I am working to protect Washington state’s environment. Our state is one of the most beautiful areas of the country, and I am committed to preserving our lands, waters and wildlife.
I have long advocated for restoring and improving habitats for salmon, including successfully pushing to fund these restoration projects. We need to consider what rising sea levels might mean for our estuaries, and I have led efforts to restore these critical habitats. Conserving open spaces like Illabot Creek, the San Juan National Monument and the Wild Sky Wilderness is another important way to protect our environment today and for future generations. And I pushed to reauthorize the highly successful Land and Water Conservation Fund, which has helped preserve lands and waters in Northwest Washington for 50 years.
A healthy environment is vital to our way of life and our economy. Outdoor recreation is responsible for an estimated 6.1 million jobs in the U.S. and plays a huge role in the rural economies of the Second District. Every year, fishermen, hunters, boaters, hikers, snowboarders, and tourists spend millions of dollars in Northwest Washington. If we do not protect our environment and its resources, we lose that business. For many rural areas, outdoor recreation is the driver of the economy. I will continue to push to encourage tourism and recreation in the Northwest to help our economy and protect our environmental heritage for the future.
- Voted to reauthorize and increase funding for the highly successful Land and Water Conservation Fund, which has helped preserve open spaces throughout the Pacific Northwest for 50 years, including Ebey’s Reserve, Chuckanut Bay and the Wild Sky Wilderness.
- Led successful efforts to introduce and pass legislation that protects Green Mountain Lookout, an important part of Skagit County’s outdoor heritage and recreational economy.
- Introduced legislation and pushed the administration to make sensitive federal lands in the San Juan Islands into a National Conservation Area to preserve public access and protect these pristine areas. President Obama designated the San Juan Islands National Monument in March 2013.
- Led passage of legislation in 2014 to designate Illabot Creek in Skagit County as Wild and Scenic, protecting Illabot Creek’s habitat for endangered salmon and trout and maintaining access for fisherman and hunters.
- Secured $6 million in the 2011 Department of the Interior funding bill for the National Park Service to purchase and protect Mitchell Hill, a valuable natural and historic landmark adjacent to San Juan Island National Historical Park. As a result, the 300 plus acres of land on Mitchell Hill that were in danger of development will be preserved for public access for future generations.
- Fought to protect Ebey's Landing, the nation’s first historical reserve created to protect farms and farming communities.
- Wrote and passed the Wild Sky Wilderness Act in 2008, which created the Wild Sky Wilderness Area and protects 106,000 acres of the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. Senator Patty Murray and I created the first new wilderness area in Washington state in 20 years. Washington families and businesses will benefit from this accessible wilderness for generations to come.
Fisheries and Salmon
- Leading a bipartisan effort to reauthorize the National Estuary Program to fund estuary improvement projects in the Puget Sound region and nationwide. Bill passed the House of Representatives unanimously in June 2015.
- Helped secure $4.6 million in the President’s FY2017 budget for a new research station in Mukilteo, so scientists can conduct cutting-edge research about climate change challenges such as ocean acidification.
- Championed the local work at Northwest Straits Initiative, which provides grants to locally led groups restoring seafloor by removing derelict fishing equipment.
- Led efforts to protect Fisher Slough with American Reinvestment and Recovery Act funding, which increased flood capacity while improving fish habitat.
- Lead annual efforts to secure full funding ($65 million) for the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund, which funds salmon habitat restoration and recovery projects.
- Secured funding to restore the Qwuloolt Estuary, which will be the largest tidal marsh restoration project completed in Washington state.