John Dodge of The Olympian reports:
“Elected officials from the Nisqually River watershed saw by air Monday [Oct. 11] four major initiatives under way to restore salmon habitat, then offered opinions on the immediate future of two of the projects.
The Nisqually Tribe seeks $2.6 million in state capital budget funds to restore one mile of Ohop Creek and complete the second half of a 3.4-mile habitat restoration project on the Mashel River near Eatonville.
Its part of a $55 million state budget request targeting Puget Sound and salmon recovery that state legislators will consider when they convene in January, preoccupied by the state budget crisis.
‘Im going to ask for the money, but I dont expect to get anything,’ state Sen. Randi Becker, R-Eatonville, said before she boarded a LightHawk flight out of Olympia Regional Airport to tour the Nisqually River. ‘I dont know where were going to be with the budget deficit we face.’
Thurston County Commissioner Sandra Romero was aboard an earlier flight and came back impressed with how much habitat restoration has already occurred on the Nisqually…
While the state budget cant be ignored, Romero, a former state legislator, said the public expects continued funding for Puget Sound cleanup and recovery.
‘I think there will be money for these projects,’ she said…
LightHawk is partnering with the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission to offer educational aerial tours of the Nisqually and other watersheds in Western Washington where salmon recovery is in full swing. The program is called Flying for Fish…
She [fisheries commission education and outreach specialist Pam Goddard] said its easier for diverse groups to work together to solve environmental problems after theyve seen a birds eye view of the connected environmental challenges within a watershed…
State funding by the 2011 Legislature would allow the tribe to do an additional mile of the nearly five miles of creek that flow into the Nisqually River west of Eatonville, Dorner said.
David Troutt, the Nisqually Tribes natural resource director, said it would be shortsighted to suspend funding for the Nisqually projects.
‘We cant walk away from environmental protection,’ he said. ‘For a sustainable economy, we need a healthy environment.’
Ed. Note: This writer agrees with Mr. Troutt, though I wonder what he and the Tribe think about the City of Yelm’s request for water rights to pump double (118%) the amount from our aquifer than they are currently allocated. And, HOW is Yelm going to mitigate the impact of pumping that much water? HMMM!