Larsen Bill Supports Healthy Estuaries

Feb 12, 2015 Issues:

WASHINGTON—Critical estuarine habitat in the Pacific Northwest and across the country would receive better protection as a result of a bill introduced today by Rep. Rick Larsen, WA-02, and Rep. Frank LoBiondo, NJ-02. The bill would reauthorize the National Estuary Program through 2020, funding local efforts to restore and protect sensitive estuaries and their wildlife.

“In the Pacific Northwest, we know that healthy estuaries like the Puget Sound support healthy fish, birds and other wildlife, as well as important economic activity such as trade, fishing, tourism and outdoor recreation. In addition to improving salmon habitat, restoring estuaries can have important carbon sequestration effects, as a report last year about the Snohomish Estuary found. Currently planned and in-progress restoration projects will result in at least 2.55 million tons of CO2 sequestered from the atmosphere over the next 100 years. This is the equivalent of a year’s worth of emissions from half a million automobiles.

“I am working to protect Washington state’s environment, which is why I have long supported estuary restoration in the Pacific Northwest. For example, the Qwuloolt Estuary Restoration Project will be one of the largest tidal marsh restoration projects ever completed in Washington state when it is finished.

“I am pleased to work with Rep. LoBiondo on this bipartisan bill that will ensure local organizations across the country can continue their work to protect and restore estuaries to keep these habitats vital today and for future generations,” Larsen said.

Funding from the National Estuary Program, which is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency, helps build the comprehensive plan for Puget Sound recovery through the Puget Sound Partnership.

Larsen and LoBiondo introduced the estuary restoration bill during the last Congress. The bill passed the House of Representatives, but was not considered in the Senate.