outbreak, with travel and tourism restricted.

"Coastal restoration jobs can help provide jobs in communities where they have been hard-hit by the current economic downturn and the COVID-19 pandemic," she said.

A NationA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration analysis found that 15 jobs are created for every $1 million spent on coastal restoration projects.

Meyer said restoration projects have another benefit; they make coastal areas more resilient to the effects of climate change, such as storm surges and sea-level rise.

"Things like estuarine habitats, wetlands, sea-grass beds, kelp forests," she said. "They provide really important buffering against those storms that we just can't replace with kind of standard type infrastructure."

The text of HR 2 is online at rules.house.gov, and the NOAA study is at repository.library.noaa.gov.

Disclosure: Ocean Defense Initiative contributes to our fund for reporting on Oceans. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - WA