OLYMPIA–Gov. Jay Inslee today announced the appointment of Kaleen Cottingham, a life-long Washington resident, to serve on the Salmon Recovery Funding Board.
Cottingham, of Olympia, recently retired as the director of the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office, which provides support to the Governor-appointed Salmon Recovery Funding Board and the Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office. She had served as director for 14 years.
“I’m happy to be able to appoint Kaleen to the Salmon Recovery Funding Board,” Inslee said. “She has a thorough knowledge of the challenges salmon face, she knows those working in salmon recovery and she is a big picture thinker. It takes people with vision to navigate these challenges and the complex world of salmon recovery.”
The Salmon Recovery Funding Board awards about $125 million biannually in grants to cities, counties, tribes, nonprofits, private landowners and regional salmon enhancement groups to do on-the-ground projects to restore salmon habitat. The Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office sets the statewide strategy for salmon recovery and monitors progress. Under Cottingham’s leadership, funding for salmon recovery increased significantly with the addition of funding targeted at Puget Sound recovery and preserving the healthy salmon runs along Washington’s coast.
Before leading the Recreation and Conservation Office, Cottingham served as deputy commissioner of public lands and supervisor of the Washington Department of Natural Resources. She has served under four governors, including as a natural resource policy advisor to former Gov. Booth Gardner, and she was appointed by former Gov. Gary Locke to the pollution control and shorelines hearing boards. A lawyer by trade, Cottingham has had her own law practice, served as legal counsel to Gov. Gardner, was a legislative attorney, a law clerk in the Attorney General’s Office and a land-use specialist for Burlington Northern.
“Kaleen is a very smart person, who is passionate about saving our iconic salmon,” said Jeff Breckel, chair of the Salmon Recovery Funding Board. “Having worked with the board for 14 years, she’ll be able to jump right in and help us tackle the significant issues that lay ahead, such as how to adapt to climate change, how to continue funding and how to ensure we have enough salmon to save our starving orcas. I’m glad to have her join us on the board.”