Puget Sound: Washington State Tribes Funded Millions for Restoration


Indigenous tribes in western Washington are set to receive $50 million under the infrastructure bill passed last year to restore and protect their state’s landmark, Puget Sound.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had previously pledged to provide the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, which supports some 20 tribes, $50 million over ten years for its restoration work in the Sound.

On Tuesday, however, the EPA announced that it would provide the commission with this next round of funding over the next five years only.

The funding is an acknowledgment that the tribes who have lived on and around the Sound for thousands of years are deeply dependent on its well-being as climate change threatens it and other waterways around the northwest of the Pacific and the country as a whole.

“All of the tribes eligible for this funding depend on the fish and shellfish of Puget Sound for their sustenance, ceremonies and commerce,” Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission Chairman Ed Johnstone said Tuesday. Seattle Times. “We are deeply concerned about the threat of climate change to our usual and accustomed areas and our treaty-protected rights. Our economic and cultural well-being is directly linked to the health of our homelands.

The funding will support a range of restoration and protection projects in the region, including on Sequim Bay, Lummi Bay, and the Nooksack and Skokomish rivers.

The Seattle metropolitan area is one of the most populous Native American metropolitan areas in the United States, home to a number of the federally recognized 29 tribes of Washington. The town itself is named after Chief Suquamish and Duwamish Seattle, who led his people when European settlers began arriving in the area in the mid-19th century.

The Seattle Times reported that the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission would receive $7.5 million as a down payment of the $50 million total, with Casey Sixkiller, Mr. Biden’s new regional EPA administrator for the North West District, responsible for overseeing payments.

Sixkiller, an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation who previously served as deputy mayor of the city of Seattle and chief operating officer of King County, said Tuesday the funding demonstrates the administration’s commitment to Indigenous stewardship. of the region.

“This funding made possible by the bipartisan Infrastructure Act ensures that the tribes of this area – the original stewards of Puget Sound – will continue to lead our joint efforts to restore and protect these waters for future generations,” he said. declared.


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