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Washington Project Showcased to New NOAA Leader: Restoration Benefits Fish, Wildlife, and Local Communities

Feb. 8, 2018 — Rear Adm. Tim Gallaudet, acting under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere, toured the Qwuloolt Estuary restoration project in Marysville, Washington, on Jan. 26, 2018, to see an example of the success of NOAA’s Damage Assessment Remediation and Restoration Program (DARRP).

The 350-acre project reconnects a former marsh to provide critical habitat for salmon and wildlife, while also allowing local communities access to the area via a trail system. Funding for this project stems from a natural resources damage claim at the nearby Tulalip Landfill Superfund Site. Since 1994, NOAA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Washington Department of Ecology, and the Tulalip Tribe, have recovered $2.4 million in natural resource damages at this site, and these funds created the financial foundation to complete the Qwuloolt restoration project. NOAA also provided over $2 million in funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Grants Recovery Act, Open Rivers Initiative, Community Based Restoration Program, and $800,000 of Pacific Coast Salmon Recovery Funds. This is a good example of how NOAA focused the energy and funds from a number of internal programs to complete a critical habitat restoration project. The estuary habitat restoration project, which cost  $20 million in total, created over 350 acres of estuarine marsh and over 15 miles of access to stream habitat, crucial habitat for growing salmon.

Members of the DARRP team briefed Gallaudet at the estuary site. Rear Adm. Gallaudet was confirmed as the assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere in October 2017, and is currently serving as the acting under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere.

For more information, visit the Damage Assessment Remediation aand Restoration Program website

A group of people talking near water.
Rear Adm. Tim Gallaudet, assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and acting under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere; Kurt Nelson, Fish and Water Resources scientist, The Tulalip Tribes; Rebecca Hoff, NOAA environmental scientist and regional resource coordinator; Jennifer Steger, NOAA Restoration Center, regional supervisor. Image credit: NOAA.
A group of people in a boat in a flooded marsh.
The DARRP group touring the flooded marsh. Image credit: NOAA