Merkley, Wyden Announce $1.8 Million Coming to Oregon for Habitat Restoration and Conservation

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced today that the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership (LCEP) will be receiving $1,818,000 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for habitat restoration and conservation through the National Estuary Program.

“Climate chaos and human actions are threatening to lead to the permanent loss of plants and animals that have defined Oregon, including salmon and steelhead,” said Senator Merkley, who, as Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and the Environment, wrote the legislation funding the EPA. “These EPA funds will help the Columbia River Estuary become more resilient to climate chaos, and at the same time provide opportunities for Oregonians of all ages to access, enjoy, and learn about what makes the Columbia River special.”  

“A healthy, resilient Columbia River Estuary protects our state’s natural treasures, such as our iconic salmon and steelhead populations as well as other essential drivers of our state’s economy and quality of life,” Wyden said. “These restoration resources now flowing into our state add up to a greener and healthier future for the Columbia River Estuary and the surrounding communities.”

The EPA’s National Estuary Program (NEP) funds projects to restore water quality and ecological integrity across 28 estuaries of national significance and received funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. NEPs have also been at the forefront of addressing climate impacts and environmental justice disparities in their watersheds and is part of President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which aims to deliver at least 40% of the overall benefits from certain federal investments to underserved communities.

The award to LCEP is for habitat restoration projects of varying size and complexity, water trail non-motorized boat access and infrastructure projects that are focused on education and stewardship, stormwater and green infrastructure projects intended to improve water quality and reduce contaminates to the Lower Columbia River study area, and assessment and monitoring projects intended to provide data on the status and trends of ecosystem conditions in the estuary.