Yakima Basin Lead Entity Citizens Committee

9/26/2014  By Darcy Batura - YBFWRB
When we talk about Salmon Recovery in the Yakima Basin, you may hear us refer to the “Washington Way.” When the Endangered Species Act went into effect in 1999, Washington State had a choice about how to address recovery. We could let the Feds take a top-down approach, or we could work with NOAA Fisheries to enable locally-based groups to write their own local recovery plans for ESA-listed species. Washington State chose the second option and has created an unprecedented, grassroots effort that sustains one of the most complex and successful fish and wildlife recovery efforts in the nation. 

The 25 Lead Entities around the state are a key part of the Washington Way. Lead Entities bring together Tribes, federal and state agencies, local governments, citizens, non-profits, business, and technical experts to recommend projects for Salmon Recovery Funding Board (SRFB) funding. The Yakima Basin Fish and Wildlife Recovery Board functions as the Lead Entity for the Yakima Basin, one of the largest lead entity areas in the state. Each year, the SRFB awards about 1.2 million to projects solicited, reviewed and recommended by our Lead Entity. This local process ensures that SRFB projects are part of a scientifically sound salmon recovery strategy and are supported by local communities.

Our Citizens Committee plays a pivotal role in our local grant review process. It is comprised of a diverse and committed group of volunteers including farmers, attorneys, retired engineers and agency officials, business owners, and writers. Due to this diversity, the Citizens Committee members often are the best judges of the community’s social, cultural, and economic values. Their review ensures that projects have the community support they need to succeed. There are sixteen members; four each from Kittitas, Yakima, and Benton Counties and the Yakama Nation. Participants represent local governments, conservation districts, tribes, environmental groups, business interests, landowners, citizens, volunteer groups, regional fish enhancement groups, and others. 

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