PUGET SOUND ACQUISITION AND RESTORATION (PSAR) FUND
The Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration (PSAR) fund supports projects that recover salmon and protect and recover salmon habitat in Puget Sound. The state legislature appropriates money for PSAR every 2 years in the Capital Budget. PSAR is co-managed by the Puget Sound Partnership and the Recreation and Conservation Office. Local entities identify and propose PSAR projects. The Salmon Recovery Funding Board prioritizes projects for funding.
For 2023, the first year in which Climate Commitment Act (CCA) funds were available, PSAR received $10.1million from the CCA out of the total Capital Budget appropriation of $59.2 million. This combined investment resulted in full funding of the PSAR program for the first time ever.
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT IN PSAR PROJECTS
Each community decides which projects matter most. Washington approaches salmon recovery in a unique way. People in communities around Puget Sound organized themselves to address Endangered Species Act listings of Chinook and other salmonids in Washington state. This local approach to a difficult problem is known as “the Washington Way.”
The 15 community-based groups that organized in Puget Sound are called Lead Entities. Lead Entities are supported by regional entities called regional recovery organizations. There are seven around the state, including two in the Puget Sound region. The Puget Sound Partnership is the regional recovery organization for all of Puget Sound except the Hood Canal area. Recovery organizations are accepted by NOAA as the owners of each region’s recovery and are responsible to carrying out salmon recovery plans.
The PSAR program continues to improve with feedback from Local Entities.
As managers of the PSAR program, RCO and the Partnership continuously look for opportunities to improve how PSAR works. Some of the improvements over the past 10 years include the following:
- Developed methods to more clearly communicate how requested PSAR funds are used throughout the region
- Improved the reporting and data management of PSAR projects to help project partners and constituents visualize results in their area and where money has been spent
- Updated PSAR Large Capital criteria assist reviewers in selecting only the best projects shown to benefit salmon in Puget Sound and advance regional restoration targets
- Synthesis of the most effective restoration actions further our knowledge of what’s working for salmon recovery and help guide our actions and priorities in the region
All this and more improvements are underway. We are constantly evaluating our activities to develop an understanding of effectiveness and impact that PSAR has on salmon recovery.
Evaluation helps verify project successes.
By monitoring PSAR project sites and evaluating the resulting data, scientists are observing many ecosystem successes, including the following:
- Eelgrass beds have expanded, water quality has improved, and shellfish areas are improving in the Skokomish River estuary, as a result of a PSAR-funded restoration project. VIEW FACT SHEET
- In the South Fork of the Skagit River, 461 estuary acres were restored and now support an additional 160,000 young Chinook each year; this represents about 12 percent of the salmon recovery goal for this area. VIEW FACT SHEET
- An estimated 65,000 young Chinook salmon are expected to be produced annually after restoration is complete at Fir Island Farm in Skagit County, which holds some of the largest runs of Chinook, pink, and chum in the state. VIEW FACT SHEET
PSAR PROJECT BENEFITS
PSAR benefits extend beyond the local ecosystem:
- Every $1 million invested in watershed restoration produces more than 16 new or sustained jobs roughly $2.5 million in total economic activity.
- 80 percent of the funds invested in restoration projects stays in the county where the projects are located, providing needed cash in more rural and distressed counties.
For more information contact:
PSAR Program Manager
360.968.9673 | Marlies.Wierenga@psp.wa.gov
Last updated: 12/18/23