The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is providing the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission with a $350,000 Indian General Assistance Program Grant to assist western Washington tribes with habitat protection projects.

“The work of the western Washington tribes is critical to our efforts to protect vital water resources and to help clean-up Puget Sound,” said EPA Regional Administrator Chris Hladick. “The partnerships with the Commission and its member tribes are crucial to implementing our shared visions of an economically, culturally, and environmentally healthy region.”

This award continues the EPA-NWIFC partnership that began in the early 1990’s – and has since evolved into the current Indian General Assistance Program – that was critical to the development, organization, and implementation of the Washington Coordinated Tribal Water Quality Program. The CTWQP is an inter-governmental strategy designed by federally recognized tribal governments in Washington – in partnership with EPA – to build tribal capacity to monitor and evaluate environmental conditions, and to advance water quality protection and clean-up objectives important to tribal resources.

Lorraine Loomis, Chair of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission noted that these funds are critical to the tribes because of their consistency and their help in leveraging state and local efforts to improve and protect water quality for everyone. Some examples of the work NWIFC funded with the most recent GAP award are:

  • Support for tribal engagement in setting water quality standards in Washington;
  • Tribal participation in joint water quality monitoring and protection projects such as efforts to determine the effectiveness of nutrient management efforts in addressing ocean acidification in Puget Sound; and
  • The Suquamish Tribe ‘s work with Washington State University to determine effects of polluted stormwater runoff on salmon health. The tribe’s Grovers Creek Hatchery served as a key scientific facility for the study.
  • Other projects are linked below

NWIFC provides technical and policy assistance to member tribes in their roles as natural resources co-managers with the State of Washington. NWIFC coordinates with its member tribal governments, and with local, state, and federal governments on activities that serve to preserve, protect, and enhance fisheries important to tribal communities throughout western Washington. The NWIFC also creates and coordinates forums for tribes to develop coordinated responses to shared natural resources challenges.