THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PRESIDENT CLINTON AND VICE PRESIDENT GORE: A NEW PARTNERSHIP TO RESTORE PACIFIC COASTAL SALMON
Today, President Clinton and Vice President Gore announce a new $100 million fund to help restore coastal salmon in the Pacific Northwest in a conference call with Governors John Kitzhaber of Oregon, Gary Locke of Washington and Tony Knowles of Alaska, California Secretary of Resources Mary Nichols, and Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission Chairman Billy Frank. The Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund, part of the President's fiscal year 2000 budget, will help state, local and tribal governments restore thriving runs of wild chinook, steelhead, sockeye and coho salmon.
Preserving a Rich Regional Heritage. Salmon long have been integral to the culture and economy of the Pacific Northwest. But the historic runs that once filled the region's coastal rivers have declined dramatically over the past century. Several runs already have been declared threatened or endangered, and the Department of Commerce's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) will decide later this year whether to extend similar protections to several others. Federal agencies are working closely with state, local and tribal governments to rebuild these populations.
A New Partnership for Salmon Recovery. To strengthen salmon restoration efforts, the President is proposing $100 million in new assistance to state, local and tribal governments in fiscal year 2000. The funds, to be matched dollar-for-dollar by state or local contributions, can be used to:
purchase conservation easements to protect and restore vital habitat and improve water quality in salmon-bearing rivers and streams; plant trees and other vegetation, rebuild culverts, stabilize stream banks and undertake other projects to restore salmon habitat and spawning grounds; map and assess watersheds to determine the quality and quantity of existing habitat and to help target restoration activities; monitor the success of restoration activities to refine future activities. A portion of the fund, not to exceed 10 percent, will be reserved
to help Tribal experts design projects, expand their field work and undertake other "capacity-building" activities. An equitable distribution of the remaining funds will be determined in consultation with the states. The fund will be administered by the Secretary of Commerce in consultation with the Pacific Salmon Task Force chaired by the Council on Environmental Quality.
Stronger Coordination and Science. To further assist state and local efforts, the Administration is committed to strengthening coordination among federal agencies, and improving access to federal scientific expertise and research to assist communities in their salmon restoration efforts.
Other Salmon Recovery Efforts. Other resources proposed in the President's fiscal year 2000 budget that will help strengthen restoration efforts include a $25 million increase for NMFS to develop salmon recovery plans, $1.7 million for the Army Corps of Engineers to begin construction of the Willamette River temperature control project in Oregon, and $12 million toward the removal of two dams on the Olympic Peninsula's Elwha River.