Guest column: Salmon restoration funding supports our rural economies (The Daily Astorian)
By Glenn Lamb Special to The Daily Astorian
Published on June 8, 2017 12:01AM
“The Pacific Northwest is salmon country.
On the Lower Columbia River and Pacific Coast, salmon and steelhead are key to our way of life, anchoring coastal economies, ecosystems and culture. Today, as for generations, commercial and sport fishermen feed their families and support communities through salmon harvest.
Salmon restoration efforts support the fishing industry, but also benefit other species, make our water cleaner and reduce the risk of costly floods. In short, when we protect salmon, we bolster our communities and our environment.
The Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund is managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The agency works with states and tribes to invest in salmon and steelhead recovery work in Alaska, Washington state, Oregon, California and Idaho, contributing $1.2 billion since 2000 and leveraging $1.4 billion in matching funds. The $215 million invested in Oregon alone leverages $330 million of state Lottery funds, bringing the total to protect and enhance salmon to $545 million.
This is truly an investment, and one that provides returns.
Recreational fishing alone generates about $500 million annually in Oregon, creating 16,500 jobs, and commercial salmon fishing creates over $16 million annually and more than 900 jobs.
In addition to fishing, investing in the “restoration economy” also makes good business sense. According to the University of Oregon, every $1 million spent on habitat restoration creates 15 to 24 local jobs, and more than 90 cents of every dollar stays in Oregon communities.
The salmon recovery grant program supports locally driven actions, not regulatory directives. With the help of watershed councils, soil and water conservation districts and land trusts, landowners and local communities plant trees, replace impassable culverts and restore streambanks. Cuts to this program would be a devastating setback for a citizen-led effort to restore healthy salmon runs in Oregon.
Without continued investment like the recovery fund, salmon recovery in the Northwest will stall, hurting the economies and communities supported by salmon fishing in the long term. We hope you’ll join us in asking Congress to continue to support the recovery of our salmon.
Glenn Lamb is the executive director of Columbia Land Trust based in Vancouver, Washington, with offices in Hood River and Astoria. A nonprofit organization, Columbia Land Trust conserves and cares for the vital lands, waters and wildlife of the Columbia River region through sound science and strong relationships.”
Read the full article here.